City Commission, YMCA Board discuss possible changes to operating agreement

Beverly Bryant - November 8, 2016 9:31 am

The Ponca City Board of Commissioners heard the semi-annual report from the Ponca City Aquatic and Family Center – YMCA during its work session on Monday.

Members of the Y’s staff and board were present to talk about efforts to rebrand the Y and provide greater value to members of the facility.

In addition, the commissioners and Y board discussed proposed changes to the Recreation Center Operating Agreement with the YMCA of Ponca City.

City Manager Craig Stephenson said adopting the changes at a future board meeting would extend the initial period of operating from April 2017 to the end of December 2017.  The initial term was to be 10 years from April 24, 2007, with additional terms of five years.  This would move the initial term to end at the end of December 2017.

The City will no longer require the YMCA to pay some $4,000 a month for property insurance for a savings of approximately $48,000/annually. The facility would be covered by the city’s property insurance.

The agreement modification would reduce the Capital Reserve Account contribution, which is the amount of money the YMCA board was required to keep on hand for repairs to the property. Stephenson said this reserve account has had only one claim in the past six years.

It would also modify the area in the operating agreement to provide that the YMCA would be responsible for the main building and the property surrounding it in that parcel to the curb. 

The City would take over operation and maintenance of the parking lot, ball fields and other area surrounding the ball fields. Ponca City Junior Baseball leases the fields and pays for the mowing and feeding of the fields. The estimated savings to the YMCA for this modification would be approximately $21,000 annually, Stephenson said.

During its presentation, the Y said its rebranding efforts focus on Health, Hope and Opportunity, and providing a value-based membership with free benefits for members.  Among those benefits is free youth sports and $10 swim lessons, and free child care while a parent is working out or attending a class.

The YMCA currently has 7,042 members and 3,064 household units, with a retention rate of 64 percent, staff reported. Of that number, 2,490 members receive financial assistance in the form of scholarships. Total household units have declined from 3,900 in 2012 to 3,100 in 2016, Executive Director Shane Harland said.

Among new offerings is a Healthy Living Series taught by Kat Long. This class meets once a week in November and December and focuses on making healthier food choices.

Children who are home schooled are offered physical education classes on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Harland said there are 11 to 16 students regularly since the program started in September.

Since offering free youth sports to members, Harland said there are 255 students from Pre-K to third grade enrolled in youth basketball, which has its tip off on Nov. 12.

Harland said there are about 1,000 seniors who are members of the Silver Sneakers program. The program is an insurance benefit for seniors with Humana insurance.

The YMCA has applied for a $12,000 grant through Wal-Mart for healthier snacks for children in the after-school and summer camp programs.

Other efforts to improve the YMCA’s bottom line have included freezing or reducing staff salaries over the past three years, with a savings of $80,000,  Harland said. The Y board will be restructuring corporate memberships and offering free tryouts to non-members. Members may bring a buddy on the First Friday each month; if the buddy joins, the Y will waive the joiner fee.



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