It’s time once again for city council to review rates and policies tied to renting city buildings

Published 12:01 am Saturday, September 13, 2014

Memorial Stadium is a huge asset to for the City of Selma; not just on the balance sheet but what it means and could mean for the city.

For years, we have seen the number of events at the stadium grow.

We have seen the city use the stadium to lure state track championships, concerts and even a fireworks show. During the fall, the stadium is busy nearly every weekend, hosting youth, high school and college football games.

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On some weeks, the stadium draws thousands to events.

But, there is a growing belief the city is not charging what it should to those who use the stadium.

For just a $400 charge, schools and organizations get a huge, quality facility to use. While the city receives only that small rent, the organizations normally keep all of the revenue from admission, concessions and any other charges. But, the city is the one usually left holding the bill.

In 2011, when the city council was reviewing the rental rates of the stadium, which at that point, was just $250, Parks and Recreation Department director Elton Reece told council members the costs of stadium preparation and electricity ranged from $1,000 to $1,500.

During the recent budget hearing, Selma Mayor George Evans challenged the council to again review the rates, suggestion the rates should be increased to reduce any losses the city experiences.

With all of the numbers out in the open, we would agree with Evans and others. The rates for the stadium, and other city buildings, should be set to the point where the city does not lose money in their operation.

We often challenge our governments to operate like a business. In this case, we can’t think of any business who would continue to lose money like this.