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Bedford considers budget cutting options
Sale of Morgan Community Center may be part of cost-saving plan
, Courier Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 17, 2013 10:00 AM
Budgets cuts need to be made in Bedford over the next year, and one of those cuts may be the city's community center building.
Mayor Russell Clifton told commissioners during a meeting Monday that he plans to research the actual costs to operate and maintain the Morgan Community Center during the first few months of the new year.
"I strongly feel like the community center is breaking the city," Clifton said.
The 20-year-old building was built to help the city draw in revenue, but that hasn't been the case. City attorney Genon Hensley said the building was projected to bring in nearly $400,000 a year in rental revenue when it was built.
That never happened.
While the community likes and supports the building, most of the rent revenues come from businesses and people from out-of-town, Clifton said. Rental revenues do well to pay for the heating or cooling and cleaning costs when someone rents the city's building.
"I'm sure you're going to be shocked at what the heating and lights (for the building) cost," Clifton told commissioners.
Clifton mentioned the community center may need to be sold, and commissioners should be prepared to make some kind of decision after reports and costs for the building are compiled.
Hensley said the community will most likely want to look over the reports before a "for sale" sign appears in front of the building, if it comes to that.
"The community is going to want to know," she said. "This is kind of a shocking thing."
She encouraged the commission to have all documents and numbers ready before a decision is made.
"I think the numbers are out there," Hensley said. "We just have to show it."
Clifton asked commissioners to begin thinking of another building that could possibly serve as Bedford's city hall and cut operating and maintenance costs for the city.
"We know it's been a problem for several years," Clifton said of the building. "We know it's going to start costing major money."
Commissioner Harold Greene said the building had been poorly constructed years ago, and the quality of construction has begun to show through the heating and cooling costs.
"I've always said down the road this place is going to have to go," he said.
Clifton hopes to have more information about the costs of the building for the commission early next year.
"It's simply financial," Clifton said.
Also during the meeting, commissioners voted to make a change to the garbage contract awarded to Republic Services last month. Commissioners decided to accept the cheaper option of $6.83 per month per unit with a garbage container provided by Republic Services.
Residents will pay $75 a year under the agreement.
This option will cost the city $1,000 less over the next year than the more expensive option of $7.19 per month per unit that the city approved last month, Commissioner Frank Floyd said.
Each of the city's 250 residential properties will receive a garbage container by the first day of trash pick-up by Republic Services.
The first day of trash pick-up in the new year will be Jan. 10.
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