City councilors have endorsed a recommendation by staff to compensate Cody Rec Center members for two months of lost service this spring.
In a 7-0 vote May 19, the city council approved granting a two-month extension or refund to members who submit a request in writing before July 1.
The rec center has 3,787 active memberships, according to Jessica Reesy, customer service specialist.
People with annual memberships may either apply to receive a two-month membership extension at no extra cost or a refund check equivalent to a two-month membership rate.
Annual membership values vary depending on categories such as youth or adult, individual or couple age 65 and over, college student, active military and Park County resident. There are also corporate individual and family rates.
The city estimates a $15,000-$30,000 loss in revenue.
“Is there an industry standard out there to do this?” Diane Ballard.
Rick Manchester, parks and rec director, said the offer isn’t a requirement.
“It’s a goodwill gesture,” he said.
The rec center was shut down March 16 when all gyms in the state were closed by governor’s order due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Doors reopened May 15, and due to public health restrictions, admission has been restricted to members only.
For a city-subsidized facility, the refund offer adds additional financial challenges, especially as city leaders anticipate cutting 20% from the fiscal year 2020-2021 general fund budget.
Expressing hope many people will not ask for a refund, Manchester said some members have already indicated they would not accept the offer due to the resulting financial burden on the rec center.
“They understand the importance of the rec center and appreciate the value it brings to the community,” he said.
Many people with annual memberships pay the fee over 12 months by bank electronic fund transfer, Cindy Baker, city clerk, said.
For members seeking a two-month payback, Baker said it’s easier to generate checks than to make electronic adjustments, which would require manual input for hundreds of members.
“The more we mess with it, the more chance there is for human error,” she said.
The city has processed numerous checks already to refund people for prepaid classes and programs canceled during the closure.
Going forward, there’s a new, convenient way to register and pay for rec center memberships and programs – via computers and smartphones.
The city’s new parks and recreation management software is ready for use.
With CivicRec technology, people may sign up and pay for memberships, activities, classes, sports and youth leagues through a customer portal. They may also reserve community facilities such as the Cody Auditorium, Cody Club Room, parks, shelters and meeting rooms.