The Skaneateles town board heard comments from a number of concerned residents about its proposed raise for fees for the ice rink at Austin Park Pavilion at its June 20 meeting.
The rate for in-town groups (including youth hockey, figure skating and the high school varsity girls hockey team) was $80 per hour last year and was set to go up to $95 per hour this year.
Councilor Steve McGlynn explained that the town’s goal in operating the rink is to provide a service to its residents, but also to break even. The town had not raised its rate since 2002 and needs to do so to break even.
The operation of the rink last year lost the town $1,800, though it actually lost almost $25,000 due to repairs needed for the building and the zamboni, McGlynn said. The town had to cover the balance by taking money out of its general fund.
Several residents spoke to say that they would prefer a more gradual increase to limit the impact on families who will have to pay extra for their children to use the ice without any improvements to the facility or services.
“The basic feeling from youth hockey is that a 15 percent increase in one year is a pretty steep jump without any warning whatsoever,” Keith Kreiger said.
McGlynn said they would table the issue so that board members could get a chance to talk to parents and representatives of the groups that use the ice to come up with a more favorable arrangement.
The board had also set the start date for ice use for Oct. 16, though they moved to change it to Oct. 14 so it would fall on a Monday. The town will start to build the ice and ready the facility on Oct. 1.
In past years the ice had opened on Oct. 1, pushing that date to the middle of the month will save the town money, especially because it is costly to build the ice and keep it frozen in the event of warm weather in September and October.
In other business
--Due to Independence Day the board scheduled a special meeting for 10 a.m. on Monday, July 1 to pay bills. The next regular meeting of the board will be Thursday, July 18.