Multi-Use Facility should be run in cost-effective manner

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, April 26, 2006

City and county officials reached an amicable agreement Fridayover concerns about the future operation of the Lincoln CountyMulti-Use Facility.

In what could have been an unpleasant blame game offinger-pointing, leaders from both sides of the Government Complexagain demonstrated a cooperative spirit and ability to worktogether to solve problems. That attitude has been the hallmark ofsuccessful economic and other community development efforts inrecent years.

Following Brookhaven recreation leaders’ concerns about manpowerdemands, the county has agreed to buy out the city’s $200,000initial share toward facility construction more than eight yearsago. The city will continue to contribute $20,000 a year towardfacility support for the next three years.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Questions remain, however, over who will actually oversee thefacility and usage fees that have not been enough to offsetutilities, maintenance and other costs. Supervisors brieflydiscussed some oversight options, such as an independentcommission, but have not reached any conclusions.

One issue that must be addressed is the facility usage feestructure. Rates have not been raised in the facility’s eight-yearexistence, and one official’s estimate put the annual deficit at$10,000-$15,000.

With the facility used more than 160 times last year, there isno question it is meeting a community need. It must do so, though,in a cost-effective manner.

Ideally, the fees paid by those who use the facility forcommercial or for-profit ventures should be enough to offset thecosts of facility use by non-profit organizations and for schoolactivities. If not, a nominal and fair fee structure for thoseorganizations could be established.

Maintenance and upkeep concerns over the aging facility’scondition must also be considered.

Under city oversight, the Multi-Use Facility has been a well-runoperation with county assistance when needed.

With the facility now at a crossroads, we are hopeful andconfident county officials will see that it will continue to beused and enjoyed by all parts of the community.