Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

October 23, 2012

Council approves ice rink contract

TAHLEQUAH — Tahlequah city councilors Monday night voted 3-1 to approve a contract with Tahlequah Skate House owner Dusty Fore to manage skaters during this year’s ice rink event.

Ward 2 Councilor Jack Spears was the lone vote against the contract.

Fore will be tasked with providing management and maintenance of all ice-skating operations throughout the downtown festival, including resurfacing the ice and providing an adult for all rink sessions. He will also be responsible for promoting the ice rink to schools, churches and others, and to provide a sound system for announcements and music.

Fore will receive 25 percent of the ticket sales for the event – last year, he received around $13,000 under the same agreement – and will have the rights to all merchandising sales, novelties and non-food items.

Through numerous donations amounting to tens of thousands of dollars, the city has been or will be able to purchase most of the ice-rink materials, skates, an ice-resurfacing machine, and a skate shack, helping to make the activity a yearly event.

In other matters, the council postponed action on a monetary agreement with the Ki Bois Area Transit System.

Tahlequah Mayor Jason Nichols told councilors the city has, for approximately 10 years, given an annual check to the transit system to help continue the transportation service in and around the city.

Nichols said the city provided $35,000 last year.

“This year, we could, of course, do that like we always do, but we would have to probably move a little money around to make that large of a contribution, so it would be maybe my recommendation that we do an amount of $25,000 or less, but it is entirely up to you all,” Nichols told councilors. “We could handle it administratively if you chose to go to that full amount.”

Ward 1 Councilor Diane Weston said the council requested monthly logs and other information from KATS last year.

“We asked for some information and sent them a few questions that they sent back some rather cryptic answers to,” Nichols said. “Last year, I can’t remember the questions, but there was one that [Weston] and I got a laugh out of that said something like, ‘How many passengers rode on such-and-such types of dates,’ and they said, ‘The north side of town.’ The answer made no sense.”

Weston said she is “a little hesitant” to make such a large financial agreement with “no accountability to it.”

“I support the KATS system,” said Weston. “I think it’s a great asset.”

Ward 3 Councilor Maurice Turney asked Nichols if he could request a copy of the system’s budget.

“I believe it would fall ... under the Freedom of Information Act, at the very least, and since they operate in the state, probably open records as well,” said Nichols. “Surely it is a public document, so I can ask for that.”

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