As long as Mother Nature cooperates with the town, there will be public ice skating opportunities available at by the end of the 2011 calendar year.
The Board of Finance on Tuesday evening offered consensus support allowing organizers Dawn Miceli and Michael Domian to officially purchase the rink using town funds. The funds will be fully reimbursed, Miceli told members of the board Wednesday night.
With the blessing from the Board of Finance, Miceli and Domian said an order would be placed this week and , if not in time for children and families to use by December school vacation.
“This is it. This support makes it now official,” Miceli said with a smile. “We will reimburse the town for all costs, so this is not coming from the taxpayers dollars. This is simply a way to borrow the money until all our committed donations arrive.”
Organizers scrambled this week to receive town assistance after learning that without the money, they would not have been able to acquire the rink in time for use this season.
Miceli said the town has already received five $1,000 donations to apply to the cost – an anonymous donation of $1,000 came late Tuesday – but much of the money would not be available in the first half of 2012 due to corporate bookkeeping processes.
Garry Brumback said Wednesday that the money would come from the Park and Recreation Department’s budget and more specifically from the ‘reimbursable program’ line and would be returned at a later date prior to the end of the fiscal year on June 30.
“This is not something that is going to cost the taxpayer anything,” Brumback said. “What is essentially happening is the money will be ‘fronted’ in order to get the rink in place and all that money will be reimbursed through donations.”
The 80-foot by 100-foot rink will cost $7,000 and will be installed in the southern end on Memorial Park between the road and the right field foul pole of the south field. Domian said it is also located within the park’s “emergency lighting network” which will allow for lighting after dark and allow for night skating without any additional costs to the town.
The rink will be installed by organizers and town staff with no affect on the staff’s hours or responsibilities, Brumback said.
Due to the reimbursement fund use, Brumback told Board of Finance members that the Parks Board would now govern the program and the rink, while available to the public, would only be open during park hours.
Miceli said the latest approval also allows the town to accept checks for donations and allows Miceli, a town councilwoman, and Domian, a member of the Board of Water Commissioners, to avoid having to collect money.
Although the program has now been approved, Miceli said she is still looking for an additional $2,000 in donations for initial equipment costs and $3,000 in funding to help place into a reserve fund for emergency purposes in the future. The fund would be considered “special revenue” and would be used only as a contingency to prevent costs to the taxpayer.
So what’s this mean for local residents? It may sound strange to say, but pray or hope for some colder weather.
“As long as the weather cooperates, we will be able to lace our skates and get in the rink later this month,” Miceli said with a smile.
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