In­dian Head says no more ab­sorb­ing Vil­lage Green Pavil­ion cost

Ex­am­ine ideas to in­crease renters to off­set ex­penses

Maryland Independent - - News - By TIF­FANY WAT­SON twat­son@somd­news.com Twit­ter: Tif­fIndyNews

Many of the In­dian Head res­i­dents cur­rently use the Vil­lage Green Pavil­ion for meet­ings, en­ter­tain­ment and other so­cial events. Af­ter re­view­ing the town’s bud­get his­tory, the town coun­cil plans to in­crease the fa­cil­ity’s us­age with the help of some ad­di­tional guide­lines that would stop the town from ab­sorb­ing such a large per­cent­age of the fa­cil­ity’s cost.

On May 25, the coun­cil met dur­ing its monthly work ses­sion to dis­cuss the Vil­lage Green Pavil­ion that sits across the street from the town hall. The coun­cil would like to ex­pe­dite the fa­cil­ity’s rent­ing process and in­crease the fa­cil­ity’s us­age as soon as pos­si­ble.

“[In re­gards to the town’s bud­get his­tory,] we are off­set­ting the ex­penses at the Vil­lage Green Pavil­ion with our gen­eral fund, meaning that 61 per­cent of the Vil­lage Green Pavil­ion is funded via our gen­eral fund,” said Town Man­ager Ryan Hicks. “We have al­ways done that but things need to change. We have to rent that build­ing be­cause there is no way we can in­crease the fees on it right now with the peo­ple that we have rent­ing it, in or­der to make up the dif­fer­ence. There­fore, in­stead of in­creas­ing the fees, we need to in­crease the amount of peo­ple rent­ing the fa­cil­ity. That’s the bot­tom line.”

Prior to the meet­ing, Coun­cil­man Cur­tis Smith pro­vided a sam­ple doc­u­ment of fa­cil­ity guide­lines that will help the town’s staff make de­ci­sions about the fa­cil­ity’s us­age as res­i­dents ap­ply to rent it.

“I put to­gether a tem­plate and it has a space where our staff can insert the renter’s form,” Smith said. “It states that non­prof­its can use the fa­cil­ity for a cer­tain amount of times through­out the year, re­ceive dis­counts, and if it meets the cri­te­ria then we move for­ward with the ren­tal.”

The coun­cil agreed that a few changes would need to be made to the doc­u­ment but it would be use­ful as a guide to cre­ate an of­fi­cial guide­line doc­u­ment for us­age of the fa­cil­ity. Mayor Bran­don Paulin asked to take a look at the sam­ple doc­u­ment be­fore the coun­cil pro­ceeds with a de­ci­sion.

The coun­cil also dis­cussed changes to the cur­rent guide­lines such as al­low­ing renters to set up the night be­fore, which would no longer be a lux­ury for fu­ture renters if there are back-to-back ren­tal events. Hicks said the coun­cil’s goal is to keep it fair and even across the board for all of the town’s renters.

“We need to off­set that cost be­cause 61 per­cent is un­ac­cept­able,” Hicks said. “That per­cent­age is some­thing that no other mu­nic­i­pal­ity would do in their own bud­get. We call it a money pit.”

“It might be a money pit but it has al­ways served the func­tion of bring­ing the com­mu­nity to­gether,” said Vice Mayor Ron Si­toula. “And that is part of the func­tion of be­ing a town,” The coun­cil agreed. “It’s good that it serves its pur­pose but when we are rent­ing to non-In­dian Head res­i­dents and its drum­ming up our cost then we have to do some­thing,” Hicks said. “We need to try to part­ner with some other folks and fol­low-up on other ideas that the town clerk and I have come up with.”

Paulin said he be­lieves cre­at­ing guide­lines for the us­age of the pavil­ion is a great, pro­gres­sive step for the town.

“I think it will be good to get those guide­lines set and hope­fully it can spur some more us­ages of the pavil­ion,” Paulin said. “If we get some more us­age then it would eat up that 61 per­cent com­ing out of our gen­eral fund. We still need to tweak the sam­ple guide­lines and it will be a topic of dis­cus­sion at the next town meet­ing. Just look­ing at the bud­get, us fund­ing 61 per­cent of the pavil­ion, that’s a sub­stan­tial amount. We need those guide­lines al­ready built in, that way ap­pli­ca­tions to use the fa­cil­ity don’t have to come to the coun­cil first.”

The coun­cil is also look­ing to make changes to the town’s motto, logo and seal. They plan to in­clude the town res­i­dents in the de­ci­sion mak­ing process by con­duct­ing a slo­gan con­test to gain com­mu­nity in­put.

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