Pelham developing plan for Civic Complex

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Pelham officials and members of the Pelham Civic Complex Advisory Council said they are looking to get more detailed financial information before deciding which direction to take to combat the nearly $1 million yearly loss at the complex.

Pelham City Councilman Steve Powell said the council recently requested Pelham’s financial officials to break the money designated to the Civic Complex into several separate “cost centers” to determine how city funds are allocated once they reach the complex.

“We have asked for more detailed financial information. Until we get those numbers, we don’t know where the problem areas are,” Powell said, noting the city is in the process of compiling the information. “If we tried to address the problem before we got those numbers, it would be pure speculation, and we don’t want to get into that situation.”

The Civic Complex has been losing about $1 million a year for the past several years, according to Pelham budget numbers. The 2011-2012 fiscal year budget calls for an about $994,523 transfer from the city’s general fund to balance the Civic Complex’s budget.

Pelham Mayor Don Murphy said this year’s general fund transfer to support the Civic Complex was a “little less” than last year’s transfer, and said the city is “trying some different things” to generate new revenue at the complex.

“We are trying some new things to see if we can do it better,” Murphy said, noting the complex will host a Building and Remodeling Expo March 23-25 and an indoor concert on May 4.

Powell and City Council President Teresa Nichols said the council will consider several options once it receives a detailed Civic Complex financial breakdown. Council members previously discussed possibly issuing a request for proposals for an outside rink management company to review operations at the complex.

“We don’t have enough information right now to determine which direction we may take,” Nichols said.

“The results of that more detailed financial information will help us understand all the options that are available to us,” Powell said. “You can’t solve a problem until you truly understand what it is.”

Greg Darnell, chairman of the Pelham Civic and Ice Complex Advisory Council, said the organization also is awaiting more detailed financial information, and said the advisory council has offered its help in compiling the information.

“That (information) will be essential before we can bring in any rink management company,” Darnell said, noting the advisory council also is working to organize a youth hockey tournament at the complex in September. “We have made ourselves available to determine the expense by cost center at the Civic Complex.”