Think of it as a municipal government version of bowling for dollars.
Langford has struck a deal with the private operator of Langford Lanes that will see the city pay for about $398, 000 worth of building improvements in exchange for a larger share of the bowling operation's gross revenues.
"It's a great deal for us, long term," said Mayor Stew Young. "It guarantees the taxpayer, no matter what politician is in, a revenue stream. So when they the bowling revenues grow, we grow. "
Under the original operating agreement, the operator, Planex Development Corp. doing business as Langford Lanes, was responsible for the almost $400, 000 cost of what were considered tenant improvements.
But after looking at receipts and projected revenues, city staff proposed instead to amend the agreement so the city would cover the cost of the improvements in exchange for a two per cent boost in the city’s share of gross revenues, to 14 per cent from the current 12 per cent.
The operator agreed.
City staff estimate that based on existing annual gross revenues of $2.5 million, the additional two per cent would be equivalent to $50, 000 — enough to cover the additional capital costs and interest in eight years.
"Once the tenant improvements are paid, the city would continue to net additional revenue for the balance of the contract term — an estimated $550, 000 over 11 years," the staff report said.
"The risk of permanent decline in revenue is deemed to be small given the level of activity to date, the opportunities for revenue enhancement being contemplated by the operator and the professionalism shown by the operator thus far," the report said.
"What I'm looking for is long-term revenue streams, so I get rent and a share of their revenue," Young said.
The 20-lane Langford Lanes 10-pin bowling facility is part of the citys City Centre Park entertainment complex, which has a 400-seat NHL-size ice rink, a restaurant and party rooms, outdoor ice skating, a dry-floor arena, miniature golf, play zone, splash park, fitness centre, trails, bike rentals and playing fields.
Young said Langford receives inquiries from across the country about its recreation facilities at City Centre.
"I want some sort of private-sector mix where a business down there makes money and they give us a percentage of the food, the alcohol — everything," Young said.
The idea, he said, is to eliminate the need for a taxpayer subsidy of the facilities.
"The model works good but we are new at it and we are trying to wiggle and waggle and make it good for us and good for them."
Young said the recreational facilities — operated through public-private partnerships — are a great deal for taxpayers, unlike the publicly funded Juan de Fuca recreation complex.
"Juan de Fuca costs Langford taxpayers $2.4 million a year in subsidy. Thats a huge cost to our taxpayers. Down there at City Centre, to run all those facilities costs taxpayers about $150, 000 a year, "Young said.