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Town of Skaneateles compromises on ice rink rate

After hearing feedback from residents involved with Skaneateles Youth Hockey, figure skating and girls varsity hockey at its June 20 meeting, the Skaneateles Town Board decided to compromise on its ice rink rates for Austin Park Pavilion.

The board held an executive session to discuss the matter, which is considered a contract negotiation, after its June 20 meeting, and reconvened that night to vote on a rate of $87 per hour for groups and residents of Skaneateles.

The board had originally approved an increase from $80 per hour, the rate for the 2012-13 season, to $95 per hour at its May 16 meeting. The board also decided to change it opening day to the middle of October rather than the beginning of the month and increase the out-of-town rate from $95 per hour to $110 per hour at that meeting.

Councilor Steve McGlynn said the board hopes to stick to an increase of four percent per year from now on, rather than sporadic increases to account for inflation and be able to meet their goal of breaking even on the operation of the rink.

Operating the rink is also a risk for the town because, due to its age, it often needs repairs that the town has to cover with money from its general fund, McGlynn said. “We’ve been told it’s beyond its life,” he said.

Last season the operation of the rink cost the town $1,800, though including repairs the expense was close to $25,000.

The YMCA has tentatively planned to install a second sheet of ice at the community center, funded by private donations, though there is no official plan in place for that yet.

A second rink at the YMCA could potentially eliminate the need for a rink at Austin Park Pavilion, though that decision has yet to be made, McGlynn said.

Joe Genco is the editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at editor@skaneatelespress.com.

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