Norwich ice rink budget passes; surplus expected

Norwich - The Ice Rink Authority unanimously approved a 2012-13 budget Tuesday with a $9,100 expected surplus - lower than officials had hoped, but a sharp turnaround from the $120,247 deficit the rink saw in the fiscal year that ended in June.

New authority Chairman Francois "Pete" Desaulniers said the budget did not "hit the target" he had hoped for - a 15 percent profit to start paying back the city debt and build a capital reserve - but additional revenues might be realized in the coming weeks not yet shown in the budget.

The new budget, which reflects increased fees to hockey and figure skating groups renting the rink by the hour and the increased popularity of summer learn-to-skate camps, shows a $34,000 expected increase in revenues with a nearly $100,000 drop in expenses. Staffing cuts saved $82,000; utilities costs dropped nearly $27,000.

Some staffing costs did increase, however. The rink added a hockey director for $20,000 and increased the budget for referees by $7,000.

Rink Manager Mia Sanca said the rink will be placed in a different utility rate category, saving significant dollars. She reviewed several other categories where the rink is saving money, including joining with the city on bulk purchases and obtaining a city gas card for discount prices.

New authority member Patrice Jaskiewicz said she would prefer creating a new line item in the budget with an amount dedicated to paying something to the city to start erasing a $261,000 debt that has accumulated over the years.

Desaulniers cautioned about putting an amount into that line item too soon, pointing out that any budget profit at the end of the year would go to the city. But Desaulniers agreed with Jaskiewicz that having a line item would show that the authority is working toward paying off the debt.


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