Last week, when the City Council unanimously approved its final budget for Fiscal Year 2011-12 at $47,674,147, while at the same time lowering the millage rate to 2.1038, local leaders again demonstrated their commitment to financial viability.
At the same time, the council also reiterated its commitment to its citizenry to provide a high level of service and amenities to the community. In approving a number of agenda items, which significantly increases the amount of fitness classes being offered at the Sanibel Recreation Center, the city has essentially claimed that the four-year-old facility is not only financially stable, but it has become the island's centerpiece many hoped it would become.
While there were many skeptics to the city investing $14.6 million to construct the 86,000-suare-foot, state-of-the-art community complex, during its tenure the facility has drawn a substantial number of islanders as full-time members despite a significant seasonal resident presence.
Over the past few years, the Rec Center not only has expanded its hours of operation and staff, but the number of services, programs, special events and classes offered there. All without a significant increase in membership or visitor user fees.
Prior to adopting next year's budget, councilors approved agreements with three separate vendors - Fitness By Meta, Inc., Kristine Brown and Carolyn Cooper d/b/a Flex Appeal Personal Training - to provide a number of new fitness programs at the city facility. Among the programs to be offered include cycling, land aerobics, bosu and ball fitness, zumba, pilates and yoga.
In total, these contracts will not exceed $91,595.
On the surface, such an expense may appear to be excessive. But for the amount of people currently using the facility on a regular (daily and weekly) basis, and a projected increase in membership due to the additional programs being offered at the facility, the approved contracts may soon be considered a bargain.
We applaud the city for making the financial commitment to improve and increase fitness programs at the Sanibel Recreation Center, and hope our readers - as well as the community at large - supports this initiative.
- Reporter editorial