The Oak Ballroom and the Schuyler Municipal Swimming Pool are in a combined deficit of over $75,000 this year.
The pool did not open due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so it had limited expenses, but the City of Schuyler had less available Keno money to transfer to cover the expenses.
Last year during budget talks, city officials said they would transfer $65,000 if the two were short that amount. This year, the Keno fund balance was just over $65,000.
“I would really hate to see us transfer that whole amount and leave our account with nothing in it,” City Clerk Lora Johnson said at a Sept. 1 City Council meeting. “Not knowing what we’re going to receive this year, I would like to be able to see you guys still give your regular donations to different organizations that come requesting donations.”
Typically, the City gives Keno monies to organizations that request it, such as the senior center.
The Oak Ballroom is in a deficit of over $66,000 and the pool is in a deficit of over $9,000.
“More of (the money transferred) will go to the ballroom because they have more of a shortage than the pool does,” Johnson said. “The pool didn’t even have $10,000 short.”
The Oak Ballroom is in an about normal deficit this year, estimated Johnson, and Schuyler Municipal Pool’s deficit is smaller.
“I think $20,000 would be probably more appropriate,” Johnson said. “We are just not seeing the money that we saw pre-COVID.”
The money was transferred into the general account for use to pay bills for both the pool and the Oak Ballroom.
The Sun reported in July that there was a decrease in Keno funds. In fiscal year 2018-2019, the City took in $17,037.18 in Keno funds for the second quarter. Second-quarter this year -- fiscal year 2019-2020 -- the City only took in $2,222.98, a drop of 87%.
Sandi Bourn, manager of the Oak Ballroom, said there was less revenue coming in because the facility was shut down during COVID. It has been frustrating, she noted.
“We have a wedding coming up this weekend,” Bourn said on Aug. 10. “Things are starting to open up now more, where we can start having our events again now.”
Although Colfax County moved to Phase 4 of Directed Health Measures on Monday Johnson said it probably won’t help a lot.
Under Phase 4, gatherings can take place with 100% of an outdoor venue's capacity and 75% of indoor venue's capacity.
The current fiscal year will conclude at the end of September.
“You know at this point we only have a month left or a couple weeks left,” Johnson said. “I know our first event is going on this weekend. So we have three weekends where we’ll be able to have some events but three weekends probably won’t help a lot.”
Carolyn Komatsoulis is a reporter for the Schuyler Sun. Reach her via email at email@example.com.
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