I am writing to express my displeasure in R.J. White's resolution to raise the Ben Avon borough hall's rental rates without any substantial data to back up the need for the increased cost.
The Ben Avon borough hall is a beautiful building with a great second floor hall that is seriously underutilized, even at the rates prior to the March 20 Ben Avon Council meeting. In the past four months, my family rented the second floor space twice, receiving many compliments on the venue as well as interest in possible future rentals. It was reasonably priced for the few amenities it offered. We made sure everything was cleaned up and in the same or better condition than when we started. How dare Mr. White imply that the residents of Ben Avon subsidized my family's events.
If, as Mr. White says is true, that it costs "$50 per day to maintain the building," and I paid $30 for less than half of a day, then I have more than paid for my share of the facility usage. There is no staff provided, no air conditioning, and minimal electrical and water usage. The kitchen area is outdated and parts of it either don't work or are dangerously in disrepair. But if all you need is an open floor plan for your activity, it is just the place for a small gathering.
Residents' tax dollars are already supporting the maintenance of the building. I am happy to pay a nominal fee for the use of the space (as I clearly did twice). But unless R. J. White and the other members of council can justify the 100 percent increase in costs to the residents (such as ADA compliance, upgraded kitchen facilities, air conditioning, etc.) I will no longer desire to rent the facility nor will I encourage neighbors to do so. If it is an issue of respecting the space, why not just request a refundable security deposit. With the limited functionality of the hall as it is now, I feel this rate increase is unjustifiable.
This is all so unfortunate as the rooms of the Ben Avon borough hall are the best kept rental secret. It is ideal for small gatherings and community events, just as a borough hall should be. I would think Ben Avon would find it beneficial to promote the usage of such a space to the neighborhood, instead of creating more obstacles to an already underutilized asset.
Jennifer H. Bett