If the city were to sell the Falliti Ice Arena, it would have to get at least $450,000 for the 30-year-old facility according to City Manager Jason Molino.
That base price would cover current debt on recent improvements to the facility, the Zamboni ice resurfacer as well as the cost of separating the HVAC and sewer line, which is shared with the Batavia Fire Department headquarters.
Councilwoman Patti Pacino, for one, doesn't think any investor will pay as much as $450,000 for a facility that old and attached to a municipal building. What's more, she's worried that once the building has new owners, they will be under no obligation to provide community services, such as hosting local hockey leagues and high school programs.
What if some day they wanted to turn it into a discotheque, or something else, she mused.
"That (loss of community use of the facility) frightens me," Pacino said.
Councilman Bill Cox (pictured) said he's pleased with how well things are going with the current management company, but doesn't think the city should own an ice arena.
"The ice arena is (a) great service and it’s enjoyed by people from throughout the county, but it’s not a vital service to the city," Cox said. "I believe we have to get out of areas that really aren't vital city services and involve private business."
Councilman Bob Bialkowski is all for selling the facility. He said he already received calls from local business people supporting the idea of selling it, wondering what the city was doing running an ice rink to begin with.
Technically, the city doesn't run it. For the past four seasons, a management company, Firland, has run the rink, and by all accounts, has done a good job. Firland has made all of its obligated payments to the city, totaling more than $160,000.
If the agreement were renewed -- which Firland wants to do -- the city could expect $400,000 from Firland over the next 11 years, enough to cover debt service, including the $75,000 still owed on the Zamboni machine.
If the city were to sell the facility, Molino said in a report, the sale price might only be four or five times current revenue, or between $300,000 and $400,000.
That's just a guess at this point. If the city were to get serious about selling the arena, a request for proposal would need to be written and an appraisal done -- a process that would cost the city thousands of dollars.
That cost scared off some council members from supporting the RFP process and by consensus, the council went along with a suggestion by Molino that the city generate a request for interest statement and float it around to potential buyers -- just to see if there is a market for the facility.
"It’s not every day that an ice rink goes on the market that’s 30 years old in a rural market like this," Molino said.
City Attorney George Van Nest also cautioned council members that finding a buyer could be difficult.
"There are going to be several strings attached, which is going to make it less attractive to a purchaser," Van Nest said.
Councilman Frank Ferrando said the currant arrangement with Firland seems to be working out well and from what he hears, hockey and ice skating are "booming" at Falleti.
"We need more booming kind of things happening in Batavia," Ferrando said. "I would hate to see us lose that just because we want to get rid of (the building)."