New Fee For Libro Centre User Groups
The Town of Amherstburg is looking to raise a bit more money to fund maintenance at the Libro Centre.
The town is bringing in a surcharge on user groups at the facility. The new fee will fund a newly created capital reserve for the recreation centre which houses two NHL-sized ice pads, an indoor soccer field and a walking track.
An exact dollar figure for the new charge hasn't been set yet and the fee won't come into effect until 2018.
Amherstburg CAO John Miceli says the town is playing a bit of catch-up on maintenance of the $24-million facility.
"A lot of the equipment is designed for a 20 year useful life — that's assuming you maintain it. If you're not maintaining it, it's not even going to last the 20 years," says Miceli.
Marc Renaud is the president of the Amherstburg Minor Hockey Association.
He says the projected fee could add about $15,000 in cost for the organization.
"Roughly $22, $23 a child in additional registration cost that either we absorb somehow and cut cost or cut services — or we put it back on the users," says Renaud.
In addition to the new charge, the town is taking out the ice in June and July this year to save money.
Amherstburg Admirals co-owner Wes Ewer hopes to have the ice re-installed for July 20.
"We're asking for out of 62 days that they want to take the ice out, we're asking them to put it in 10 days earlier," says Ewer. "I don't think it's a big ask and I think we should be able to get that accomplished."
Admirals eliminate Wheatley with 4-2 win to win series 4-2 (photo courtesy of Garrett Fodor)
Miceli says eventually the plan is to have the ice removed May, June and July — because there isn't enough use during those months.
"We will sit down with the user groups, that's something we are going to do, but we're looking at savings of $30,000 a month — that's pretty significant for the Town of Amherstburg," says Miceli.
While Ewer understands the need for the surcharge, he hopes ice users like the Admirals, the minor hockey association and Skate Amherstburg aren't the only ones paying.
"Does that include the football field, does that include the baseball diamonds because as a three very large user groups that are going to put a lot of money into that account, I want to make sure that I'm going to have good ice every Sunday night for our home games, I want to make sure that we don't have any injuries happen or anything like that."
Miceli says everyone needs to pay their fair share with rate payers already subsidizing the facility to the tune of $1-million a year.
"My first and foremost concern is making sure we protect the asset for not only the user groups, but for all groups using the facility and that's not just the arena, the ice — that's going to be the fields, everything in that facility."
As part of the town's efforts to improve maintenance of the Libro Centre, council gave Miceli the green light to hire a new refrigeration mechanic — expected to cost the town about $83,000.
Miceli says the Libro Centre is seeing significant cost overruns becuase of failing equipment and other operating issues because of a lack of maintenance.