On the heels of a park rental fee schedule in Garland, a similar fee for use of the park’s concession stand has been approved by the town board.
“We had already approved the park rental fee schedule,” said Mayor Winifred Murphy. “This is for vendors, if they want to use the concession stand. This is only a draft, for the building itself.”
Commissioner Matthew Register made a motion to adopt the concession stand rental, which is $100 per event, plus 15 percent of the receipts. Concessions for vendors will be assessed a $50 fee per event and $25 per week for non-event times. The vote by the Garland Board of Commissioners was unanimous.
The town board implemented a park rental fee schedule in October with the aim of offsetting needed maintenance and upkeep at the park, while ensuring the facilities can be kept to a standard that would promote future use. Such rental fees for the park, fields and the concession stand were considered for months. While the park fees were approved in principal in October, the board held off on concession fees until this month.
Murphy said the goal is to simply “break even” and improve the facilities little by little.
“We want to continue to be able to improve this field and maintain it, but we can’t do that without generating some revenue,” Murphy has said. “We’ve got to get this field going so that we can enjoy it, the kids can enjoy it and families can enjoy it. We are not trying to make a profit, we are just trying to break even. We need to generate some funds.”
The funds would assist in purchasing needed equipment and accessories, including picnic tables, shelters and soccer nets.
According to the draft approved in October, field rentals (hourly rate, eight hour maximum) would be $20 for baseball, softball and soccer for in-town residents, and $40 for non-residents. Long-term rentals (six hours per week, 3 month maximum) would be $40 per week for baseball, softball and soccer fields and $25 per week for open space.
The town wanted to encourage activity at the park, but also needed to generate funds from regular users for maintenance and upkeep. Board members agreed that there should be no charges for a group of children who spontaneously go to the park and play a pick-up game. However, if it is teams, especially leagues who regularly use the facilities, they should be subjected to those fees, board members said.
The approved draft states that half the fees are due as a security deposit upon reservation. Groups are responsible for cleaning trash and ensuring that the park is in good condition. A $50 cleanup fee will be assessed for each time the park is not cleaned and priority will be given to agencies located inside the Garland town limits, the approved fee schedule states.
All rates are doubled for profit events. Groups charging admission to events will be required to verify their receipts and remit 15 percent of the receipts to the town of Garland in addition to the rental fees. No group will be allowed to charge entry fees without approval prior to renting a facility, even those under long-term agreements.
Attorney Joel Starling spoke to Garland town officials about the bid process for paving, a project the board previously discussed and agreed to bid out last month.
Starling talked about formal bidding processes, through which projects were advertised and sealed bids accepted. A minimum of one week had to be allowed, with a minimum requirement of three bids. Statute states that the award goes to the “lowest, responsible bidder,” Starling said, noting the board was not required to take the lowest bid.
However, that formal bid process was not a must with the Garland paving project, which the attorney said fell in the $30,000 to $500,000 cost category and could be subjected to a more informal bidding if the board wished.
Under that informal bidding process, Starling said, it was not a requirement that the project bidding be advertised or that a minimum number of bids be received. It is additionally not required that the bids be sealed, but the bids must be recorded and not disclosed publicly until after the bid process is over, he noted. The board also does not have to award the contract.
“You have the right to reject any and all bids,” he told the board. “You could get five bids and reject every single one of them. You have the right to do that.”
The board could follow either process.
“The standard is the same as the lowest, responsible bidder, not necessarily the lowest bidder,” Starling noted. “If you chose to do so, you could always elect to voluntarily follow the formal bidding process even though your project amount if less than the half a million dollar threshold. When you do that, if you do it, you have to stick to it … just as if your contract price was over the threshold amount. With the informal bidding process, it’s more flexible and less expensive to the town.”
Commissioner Ralph Smith said he felt the informal bidding process would be acceptable. Register did state that the town should get as many bids as it could. The board ultimately chose to go forward with an informal bid process, but adding the stipulations that the town will advertise the project and a minimum of three bids are to be received. Those bids will be sealed.
“You’re going to get more than three anyway,” said Register.
The board agreed to advertise the bid process and accept bids through January, opening them up at the board’s February meeting.
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.