The Wilderman Group will continue to operate the Richmond Hill City Center in 2013 after a decision Tuesday from the Richmond Hill City Council.
The council approved 2-1 a new contract that requires the Charleston, S.C.-based management firm to take the hit should the City Center not break even in the coming year. Council member Van Hunter cast the nay vote, and council member Russ Carpenter was absent.
City Manager Chris Lovell said Wednesday the new stipulations include limiting the city’s contribution to the convention and meeting center to the roughly $140,000 of hotel/motel tax dollars it already receives. That limit means The Wilderman Group will now have to cover its own losses.
According to the city’s Finance Director Bob Whitmarsh, in 2012 the city has paid about $41,000 to subsidize the center not including hotel/motel tax or the cost of the building. In 2011 that number was roughly $178,000 and in 2010, the first year of operation, that number was about $229,000.
“If we can cut it off at ($140,000), we can guarantee the city, so to speak, that we’re not subsidizing the operation,” Lovell said. “Now we’re still paying for the building — there is no way out of that. The building is ours.”
Allowing city employees to use the facility for meetings and city business free of charge is also included in the stipulations, Lovell said. There will be guidelines to prevent abuse of the zero charge, he added.
Read more in the Dec. 22 edition of the News.