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Consultant lists four potential operators for YMCA; city would be expensive alternative

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A 100-page feasibility report names YMCA, city, private operator or a parks district as likely choices

GAZETTE FILE PHOTO - Possible operators of the YMCA include having the agency continue operating the facility, turn operations over to the city, select a special parks and recreation district to run the center or going to a private operator to provide services.
A feasibility survey by a Colorado company has listed four potential types of operating agencies that could run the current Sherwood Family YMCA (including the YMCA) if the city decided to go with a different operator for the facility.

On Tuesday, the city released its Recreation and Aquatic Center report, conducted by Ballad King & Associates Ltd., which looked at possible management and operations options for the future of the city-owned community center that has been run by the YMCA of Columbia-Willamette since 1998.

Among them are: Having the YMCA continue to operate the facility, turning those operations over to the city, selecting a special parks and recreation district to run the center or going to a private operator to provide services.

"I think there's a lot of good information in the report," City Manager Joe Gall said of the 100-page document. "Nothing in the report is really a shock to me."

The study will be discussed during a work session with the Sherwood City Council on Tuesday.

Gall said the consultant made some assumptions "basically comparing apples to apples" in its analysis.

However, he pointed out there are no exact operating costs in the report reflecting what it would cost to have a parks and recreation district or a private operator run the facility. Those specifics would have to be obtained through a request for proposal asking such agencies to list those numbers.

"They make some assumptions but you really don't know what it will cost until you have a proposal," he said of the $31,000 study.

Although one of the possible operators mentioned in the consultant's report is the city, such a takeover would be more expensive.

"The cost of operating and maintain(ing) the Sherwood Recreation and Aquatic Center is anticipated to be higher than YMCA operation and this does not include any long-term capital improvements … or internal city administrative service charges," the consultant wrote.

"For me, from a city manager standpoint … it's not a very good financial picture for the city to do it," Gall said. "That will be discussed at length next week."

Gall noted the reason for higher costs for a city-run recreation center is the fact they would be having city employees on staff and costs associated with paying into the Public Employee Retirement System, also known as PERS.

If the city did go out for a request for proposal, Gall said it would need to ask the very specific questions such as what it would charge the city to manage and operate such a facility.

Gall said YMCA officials have told him they are prepared to put a proposal together for the city as well.

The consultant provided extensive information regarding the YMCA, whose contract with the city expires in October 2018, including:

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  • There are approximately 9,000 members that use the facility (this includes older members belonging to the SilverSneakers and Silver and Fit).

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  • The facility had actual revenues of $2.47 million in 2016 with the greatest source coming from memberships. However, there has been a steady decline in membership, and in turn membership revenue, between 2009 and 2014.

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  • There are eleven full-time staff members with the consultant pointing out YMCAs are known for "having a lean staffing model for operations and programming."

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  • The city spends $8,000 each year for grounds maintenance and $17,000 on building and property insurance.

    The consultant suggested in several portions of the report that in order to maintain a stronger market presence, capital improvements to the facility would be needed in the future.

    Gall pointed out the city of Wilsonville previously went through a request for proposal process for a planned aquatic and recreation center, selecting a firm out of Florida to operate it before an actual building was constructed.

    However, Wilsonville residents in November overwhelmingly turned down the "sprawling complex with multiple pools, indoor recreation and meeting spaces, the estimated price tag of as much as $35 million dollars, paid for with a bond, would (have) cost the average ($400,000) homeowner about $235 in additional taxes annually," the Wilsonville Spokesman reported.

    The city needs to make a decision on the ultimate operator for the recreation facility by Oct. 31 because both the city and YMCA need to give a year's notice if either decides it doesn't want to renew the contract.

    Gall said all the potential options for the future operation of the YMCA will be discussed during a work session with a Ballad King & Associates Ltd. consultant from 6 to 7 p.m. at Sherwood City Hall on Tuesday.

    Although work sessions are open to the public, no public testimony is accepted and the council can take no vote nor make any formal decisions during the meeting.