Committee reviews rental policies
New fees for Opera House, Community Center
By John Faucher
The Village of Hortonville Public Facilities Committee is looking to restructure its rental guidelines and fees for the village’s Opera House and Community Center.
Village board referred the topic to the public facilities committee last month, at the request of staff who had concerns over the current structure and fees.
The committee met in the lower level of the Opera House Wednesday, Sept. 4.
Public Works Director Carl McCrary told the committee and board members, “It’s not good the way it is now. We want to clean up these rental rates (and guidelines). They’re so convoluted,” said McCrary.
He explained there have been ongoing problems with users not cleaning up after themselves, scheduling conflicts and people using the facilities during times they did not pay for in the agreement.
He also said some events that are held at the Opera House would be better suited for the Community Center for practical reasons and cost/labor considerations.
Deputy Clerk-Treasurer Nathan Treadwell said people will often rent the Opera House for Saturday.
“They come in on Friday later at night to do their set up, and not pay for it, and then they’ll come in on Sunday to clean up. Sometimes they don’t come in right away in the morning and we have another booking there,” said Treadwell.
That usually leads to the person with the booking becoming upset, village staff call-in time and expenses incurred not covered by the rental agreement.
“If I have to call in a guy to come in and clean up because someone didn’t, we lost money,” said McCrary. “We’ve lost money multiple times this year. We’re not in the business to lose money.”
The village has also seen conflicts occur when two different groups rent the upstairs and downstairs at the same time.
Full-day rentals only
There have been problems with a four-hour rental agreement that has been used for some bookings in the past.
Committee Chair Peter Olk asked for a group consensus on eliminating the four-hour block rental of the Opera House.
Treadwell noted that almost all four-hour rentals go beyond what was intended, and they can cause scheduling difficulties.
Trustee Shauna Strelow said, “I don’t agree with the four hours. You either rent it for the day or you don’t rent it in my opinion.”
The committee agreed.
They also reached a consensus that a one-day rental would consist of a timeline from 12:01 a.m. to midnight for the given day, and that certain events such as weddings would require an entire weekend rental.
They also considered combining the upstairs with the downstairs rentals. Treadwell felt combining the whole building would be the best option, rather than renting the upstairs, downstairs, or both.
Committee members talked about the way the Community Center is rented at the Municipal Services building. Currently the board meeting room and kitchen (can become a divided room) is rented out as one or the other.
The committee noted in the future they would also consider use of the community center as one entire space with the rule remaining that no food or drinks are allowed on the board meeting table.
They agreed non-resident pricing and resident pricing structures would remain for both buildings.
Rental fees for residents would be reduced as compared to non-residents.
Village President Jeanne Bellile said tax payer dollars are used to maintain the public facilities and therefore residents should pay less.
“That’s a perk for our residents,” said Bellile.
Committee members agreed.
Chairman Olk suggested staff consider some of the recommendations made by the committee; look at guidelines, price options and bring back suggestions for further consideration.