WESTBROOK — When the Westbrook Community Center opened a decade ago, city administration decided each program there should be responsible for covering its own costs. All programs have been self-supporting except for the operation of the swimming pools.
Aquatic passes, rentals and user fees have not covered the cost of operating the Davan Indoor Pool and the Cornelia Warren Outdoor Pool and they run a “significant shortfall” each year, said City Administrator Jerre Bryant. This year’s projected shortfall for the pool budget is $75,000. In the past, money has been transferred from the city’s general fund to make up for the deficit.
To remedy that, the City Council last week unanimously approved a change to allow excess revenue from other programming and services to cover the pool budget deficit. Revenue from all programming, now about $300,000, will be taken as a whole, rather than put into specific program accounts.
Most of programs at the community center, primarily before and after school care, make money.
“In looking at the overall financial performance of our self-funding programs, we were running a pretty significant fund balance,” Bryant said.
Administrative cost of operating the community center will still be funded through the city’s operating budget.
In a March 30 discussion about the community services budget, Councilor Victor Chau said he would love to see the entirety of the community center be self funding so it is funding its own plowing, facility improvements and other things that are funded now through the general fund.
“I’d love to see you get to that place,” he said.
Michael Kelley can be reached at 780-9106 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @mkelleynews.
The council has decided to stop the practice of using part of the general fund to offset the deficit of the community services’ pool budget and instead use revenue from other community center programming to cover the shortfall.