1,900 Games pretzels feed budget

Soldotna gets a boost from winter concessions

Posted: Friday, May 26, 2006

Eight hundred hot dogs, 1,900 pretzels with cheese and 200 pounds of popcorn sold during the Arctic Winter Games brought a bit of a windfall to Soldotna city coffers.

Though it doesn’t leave much of a footprint when positioned alongside the $10 million city budget approved by the city council Wednesday, a $2,578 check presented to the city made an impression.

The check represented the agreed-upon 10 percent the city gets from concession net sales at the Soldotna Sports Center.

Soldotna High School, which operates the concession stand at the city sports hall, reported earnings that were more than double this year, thanks in large part to the Games.

The operation’s $36,207 in gross sales for the year included $17,649 during the week of the Games, March 5 to 11, according to Stuart Laurion, vocational coordinator for special services at SoHi and concession manager.

Of the $14,090 that came back to the high school as profit, Laurion said $6,443 is being used to convert the photo lab to digital. The school purchased 15 digital cameras plus memory cards, card readers and a locking cabinet for the equipment.

The concession profits also enabled the school to spend $6,760 on a new public address system for the football field between SoHi and Soldotna Middle School.

Laurion told the council the concession operation averages $6,000 per year for the school, and the stand has brought as much as $8,000 three years in a row.

“The Arctic Winter Games made this year the best ever,” he said.

Following a $192,000 adjustment by City Manager Tom Boedeker, the council approved the $10 million budget for fiscal year 2007, which begins July 1.

In a memo to the council, Boedeker said the state is providing $192,576 to the city to defray energy cost increases and other costs.

He proposed adding that amount to the budget, which “would create a budget that is not in deficit spending, but rather would have $76,827 more in estimated revenues than the requested expenditures.”

The amendment and the 2007 budget were approved unanimously.

Mayor Dave Carey asked if the city budget includes $40,000 in Gov. Frank Murkowski’s budget earmarked for a veterans memorial in Soldotna.

Boedeker said it does not.

“I find it is better to wait until the bird is in the hand,” Boedeker said, adding the money has not yet been received by the city.

He said earlier the $40,000 could be used for a veterans memorial in a city cemetery when one is eventually put in, or it could be used to erect a veterans memorial in one of the city’s parks.

The council also approved rezoning a lot in the Parkwood Subdivision from single-family, two-family to a multifamily residential district.

The change would facilitate the Soldotna Senior Citizens Center’s plan to build an eight-unit independent senior housing project.

Senior center Director Jan Fena said ground could be broken as early as September and the units could be available for occupancy within a year.

Parks and Recreation Director Andrew Carmichael presented a list of riverbank restoration projects for consideration by the council and received permission to pursue grant funding for the first two of seven proposals.

One project would link Centennial Campground with the Soldotna Visitors Center with a walking trail and the other would create a bridge underpass walkway beneath the new Sterling Highway bridge being built across the Kenai River.

Carmichael also announced that, due to extremely dry conditions, no open burning will be allowed in Centennial Park during the Memorial Day weekend.

“It’s just too dry and we still have a lot of brush down,” Carmichael said.

Campers and picnickers will be allowed to cook on stoves such as Colemans, but will not be allowed to cook over open fires, he said.

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