Mission task force recommends Sylvester Powell Community Center move to 100 percent operating cost recovery


A Mission task force that was charged with studying the Sylvester Powell Community Center has recommended that the city should move towards recovering 100 percent of the operating costs by the 2017 budget.

Currently, the community center is able to generate approximately 80 percent of the operating revenue needed to pay its costs. The remainder is paid from other revenue sources. The task force recommendation does not include equipment and capitals costs which are now funded in the Community Improvement Program.

City Administrator Laura Smith told the city council that benchmarking against similar community centers showed that other places were getting to 100 percent recovery. “It won’t be easy,” Smith said, noting that fees Sylvester Powell are comparable to those charged other places. “What are they doing that’s different,” will be a focus in bringing the cost recovery higher, she said.

The task force recommended that the cost-recovery goal move from 80 to 90 percent for the 2016 budget and to 100 percent in 2017. That gap represents about $350,000 per year, Smith said.

Councilor Jennifer Cowdry, who co-chaired the task force, said the task force didn’t impose the goal, but that city staff came to the group with the goal of 100 percent recovery. The task force also suggested other areas for staff to explore including marketing, partnerships with nearby cities, adjusting membership definitions and altering the hours and facility space use.

The list of recommendations for the operating costs includes the following:

  • “The operating cost­ recovery goal for the Sylvester Powell, Jr. Community Center will be increased from 80% to 90% of annual operating costs for the 2016 Budget.
  • The operating cost ­recovery goal for the Sylvester Powell, Jr. Community Center will be increased from 90% to 100% of annual operating costs for the 2017 Budget.
  • The cost­ recovery goal will apply to annual operating costs only, excluding equipment replacement and other facility and capital replacement costs. The Committee recommends these needs be funded by non ­operating revenues, specifically through the use of dedicated sales tax revenues.
  • Staff are given discretion to achieve cost recovery goals through any combination of fee adjustments, marketing activities, programming changes, changes in space utilization, privatization or outsourcing opportunities, and other expenditure reductions.
  • The Task Force will reconvene in February 2016 to review recommendations, programs, or policies implemented in an effort to improve cost­ recovery for the Sylvester Powell, Jr. Community Center.”