North Ogden city officials goofed when it came to raising the rates for city residents to use its senior center for events. After rentals at the North View Senior Center were raised from $150 to $300 for city residents -- and $500 for nonresidents -- the once-bustling center became a virtual ghost town on rental activity nights.
To city administrators' and the council's credit, the mistake has been rectified, at least for city residents who want to use the senior center for an activity. The original rental fee of $150 an event will be restored, while the $500 fee will remain for out-of-towners.
City officials learned an important lesson: A slow economy, in most cases, is not given a shot of adrenaline when fees are raised. That just makes it tougher for those who might want to rent the building, but are also dealing with tighter budgets and smaller wallets.
The situation reminds us in part of a generation ago when the U.S.. government sought to "raise fees" by placing extra costs -- via taxes -- on the purchase of luxury boats. That "luxury tax" was later undone when persons stopped buying boats and the end result was those employed in the boat industry lost their jobs. Here's what occurred in North Ogden as a result of the senior center rental rates increase: In 2010, the city earned $6,500 in rentals from the center but this year -- so far -- only $2,000 has been garnered in rentals. The loss occurred despite North Ogden's raising the rates after comparing rental rates in other cities.
Debbie Cardenas, the city's finance director, was on the money when she said, "We are projecting that if we go back to the old rates, we will make that money back."
We're sure that Ms. Cardenas is right, and we hope that the center regains its status as a place for activities and events in North Ogden city.