Bexley News

Jeffrey Mansion

No boost to rental revenue from event alcohol sales

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Revenue from rentals of Jeffrey Mansion, 165 N. Parkview Ave., is on pace to outperform projections for the year.

Not much of the increase, however, can be directly attributed to a policy that went into effect this year allowing alcohol to be served at events, Recreation Director Michael Price said.

"Events are booked in advance, and this alcohol policy wasn't in place until January," Price said at the Bexley Recreation Board's Aug. 7 meeting.

The Bexley Recreation and Parks Department initially had projected revenue from mansion rentals to total $52,000 for 2013. Through July, the mansion has brought in $41,696, versus $17,588 in 2012.

"Based on this, we have a rough estimate of $70,000 for the year," Price said.

Despite the higher revenue projections, mansion rentals are up by only three events this year -- 44 events in 2013, as compared to 41 events at the same time last year.

However, the Recreation and Parks Department has billed 228 hours so far this year, versus 159 hours at the same time last year -- a 43 percent increase.

Part of the reason for the increased hours is due to a new policy requiring renters to book the mansion for a minimum of three hours, as opposed to the previous two-hour minimum.

The rental rate also increased from $75 to $100 per hour.

"Add all of those things up and that will help explain the revenue increase," Price said.

Board members also discussed the possibility of the Recreation and Parks Department hiring an additional part-time staff member to oversee rental events at the mansion. The new position would pay $11,000 annually, the same hourly salary as the current, 20-hour-per-week position.

The current position has experienced a lot of turnover in recent years, and hiring an additional person would enable two staff members to divide their time covering events at the mansion and helping out in the adjacent park and at the Fourth of July celebration and other special events, Price said.

Hiring an additional part-time staff member also would save overtime costs that result when full-time staff members fill in for the current part-time staffer, he said. The part-time position pays $11 per hour, as opposed to $35 to $45 per hour in overtime costs, Price said.

"Every time we hire someone else, we also spend overtime training them" by having the new part-time person shadow full-time staff members at mansion events, Price said.

City Council and recreation board member Tim Madison asked if it would be possible to find an additional person to share the existing 20-hour-per-week position.

It could be difficult "to find someone who would want to work 10 hours a week," Price said.

The Recreation and Parks Department has enough money in its 2013 budget to hire an additional part-time employee without going before council for approval, Price said. Council would, however, have to allot more money for the additional staff member in next year's budget.

Price said he will compile a report for board members that will compare overtime costs in recent years and evaluate whether the cost of hiring an additional part-time person ultimately would save money.

In other business, the board adopted a policy formalizing the city's practice of allowing community and nonprofit organizations to rent the mansion for free. According to the policy, organizations have to be tax-exempt, the lessee must be a current Bexley resident and money raised by the organization must be used to "improve the lives of Bexley residents."

Board members agreed to evaluate how nonprofit groups are using the mansion for the next two to three years and determine in the future if the policy needs to be adjusted.

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