Delaware News

Delaware takes new look at YMCA partnership

'Hiccups' during first two years will smooth out in 2014, city leaders say


Delaware City Council is considering an ordinance that would authorize City Manager Tom Homan to extend the city's contract with the Central Ohio YMCA to continue providing management services for the city's parks and recreation department.

Delaware has partnered with the YMCA for the past two years, and though Homan said there have been some issues along the way, he feels it's a worthwhile venture.

"It's been a new partnership for both of us," he said during council's meeting Monday, Nov. 25. "We've had some hiccups, but I think year three will be even better. Hopefully next year I can recommend more than a one-year renewal."

Homan said that in the "improved" contract for 2014, there are changes to customer service and "greater accountability."

The YMCA operated at a $25,000 deficit locally during 2013's partnership, a number that Executive Director Matt Bruns said will be improve in 2014.

"We're confident that we've got some ways to be a little more efficient," he said.

Third Ward council member Joe DiGenova said he had concerns over the YMCA's money issues and whether the expenses were worth it for city residents who may or may not be taking advantage of the Y's facilities on Houk Road. The 2014 renewal cost would be about $187,000.

"They're already paying for a levy," DiGenova said. "It seems like the cash register keeps going up for our citizens ... I have to answer these questions from my constituents when they call me."

But Fourth Ward council member Andrew Brush said the expenses were minimal and the program is well worth funding.

"While this is an expense, we would be spending less money than doing this in-house," he said. "I think the YMCA is an organization better-equipped to render these services with the city ... With two years under our belt, I think we can start working out the kinks."

Council aims to make a decision at its next meeting; in the meantime, Bruns promised communication and honesty.

"I'll be as transparent as possible," he said. "I'm a resident of the city, and I want the partnership to work for the city. But if it doesn't work, it doesn't work. I hope it does."