Carson City's Arlington Ice Skating Rink is expected to support itself this season with 100 percent direct cost recovery when it opens Nov. 25, a Parks and Recreation Department official said Tuesday night.
"This will lead us into a position where we will not have to be subsidized by the general fund this year," Joel Dunn, operations manager for the recreation department, told the Parks and Recreation Commission.
Carson City has paid more than $100,000 to support the rink in previous years, but through a number of strategic purchases and increased revenue, Dunn was happy to report that the rink will support itself this year.
The purchase of a 120-foot by 53-foot used ice rink with chiller and dasher boards from the Philippines was only $5,000 more than the cost to rent the rink setup for the 2009-10 season, he said.
Another purchase was new top-of-the-line rental ice skates, also only $5,000 more than the cost to rent all the skates in the 2009-10 season. Dunn said 75 percent of that $20,000 purchase price was recovered during the 2010-11 season.
"Carson City is officially in the ice rink business," Dunn said.
The city's Office of Business Development had oversight of the rink during its first season, but the recreation department took over operation last season.
Other highlights of the 2011-12 budget include:
• An 8.3 percent reduction in staffing costs. These were reduced by nearly $3,000 for this season's budget, while expanding the season an additional two weeks.
• A 29.2 percent increase in revenue. The program revenue was increased by about $17,000 bringing projected total revenue to about $75,000 with an extended season and new session packages.
• A 16.7 percent increase in participation. There were 9,598 skaters during the 2010-11 season, up from 8,222 in 2009-10.
Expenses this year will include replacing the tubes which freeze the ice in the grid system of the rink, Dunn said, but the upgrade will increase the efficiency of ice making considerably.
The department also has increased the aesthetics and comfort at the rink this year by making it more visible to passersby and adding a small seating area where no issues with snow removal will be a factor.
Admission will stay the same at $7 for general ages 13 and up, $5 youth ages 3-12 and a $3 skate rental cost, but skaters who own their own skates can bring them.
On-site debit card use also will be available this year.
"This is a real affordable family activity," Dunn said.
Steve Lasco, Parks and Recreation Commission chairman, said he was pleased with the success of the ice rink.
"Every year it gets more popular and less expensive," he said. "I've passed by there many times and seen many happy faces."
Dunn said another goal is to bring life to downtown where people can shop or enjoy a meal before or after skating.
"We can get up to 10,000 people coming downtown," he said. "We sell hot cocoa and coffee and candy bars, but we have limited concessions."
A special after-school two-hour skate activity will be offered from 3-5 p.m. every Monday through Thursday for only $5, which includes skate rental and hot cocoa. Other skate sessions those four days will be from 6-10 p.m., and general skate sessions for Fridays will be from 3-5 p.m. and 6-10 p.m.
On Saturdays and Sundays, sessions are from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., 2-5 p.m. and from 6-10 p.m. Saturdays or 6-9 p.m. Sundays.
For complete details, go to www.downtowncarsoncity.com or call the ice rink hotline at 283-7429.