City of Saline and Parks and Recreation staff are pleased with recent projects to improve the Saline Rec Center. But the natatorium painting project put a dent in the Rec Center’s budget.
Parks and Rec Director Carla Scruggs reported to City Council that revenue was down in the first quarter.
“Our first quarter revenue was pretty weak, being very blunt,” Scruggs said. “We did expect this, with the natatorium being closed for six weeks.”
Scruggs said the Rec Center received less revenue because of the lack of daily fees, monthly fees and pool programs, like water aerobics. The Rec Center also a lifeguard training class. The Rec Center allowed members to suspend memberships during the pool painting project. Fortunately for the city, the project was completed early.
There was another wrinkle in the Recreation Department’s revenue stream. Scruggs said that many of the people who signed their children up for kids camp paid before the end of the fiscal year. So the revenues counted for last year’s budget but the costs will count for this year’s budget. She anticipates, however, that situation will take care of itself when camp fees are collected in the fourth quarter.
Overall, revenue is down by $12,000 so far, Scruggs said.
Scruggs said the Rec Center also replaced its Dectron ventilation unit.
But there was good news. She said the gym has been packed with kids playing in the gym after school each day. A new University of Michigan pom pom team program was a success. Personal training revenue is also up.
“I don’t have a lot of really good news to report this quarter, but assure you my staff is working hard to be more creative. I do be believe we are going to have a strong second quarter and a good year,” Scruggs said.
Mayor Brian Marl said the revenue numbers were disappointing but not surprising.
“The important thing is, (the natatorium project) was a well-executed project. Anyone frequenting the rec center will feel a noticeable difference,” Marl said.
Scruggs agreed, saying customers have provided good feedback.
Future projects, including replacing the pool flooring and marcite, are up next, Scruggs said.
In 2013, with the Rec Center facing a structural deficit, Mayor Marl struck a task force which studied operations. The task force recommended offering residential rates to all residents of the school district, raising membership rates by 10 percent, allowing monthly electronic deposits and including more free classes as part of membership.
According to the recent audit presentation by Plante Moran, the Rec Center has been in the back for the last two years after losing almost $300,000 in 2016.