Mosaic Place, YaraCentre ask for decrease in city funding

Lisa
Lisa Goudy
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Mosaic Place and YaraCentre general manager Scott Clark listens to one of Mayor Deb Higgins' questions about the facilities' proposed budget for 2014 at the Dec. 9, 2013 budget committee meeting.

Mayor concerned by 2014 natural gas, water and sewer projections

Mosaic Place and YaraCentre are expecting a year-end surplus of $65,000.

At Monday’s meeting of budget committee following the council meeting, Mosaic Place and YaraCentre general manager Scott Clark, Moose Jaw Downtown and Soccer/Fieldhouse Facilities (DFFH) board chairman Kurt Saladana and DFFH treasurer Terry Hardy presented the budget submission.

The DFFH board is asking for 17.7 per cent less in the 2014 operating budget than last year.

“Within the community we do a lot of programming, a lot of special events,” said Clark. “We’ve successfully kept user rates at some of the province’s lowest yet having the newest, cleanest and one of the best-equipped facilities in Canada.”

The DFFH board is requesting the city invest $548,363 in the 2014 operating budget compared to $666,489 in 2013. It is a decrease of $118,126. Clark said the net reduction of the City of Moose Jaw’s investment in the DFFH has decreased 58.8 per cent since 2011.

The projected year-end revenue for Mosaic Place and YaraCentre is approximately $3 million, with $1.78 million for Mosaic Place and $557,151 for YaraCentre. In 2013, the budget was $1.70 million for Mosaic Place and $581,489 for YaraCentre.

That is an increase in 2014 of $228,260 for Mosaic Place and $53,827 for YaraCentre.

In the 2014 budget, the total revenue for the facilities is $3.11 million, an increase of $163,961 from the 2013 budget of $2.95 million.

As for expenses, Mosaic Place’s projected 2013 year-end expenditures are approximately $2.2 million in 2013 compared to a budgeted $2.22 million. The budget in 2014 for expenses is $2.35 million, an increase of $137,620 from the 2013 budget.

For YaraCentre, the projected year-end expenses are $735,595 compared to a budgeted $734,437. The 2014 budget is at $760,778. That is an increase of $26,341 from the last year’s budget.

Combined, the projected 2013 year-end expenses for Mosaic Place and YaraCentre are $2.94 million compared to a budgeted $2.95 million. The 2014 budget is $3.11 million in 2014 or an increase of $163,961 from 2013.

Clark added the recovery rate for Mosaic Place will be 82 per cent in 2014 compared to a projected 2013 year-end recovery rate of 80.8 per cent. For YaraCentre, the recovery rate will be 83.5 per cent in 2014 compared to the 2013 projected year-end recovery rate of 75.7 per cent. The overall recovery rate is budgeted at 82.4 per cent in 2014.

For comparison, Clark said the last full operating year for the Civic Centre and the Hillcrest Curling Club in 2010, they had a recovery rate of 50.8 per cent.

“Unlike the two new buildings, that didn’t include any dollars allocated for financial services, for IT, for senior management,” said Clark. “So we feel very strongly about … (our) recovery rate.”

However, Mayor Deb Higgins had a number of questions and concerns with the proposed budget. One area was the DFFH’s rates for natural gas and water and sewer.

In 2013, the DFFH budgeted natural gas at $128,520, which is the same amount for the 2014 budget. The projected 2013 year-end is $71,536.

For water and sewer, the DFFH budgeted $69,941 in 2013 and the 2014 budget is at $71,632, an increase of $1,691. However, the projected 2013 year-end for 2013 is $27,508.

“Everyone’s budgets have adjusted down because of a drop in natural gas price, but you’re staying constant even though your projected usage is $71.5K,” said Higgins. “So I wonder why you wouldn’t reduce it down or adjust.”

Clark said the initial projections haven’t changed much since the numbers were first drawn up in 2010.

“When we look at the advice we get from talking to other buildings, they say wait for five years. Develop a track record. Find out how the building’s going to operate. Don’t move off those because you may get a shot,” said Clark. “We’ve gone up marginally in the past year from 2012 to 2013, but there’s still a lot of unknowns.”

He said the biggest unknown for Mosaic Place is the escalator and the board has no idea what the service contract will be or how it will affect the power bill.

But Higgins questioned that the facilities would actually double the usage next year. Later in the meeting, Coun. Don Mitchell made a motion for the DFFH to reconsider their 2014 budget estimates for utility projections.

Higgins also asked questions about the salaries and employee benefits. The administration salaries will increase $2,853 in 2014 to $428,413 from the 2013 budget of $431,266. The projected year-end in 2013 is $391,915.

The employee benefits will increase $39,843 in 2014 to $150,855 from the 2013 budget of $111,012. The projected year-end employee benefits will be $141,427.

Clark said the facilities need a five-year track record to see how those numbers will play out.

He said the total number of employees is 30 between Mosaic Place and YaraCentre, with 16 full-time positions and 14 casual. Of those, Mosaic Place has 13 full-time positions and eight casual. He added some employees, such as finance, have duties at both facilities.

Higgins added to Mitchell’s motion to request a better explanation on employee benefits. Mitchell’s motion, with Higgins’ addition, passed with Coun. Patrick Boyle and Coun. Heather Eby opposed. Coun. Brian Swanson was absent from the meeting.

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.

Organizations: DFFH board, Civic Centre, Hillcrest Curling Club

Geographic location: Canada, Moose Jaw

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