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Port Orchard officials will meet with Active Club users

The city of Port Orchard will schedule a meeting with representatives of all the groups using the city-owned Active Club as a meeting place to determine what rules need to be imposed and how much the groups can pay to rent the facility.

This discussion occurred after the city received news from the local Boys and Girls Club that it was not interested in taking over management of the facility in 2010, but instead would ask to do so in 2011.

One of the factors in this discussion was the presence of various groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, which could be perceived as having a negative influence on club members.

Since the Boys and Girls Club is postponing its request, that discussion is also deferred.

The matter was discussed at a city council work session on Tuesday night, at which time Public Works Director Mark Dorsey presented a proposal for a revised fee schedule and the establishment of certain guidelines.

This included three components — a strict prohibition of food preparation, a ban on animals (aside from service dogs) and an increase in fees.

Among the groups using the facility, many of whom attended Tuesday night, are those who interact over quilting, woodcarving, pets and parenting among other topics.

“There are a lot of groups here that play an important role in the community as a whole,” said Robert Zollna, a member of the Olympic Bird Fanciers. “To exclude any of them means they will have no other place to go.”

Cleanliness has become an issue. At a previous meeting, some building renters complained about large quantities of animal waste, which led to the proposed pet ban.

This led to a difference of opinion. While members of the bird group said they cleaned up after themselves, members of a quilting group indicated this was not so.

“We clean up after our birds,” said Olympic Bird Fanciers member Sue Marshall. “We should be able to have birds there, but maybe you should ban dogs.”

Councilman Fred Olin supports the animal ban, saying the animals do not need to attend the meeting in order for it to be productive.

“I’ve been to their meetings, and the birds just fly around,” he said. “There is no reason the birds have to actually be at the meeting, and their droppings are a health hazard.”

If these groups differ about their own responsibility, they all agree that the janitorial service at the building was inadequate.

One way to save money would be to pay the groups to clean up after themselves.

Dorsey disagrees with that assessment, saying Active Club janitorial service is provided by the same company that cleans city hall “and they do a great job.” 

The city of Port Orchard is looking to narrow a funding gap between what is earned by usage fees and the cost of operating the facility.

Dorsey submitted documentation that the building costs $21,009 a year to maintain, while fees collected add up to $10,781.

Raising the rates would close the gap, according to Dorsey.

Rental rates for the club are significantly lower than what is available at the adjacent Givens Center, which charges from $25 to $35 an hour.

The Active Club charges one-time users $25 for up to four hours and $50 for up to eight hours.

Regularly scheduled users pay $2 an hour.

Under the new structure, these fees would be doubled for 2010 and again in 2011 — for an eventual total of $8 an hour.

In both cases, senior groups get 50 percent off while youth groups are not charged.

All groups are assessed $75 for cleaning, although one-time groups will have the fee returned if they clean the building themselves.

According to county records, the building has a total of 8,520 square feet on two floors.

It is valued at $727,840, although the city does not pay any property taxes.

The record states the building was built in 1960, and was given to the city around that time under the caveat that it be used for youth programs.

“We can’t continue to operate this at a loss,” Dorsey said. “The fees need to be re-examined.”

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