Status of facility sound; operations show steep decline at Aquatic and Family Center

Beverly Bryant - April 25, 2017 2:30 pm

About eight and a half years ago, Ponca City voters approved a half-cent sales tax extension for the purpose of building the Ponca City Aquatic and Family Center – YMCA.

The election in which the tax was approved was held Dec. 9, 2008, and  the measure passed with  1,820 yes votes (54.4 percent) to 1,524 no votes, a difference of 296 ballots.

Groundbreaking for the center was held Jan. 12, 2009. The center — the building and grounds — belong to the taxpayers of Ponca City.

The Ponca City Utility Authority issued a bond to cover construction costs, amounting to about $25 million, to be repaid by the tax dollars collected in the sales tax extension. Today, less than $5 million remains to be repaid — $4,990,000 — by Feb. 1, 2019, City Finance Director Marc LaBossiere said Tuesday. That’s the balance left after the Feb. 1, 2017, payment, and four more semi annual payments are left.

Over the years, LaBossiere has managed to refinance the bond to save money for taxpayers. The last refinance was in 2013, which brought the interest rate down to 1.86 percent, from a rate he said was near 4 percent previously.

He said many factors went into calculating the cost of the facility. Following are included costs:

  • Construction costs — $21,020,000 to Lambert Construction of Stillwater
  • Engineering — $1,521,000 to Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey Architecture of Wichita
  • Climbing wall — $241,000
  • Equipment — $975,000
  • Furnishings — $200,000
  • Shade structures at ballfields — $43,000
  • Related costs included $185,000 for the land on which the center is built;  preparation costs and interest.

The building totals more than 76,000 square feet, and features include:

  • 30-foot rock climbing wall
  • Cardio and fitness room with more than 80 Stairmasters, treadmills, stationary bikes, and weight machines
  • Elevated three-lane track
  • Two basketball courts
  • Racket ball/handball courts
  • Olympic pool for competitive swimming and fitness
  • Whirlpool
  • Zero-entry family pool with spiral slide for children
  • On-site daycare with a “kid zone” for fitness

A special meeting at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday will help shape the discussion about the facility’s future management. The facility is in place and is being used by thousands of residents. The questions on the special meeting agenda are the impact the staff resignations will have on the future direction of the Y; the impact on operations; possible remedies; and assigning work teams to handle the actions discussed.

The Ponca City  YMCA has managed the facility on a contractual basis since it opened in December 2010.

The YMCA’s budget records showed that in the first year of operation, from January to December 2011, net income was $72,084. From January to December 2012, net income was $29,438.59.

Income minus expenses for 2013 was $88,498 before a maintenance reserve payment of $83,041 was made, dropping net  income to $5,456.

In 2014, net income was $121,951.25, without the maintenance reserve payment. The proposed budget for 2015 showed estimates of $131,755 net income, and subtracted $45,000 for debt retirement and $88,000 for the 5 percent building fund estimate, leaving a negative balance of $1,245 for the year’s budget.

The end-of-year budget report for 2015 showed total net income of $1,689.55. Only the interest on debt retirement was paid, in the amount of $6,566.67. There was no maintenance reserve payment made in 2015.




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