Town’s Civic Center rental cost could increase

Published 6:49 pm Wednesday, August 16, 2017

BELHAVEN — The Town of Belhaven is looking into raising the cost to rent the Civic Center to help cover the costs of maintenance.

As of now, individuals and groups are charged a $250 fee to rent the West Pungo Street space. If the building is left in acceptable condition, the renters will get $150 back, as a security deposit of sorts.

Town Manager Woody Jarvis proposed the change at Monday night’s Board of Aldermen meeting.

Jarvis suggested keeping the upfront $250 fee the same, but changing the amount the Town is able to keep to $200, instead of the $100 it is now.

“There is a lot of upkeep on the building. We just, in the last two weeks, have had to replace one of the air conditioning units,” Jarvis explained. “The building could stand some maintenance work.”

Jarvis said that extra money would be put toward needed projects to maintain the Belhaven Civic Center.

Mayor Adam O’Neal, however, expressed his concerns with charging citizens more to rent the space.

“We live in a poor town, a town where people don’t have a lot of money,” O’Neal said. “We forget who owns the building. Guess who owns this building? The people of Belhaven own this building. … Why would we increase the fees on the taxpayers on their own building?”

Alderman Yvonne DeRuiz said she would like to see a rundown of the building’s maintenance expenses before making any decision on the matter.

The board members present agreed, and unanimously voted to table the discussion until a later meeting. Alderman Steve Carawan was absent. Any change to the rental fee is subject to the board’s approval.