An Open Letter Regarding the Comparison of the Proposed Capital Surcharge on Ice Rentals

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Mayor DiCarlo, Members of Town Council, Administration for the Town of Amherstburg

I am writing to you as the President of Skate Amherstburg. As you know Skate Amherstburg is run by a board of directors made up of volunteers and is a not for profit organization. The people who donate their time and talents to help make Skate Amherstburg an asset to our community are residents of Amherstburg. These volunteers are parents of skaters, current skaters or former skaters themselves, they vary broadly in age and come from all walks of life. What is common among the volunteers that run Skate Amherstburg is generosity and the desire to build a strong community by giving back and encouraging others to do the same.

I have read the report written by Rick Daly dated November 15, 2017 titled ‘Proposed Capital Surcharge on Ice Rentals Comparison’ and the recommendation made within that report that council approve option #1. As an unpaid volunteer, a parent of four 4 children who participate in both skating and hockey programs in our town and as a taxpayer I find the arguments used to support this recommendation very discouraging.

I would ask that council consider the following when deciding which option to approve:

We recognize and support the need to generate a capital reserve and support the creation of a surcharge. In keeping with our goal of keeping sport affordable and accessible to all residents of Amherstburg regardless of their financial situation the Primary Ice Users are proposing an equitable option that meets the goal of administration while minimizing the impact on registration fees.

Administration argues that while the Principal Ice Users rented 54% of the ice in 2016 our proposal has us only paying 38% of the estimated surcharge. In response I would like to ask that you consider again that 54% of the ice rentals in the facility are being generated by the Principal Ice Users.

Consider that the majority of revenue in the facility is generated by organizations that are an asset to the community, built on the principals of promoting health, community service and engagement. Consider the potential risk of discouraging volunteerism by increasing costs to those who already donate a significant amount of their time to run organizations such as ours while paying the same registration fees as everyone else.

Over the last two years a significant amount of effort has gone into restructuring our organizational budgets and our registration fees. This has resulted in improvement in the quality of our programs, an increase in membership and increased ice rental hours. Continued increases in the ice rental rates will have a definite impact on our ability to continue on this path as the additional costs will either have to be passed on to the participants in registration fee increases or by way of reducing ice rental hours and quality of programs in order to keep costs lower.

When designing option #2 the cost of ice rentals at other facilities was taken into account as well as whether other facilities implement non-resident fees. We believe that our proposal is fair in that it keeps the rental rates in line with those at other facilities, achieves the goal that administration has set for generating a capital reserve and it supports our organizations by minimizing the impact to our registration rates.

If you consider non-profit minor sport organizations such as ours an asset to the Town of Amherstburg, as I believe that you should, then I ask you to approve option #2.

Respectfully,

Lynn Fox
President – Skate Amherstburg
519-566-1574
www.skateamherstburg.ca
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