WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT
 FACILITIES OPERATIONS COMMITTEE MEETING


Date: October 14, 2013

Place:  Village Hall Training Room

Time: 6:30 p.m.

Attendance
Commissioners: Committee Chair Brault, Shelly, Wolfe; Crowley, Abbott, Benz
Absent:  B. Smith
Staff: Wilson, Bowen, Eppelheimer, Lambrecht, Flynn, Udany, D. Smith
Visitors:  None 
  
Topics of Discussion:
1) Meeting Called to Order
2) Approval of Minutes:
      a) September 9, 2013
3) Communications and Correspondence
4) Recognition of Visitors
5) Managers Reports
6) Capital Improvement Projects Review
7) Old Business
8) New Business
9) Adjournment

Discussions/Decisions:

1) Chair Brault called the meeting to order at 6:30 pm.

2) The Committee approved the minutes of the September 9, 2013 Committee meeting by General Consent.
 
3) Under Communications and Correspondence, a letter was received from Brad Hedberg who complimented the pool staff for being so professional.

4) Recognition of Visitors: None

5) Managers Reports:

Pool Manager Brian Udany reported he has been working on the Fiscal Year 2014 Pool Budget and is planning to start recruiting for next season in November. He will also be meeting his counterparts from 15 other pool facilities on Wednesday, October 16. Superintendent Bowen indicated we will now be referring to the pool season in three parts starting with the pre-season, the regular season which will run from the middle of June to mid-August, and then the post-season schedule.

Tennis Manager Darrell Smith thanked Superintendent Lambrecht for opening up the Tennis Facility on time and stated our patrons have been very pleased with the results. Lessons are halfway through the fall session and will end during the second week of January. Team match play has also begun. Commissioner Shelly stated she has also received compliments from tennis participants in regard to the new lights.

Ice Manager Sean Flynn reported the ice rink facility opened on time on September 16 at 6 am. Staff is very pleased with the quality of the ice which seems to be much faster. He also thanked Superintendent Lambrecht for making sure the facility was completed on time. Public Skate session for September was slightly down from last year by about 50 people. The first session of the Learn-to-Skate program had an enrollment of 20 skaters and the first TGIF skate of the season was held on Friday with 126 skaters. On Saturday evening, October 12, the grand re-opening of the facility was held which included free public skate and a “shoot-the-puck” contest. In addition, the Stanley Cup was on display and about 2,000 people had their photos taken with the Stanley Cup. There was also an ISI District 8 seminar at Centennial on Sunday, October 13, with 82 coaches in attendance from the Chicagoland area.

Chair Brault stated that as reported in the Chicago Tribune area rinks are running out of ice times due to popular demand. Superintendent Bowen stated that demand is very high especially due to the Blackhawks championship and the upcoming Winter Olympics.

Chair Brault asked about the $15,000 line item for software upgrades in the Capital plan. Sean replied that this was for the compressor system. Superintendent Bowen added that staff will now be able to run the system from a computer or a phone so Sean would be able to access it from any location. There will also be alarms on the system which was in the capital project budget. It is also significantly more user-friendly.

6) Proposed FY 2014 Facilities Budget Review

Centennial Aquatic Center:

Superintendent Bowen reported the Pool budget was developed using the recommended increases as established by the Financial Planning Committee. The fee sheet indicates there is a 2%-3½% increase and staff is recommending a -2% to a 5% increase in each of the line items. In addition, the Pool would be making all of its transfers to capital and the administration charges with a final surplus of $101,000.

Chair Brault stated he thought the data we looked at before suggested we had a disproportionate reduction in non-resident passes than we’ve experienced in the pass. Director Wilson disagreed and stated we actually saw a disproportionate amount in the actual count of non-resident passes but the revenue was proportionate to what we saw. Superintendent Bowen stated that last year we had a differential for weekdays and weekends but staff is now recommending that not be done in the future. He added that it is also recommended we lower the Fair Share fee to $15. Chair Brault stated he thought this was an improvement from what we saw last year when we were successful with the passes but not so much in the daily fees. As a result, this may need to be adjusted a bit.

Commissioner Shelly stated she is okay with the proposed fees but would like to have a discussion about possibly increasing the resident fees and then look at the fee comparison since the resident fees are still quite a bit less at other neighboring pool facilities. She also thinks there is some room for making up some of the revenue and that residents would be willing to pay slightly more than they currently do.

Superintendent Bowen indicated that last year staff reviewed all of the features that the facility offers and one of the things they found was that what makes us popular is the fact that it’s more of an intimate facility and attractive to younger family members. Commissioner Shelly thought that Wilmette residents would be willing to pay $5 more for a pass for what they receive from the pool compared to other neighboring pools.

Commissioner Wolfe agreed and stated she didn’t think $5 would make a difference to our patrons and that people do not want the pool to be too populated. However, she doesn’t want to raise rates just to raise rates but if we are able to cover the revenue based on what staff is recommending then she is okay with the way it is now.

Chair Brault stated that given how bad the weather was this past season and the fact that the facility was in a construction zone, he would like to leave the fees alone this year and then determine if “tinkering” with the non-resident fees was successful. After additional discussion, the Committee agreed to raise the resident fees by 3% and the other categories around 2%

Commissioner Shelly stated that for the record and as far as next year is concerned, she thinks that residents would be able to pay a bit more if we’re down again. However, she still thinks we will have to go back to the non-residents to determine how successful this change was since we still need to be careful about how crowded the pool gets when there is good weather.

Chair Brault asked why natural gas was increasing and Superintendent Bowen replied the increase was due to utilization and that this increase was the same for natural gas for all of our areas. Director Wilson added that with the 2% the Financial Planning Committee established in regard to the uniform budget increase was driven by the fact that we have a contract expiring and we’re subject to the market.

After additional discussion, the Committee unanimously approved the FY 2014 Pool Budget inclusive of the $5,550 for next year as submitted.

Wilmette Tennis Club:

Superintendent Bowen reported that the Tennis budget was prepared using the recommended increases approved by the Financial Planning Committee as well as making the necessary transfers to capital and overhead. The bottom line for the 2014 projection total is a $101,000 surplus. Fees were prepared as recommended from a range of -2% to 3% and the fee recommendation was 2%-3½%.
 
Chair Brault stated that when looking at the overall Tennis membership comparison, it indicates the usage is at 50% of what it was 12-15 years ago. However, our revenue doesn’t reflect that. Superintendent Bowen stated that the business is different now from a few years ago. Where permanent court time was lost, staff has created programming and the revenue from the additional class offering has continued to increase.
 
Chair Brault asked that if we were on a longer-term trajectory, would it allow us to continue to be profitable over time. Director Wilson stated we are out-performing compared to other facilities because of the way we changed our model. When talking about long-term longevity from this point moving forward, expenses are going up and marketing strengths are working their way on the revenue side. As a result, it’s not necessarily a long-term “rosy” financial picture. However, Tennis Manager Darrell Smith and Superintendent Bowen, along with other staff, have been working diligently on ways to continue boosting revenue and reducing expenses as much as possible.

Superintendent Bowen stated we are developing a new marketing plan in order to attract new people. Commissioner Shelly added that our greatest assets at Tennis are the employees who work there. Commissioner Wolfe asked if there was a way to incorporate more outdoor tennis programs. Superintendent Bowen stated staff does have a number of courts outside and we’re always looking for those opportunities. Chair Brault stated that a $300,000 HVAC project is budgeted for next year and asked what that would do for the facility. Tennis Manager Darrell Smith stated he thought people would play more tennis and that we could probably pick up more teams. Chair Brault also stated we should at least think about how we can use the space at least temporarily when it’s not being used. Superintendent Bowen replied he would review the options.

 In regard to fees, Superintendent Bowen stated there is a 2% increase across-the-board with a couple of variations in the Junior category.

 Chair Brault stated that for 2014, the HVAC was deferred out of the original project and it was placed into next year. He also asked if we were going to get energy credits since the total cost for the lighting was about $90,000 and we received a grant totaling approximately $20,000. Superintendent Lambrecht stated that in terms of the pro shop remodeling and court resurfacing in 2016 and 2017, a lot of that work has already been done. Chair Brault stated we should bring up some of these numbers at our upcoming Committee-of-the-Whole meeting in December. 

After additional discussion, the Committee unanimously approved the FY 2014 Tennis Budget and recommended it be presented to the full Board for approval.

Centennial Ice Rinks:

Superintendent Bowen reported this budget was prepared using all of the recommended increases.  The budget reflects the operations to make the capital and administrative service charge transfers. We are budgeting for a surplus of $150,982.

Superintendent Bowen stated that the 2014 budget is hard to compare with 2013 and 2012.  He stated that In 2013, revenue is lower because on the months that the facility was closed due to the reconstruction.  When you compare 2012 and 2014, the 2012 revenue is inflated because in that year we collected revenue fron 2011 that was not paid in 2011. One organization was over 12 months late in paying and it was all collected by mid-year of 2012. Also in 2012, we installed new financial software and some mistakes were made when coding off the lesson classes to the proper accounts. As a result, we corrected this in 2013 and made further changes to “tweak” those classifications.

Superintendent Bowen reported that there is a 15% reduction in part-time employee costs due to re-organization compared to 2012. Overall, we have a 3% increase in salaries do to a change in employee salary distribution. 

Director Wilson added that more importantly in Fiscal Year 2013 there is a capital transfer dollar amount listed.  Superintendent Bowen stated the fees on the main sheet of ice are flat with slight increases elsewhere. Commissioner Wolfe asked why the fees were going down 2% in group lessons and Superintendent Bowen replied that he believes that is a typo.

Superintendent Bowen stated that in regard to the 2013 capital improvement projects, the first budget line item is the Paging and Security System for $50,000 and $15,000, respectively, on the ice controls. Director Wilson added that the actual cost for Paging and Security was $18,000 since it also included the sound system. Commissioner Wolfe stated she thought Skate Sharpening had been deferred. Superintendent Bowen replied that it had been on the pending list and we are now moving ahead with those items.

 After additional discussion, the Committee unanimously approved the FY 2014 Ice Budget and recommended it be presented to the full Board for approval.
 
The meeting was suspended at 7:30 pm and reconvened at 8:30 pm.

Platform Tennis

Chair Brault stated it is interesting that our 2013 projections indicate we’re going to make $25,000. Superintendent Bowen indicated that we are budgeting for 195 members.

Chair Brault asked how our platform tennis professional feels about the potential revenue that he’s going to generate through drills and lessons, etc. Superintendent Bowen stated Brad Smith is very encouraged about memberships which he thinks will increase when there is a lot more women’s play. Commissioner Shelly stated the women’s leagues are still being worked on since there was some miscommunication from the different areas.

Chair Brault stated that the proposed fees for platform tennis are flat from last year and were approved in July. Superintendent Bowen added that there is currently no charge for members to use a court and that the platform rates were approved in July. He also stated that Glenview and Winnetka have recently come up with an Associate Membership category which we could look at in the future.

After additional discussion, Chair Brault stated that Brad has been very understanding and under a lot of pressure.  Chair Brault stated that we need to make sure people perceive they are receiving value and we will be able to work that out as we move along. Commissioner Wolfe asked if there was a possibility for expanding the facility. Chair Brault replied that was not included in next year’s budget but we could put it in a future year so that it doesn’t get lost.

After additional discussion, the Committee unanimously approved the FY 2014 Platform Tennis Budget and recommended it be presented to the full Board for approval.

7) Old Business: None

8) New Business: None

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:52 pm. 

MINUTES APPROVED AS AMENDED ON NOVEMBER 11, 2013.