City to continue to outsource concessions

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A test to lease out concessions during the summer recreation season has proven successful, and the benefits of doing so outweigh the burdens of providing those services themselves, City of Minden officials say.

Mayor Tommy Davis says even if they break even, it’s been successful in that it’s alleviated the headache of providing the services themselves.

“As far as actual cash coming in and out, it’s been a break even deal,” he said. “When you consider the expenses that we have, (concessions have)
actually been a losing proposition. With anything we do, for instance, the concessions test that we’ve had, it’s been a profit-making deal for us instead of a loss. It’s worked very well for the city, and I think the patrons and the visitors at the rec center have liked it too, because there’s been a bigger variety of food offered.”

City Clerk Michael Fluhr says the test phase began April 1. Party Express leased the space at the ball parks at the rec center to provide concessions during spring and summer sports. The city still provides concessions inside the building at the swimming pool area and during the basketball season, Davis said.

Overall, Fluhr says, it’s cheaper to do it this way.

“You have the concession workers, you have to have a certain amount, whatever comes along when you run a business,” Fluhr said. “For example, somebody has to run to Shreveport to do the shopping and so on. We discovered in the testing phase that we have at the moment, it probably works out better to outsource the concession stands.”

The test phase will end Oct. 31. The city has already been running a request for proposals to outsource the concessions, and the RFP calls for a minimum of $1,000 per month “for concession rights and privileges” plus a six percent charge on any monthly proceeds exceeding $16,500 of gross receipts.

In the fiscal year 2013-14, Fluhr says $56,156.98 was spent on concessions alone. This does not include the salaries or what is paid to concession workers. This is only the cost to run concessions. They spent a total of $1,218,467.09 on recreation, which includes salaries, repairs and everything it takes to run the city’s recreation department.

Revenue for the fiscal year 2013-14 was $81,392.93 for concessions. The total revenue for parks and recreation was $128,402.93.
In that fiscal year, parks and recreation accounted for 17 percent of the city’s total expenses, according to the financial audit ending Sept. 30, 2014. The city’s biggest expense is public safety, accounting for 35 percent of the city’s total expenses. General government was at 26 percent, sanitation and health, 7 percent and highways and streets at 9 percent. Public works accounts for 5 percent.

“I thought it would work well from the beginning, because I knew that even if we broke even, we would be better off,” Davis said. “We’re going to do more than break even, because we’re actually going to have some income from it for the city.”

Davis says the income generated from the lease agreement will go to the general fund, that it is not earmarked for anything.

The RFP is open for anyone, Davis and Fluhr say. RFP packages may be found at www.mindenusa.com. Bids will be opened August 21, at 2 p.m. in the Cypress Room at Minden City Hall, located at 520 Broadway. Results will be read aloud.

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