Council Agenda 9/22/08

The “ice” skating rink comes up on Monday. Council will be asked to authorize the purchase of the skating rink–this includes waiving the usual bidding process–and in a separate action to authorize Acting Mayor Povlsen to enter into an agreement with The Skate School, LLC.

Cost Summary Estimate
Ice Rink @ 114 Panels + shipping & handling = $52,000
Vinyl Fencing with Gates $ 9,000
Rubber Matting $ 4,500
Lighting $ 2,500
Contingency Fund of 5% $ 3,300
TOTAL $71,300

That’s not all. There are costs involved in prepping the site, installation, seasonal removal for storage, and probably insurance. Plus, IMO it is altogether fair to somehow account for the costs of land acquisition and lost property taxes since we are in essence paying to pull downtown commercial property off the market. That’s just off the top of my head.

But, back to the bidding process. This should not be waived because, a little light reading shows, not all synthetic ices and rinks are the same when it comes to performance, maintenance requirements, etc. One enemy of them all, it seems, and a hazard to skaters, is dirt. Would a rink on a street corner stay free of gritty slush thrown up from trucks? Would we end up having to build some sort of shelter?

My reading also gave me a sense that the technological advances will breed entrepreneurs, another potential option besides putting the city into the recreation business.

Other items:

  • Utility surcharge comes up at the CoW.
  • The Annie Glidden hotel project has been withdrawn.
  • TTFN.

    26 thoughts on “Council Agenda 9/22/08”

    1. Well, it looked like the storage tanks got dug up without any additional costs.

      The costs for buying the land, tearing out the building, and removing the storage tanks have to be added in so this is maybe the $710,000 skating rink not the $71,000 rink.

    2. I still believe that it is very illegal to use TIF monies for a MOBILE (not permanent) structure. I also fail to see how this is to add back to the funds and help pay down the bonds. As a father of 5 children, I find it very difficult to believe that parents will take their children downtown to the rink to skate for a bit and then all go shopping.

      After the kids are done skating, tired and cold, I cannot see this family with kids tagging behind shopping for anything but a hot chocolate and kleenex. Heck, try go shopping downtown and all of a sudden need the use of a washroom, not easy to find one downtown.

      I would think that an aspiring attorney looking to make a name in TIF related business would jump all over a potential lawsuit against the city council if this passes. This project falls under the guise of the DeKalb Park District or a private enterprise. If all in favor of this skating rink thinks it is to be profitable and worth the while, form and business and run it that way. I’m sure the Park District would offer you .20 cents on the dollars after you shut down in let’s see. . . . I’ll give you 2 years just to add a little optimism.

      The city should not be funding projects like this while discussing tax and utility meter increases to fund a desperately needed police which due to any lack of responsiblity or foresight on the councils part has not been budgeted for over the past 8 years of discussing the building of one. Get with it Mayor and council.

    3. Right. Add:

      –dubious legality, since a) it is not permanent and b) there is no clear connection to raising property values, jobs creation, etc.
      –need for washrooms
      –questionable prioritizing as well as moral issues raised by buying toys while increasing the tax burden

      There’s a “top 10 list” in here somewhere.

    4. Dubious, indeed! Shame on the City and Council if they approve a skating rink, of all things, while proposing a meter fee and raising taxes to fund a police station. Boy, are their priorities out-of-whack! (If it is constructed, everyone should boycott it.)

    5. Can we put on the brakes for the future Taj Mahal Locust Street project that is next? It is too late to stop the $2 million Taj Mahal parking lot re-do that we did not need.

      The Police Station is a priority.

      That is too bad the Annie Glidden residents scared off the hotel guy before some compromise could be worked out. This city could use a decent hotel somewhere not right along the railroad tracks. DeKalb loses so much money to Sycamore for hotel space, and subsequent meals.

      The federal bailout of AIG which sent stocks back up is only a temporary band-aid on the economy. The whole patient is ill. Some economists/business leaders are saying depression, not recession, including with Henry Mintzberg, who predicted where we are now two years ago.

      It is time to pull way, way back and re-assess priorities.

    6. The Correction is taking place. Homes are structures people live in on Main Street and should never become part of the paper economy on Wall Street — sold as part of an investment portfolio designed to maximize profits. It is Main Street and not Wall Street that is where the people of, for and by live. Homes were not meant to be revenue sources for careless government spending or exorbitant public salaries/pensions. How did Snidely Whiplash get elected Mayor of Main Street?

      It really is a matter of priorities.

    7. Kay,

      I was at the planning commission meeting and both the people present for a speaking on behalf of that hotel had such an arrogance about them that I couldn’t help but be glad they lost. I do think a compromise could have been worked out, but at the same time, those residents moved in with the understanding that yes, that lot would eventually have SOMETHING, but not a hotel (which would have required a zoning change). Still something could have been worked out — it seemed one of the main issues was the size of the thing — one of the main reasons they needed a zoning change.

    8. RE: Skating Rink:

      I’m sorry to say I think our new Aldmerman, Mr Teresinki (who voted in FAVOR of the skating rink) has already lost his marbles and perhaps is a clone of the man he replaced – Mr Povlsen. I think he will fit in nicely with the “tax and spend” mentality of this city council. Nice choice Kris!…I didn’t know we perfected the art of cloning.

      Shame on Mr Teresinski, Mr Polvsen, Ms Gorski, Mr Naylor and Mr Simpson for wasting our tax dollars (AGAIN) in this time of economic crisis. Apparently these individuals have no respect for the voters and taxpayers of this community.

      I know my fellow bloggers will probably disagree with my opinion of Mr Teresinski, but I find it very troublesome that he as already voted to Rubber stamp the AFSME contract and to waste our taxpayer dollars on this skating rink. If he keeps this up, I will have no choice but to come to the conclusion that he is no different than the rest of the council.

      I can’t wait to see him rubber stamp the New Taxes and fees associated with the police station!

    9. PLease someone check my math.

      Renew says this will pay for itself in 3-5 years so I took the 72k and divided by 4 and came up with the city having to clear 18k per year to pay this off ( or get our money back) in 4 years.

      Remember the city gets 1/2 of net income. Sooooo

      Lets assume the rink operates on a 20% profit margin which means for every 1 dollar taken in .80 cents goes to expenses and .20 cents is profit. This is pretty standard. Soooo

      In order for the city to come up with 18k in profit every year there has to be $180,000.00 in sales ( remember the city only gets 50% of the net income) Sooo

      If the rink is open for 3 months or 90 days it needs to generate sales of $2,000.00 per day to meet the profit margin of making $200.00 per day to pay back for this purchase.

      Lets then assume that 100 skaters use the park on an average day which means they will have to charge $20.00 per day per skater to pay this back in 4 years. Sooo

      If a family of 4 wants to go skating it will cost $80.00 each time to use this skate rink or they can go to the lagoon for free. 200 skaters per day would still cost the family of 4 $40.00 to go skating.

      Go figure


    10. If the cost of the land, the tank removal, and the tear-down of the building gets added in, the skating rink will pay for itself in sixteen years, based on Pevo’s $20.00 per visit charge. If a more predictable $4 per visit turns out to be the real charge, then it will pay for itself in what, 80 years?

      They either think we are stupid or someone should have paid more attention to math class in the Rockford Public School system.

    11. On the other hand, a privately-owned or Park District-run family fun center on the outskirts of town could include a skating rink, even an indoor one for the hockey players. Did DeKalb have mini-golf once upon a time? Now that might actually get some use, provided we have any discretionary income left.

    12. Somebody should ask what figure they are basing the payback on. I guess that could be me, since I’ve been waiting on some other figures from Re:New for a couple weeks anyway.

      The math here is solid except leaves out the skating lessons. Some of the rink time will be set aside for what I assume will be private and semi-private lessons. Those probably won’t come cheap, and there is some demand although I do not know the extent. The ability to keep the ice clean will factor into this in a major way.

      But, really, considering the ongoing costs for the city such as maintenance supplies, snow removal, etc. I am kind of shocked we couldn’t work out a deal where the city receives a percentage of the gross. There is no guarantee of any net, ever, much less 20%.

    13. Yinn you raise a good point on the lessons, one that I overlooked. I would guess, however, that very little “profit” is figured into the lessons.

      As an example: If I had to pay a teacher to give lessons and I was the teacher I would charge the same amount as paid for the lessons. What incentive would I have to split this with anyone?


    14. If the government is going to bail out these companies and their stockholders especially the companies that had huge “golden parachutes” for their CEO’s when they left the company, profit or not, then I fully believe that there are many contractors like myself who deserve to be bailed out. Maybe the government could buy the homes that I can’t sell and offer them to first time home buyers who need assistance.

      We know that this won’t happen but why is it that those companies that made profits and paid exhorbitant salaried to mainly do nothings are getting this special treatment? Just think what 700 billion dollars would do in the hands of those who REALLY NEED it. Real dollars that the normal Joe like you and me would spend on necessary home and vehicle repairs, catching up on utility bills and buying some legitimate groceries for the pantry, fridge and freezer. Clothes for the cold winter coming up or just to make sure that all have dollars to pay the fuel bills this winter.

      You see wasteful spending going on in the community just as there is no problem in the world today. Our council seems absolutely oblivious to the economic conditions out around us. Many are having to make decisions already that their great grand parent and grand parents had to make in the late 30’s and we are borrowing over $70,000.00 to have an ice rink brought into the community during the winter.

      Let’s wake it up all government leaders, get in tune to what is going on with your constituents.

    15. I would rather see people like Ivan get bailed out than the people and institutions that borrowed money so they could go gamble on the stock market. People like Ivan are actually creating something tangible, not playing with ‘imaginary’ money. CEOs should not make more than 50 times more than their lowest paid employee. If their lowest paid person makes $25,000, then they should not be allowed to make more than $1,250,000.

      I would have a problem with a taxpayer-funded entity getting cordoned off for private use. Hopkins Park gets used for weddings but no one blocks off the entire park. There better not be plans to cordon off the entire skating rink for private lessons. If there are private lessons, they can have a corner, but not the entire rink.

    16. I appreciate it Kay but I would prefer to be able to work within the guidelines set. To be able to know what I can or can’t do and to be able to access credit as needed. The problem in the construction industry is that you have highs and lows. When you get into a low, you need to be able to dip into some credit to keep going until the next high.

      There is practically no credit out there at all which is making even difficult for those who have done it right over the years. Everyone is being put into the same basket and literally being choked so hard that many are losing projects, businesses and personal homes. Property values are dropping so fast that last months appraisal may not even be good anymore.

      Situations like the one we are in now have in the past weeded out the weak and those who should not have been in the business they were in but unfortunately todays turndown will cause many good businesses to put up the “Sorry, we’re out of business” signs. I know how difficult it is for me, I can only imagine how tough it is for others.

    Leave a Reply