Opinion: Looking at the tennis center budget

Dennis Dill

This is a response to the May 26 article in which it was insinuated that making the Seal Beach Tennis Center a public facility would diminish their so-called $75,000 deficit.
Firstly, it is a public center and the public can play virtually any time that they would so desire.
The members’ club at the center contributes approximately $200,000 a year to the maintenance and well being of the facility. Eliminating the club at the facility would grow the deficit to $275,000.
Club membership has not grown since the city took over managing the tennis center. Club membership has plummeted since the city keeps taking away amenities take would attract additional dues playing members.
The city shut down the sauna since it was a liability, the city shut down the jacuzzi because it also a liability and the city stopped serving food.
People want value for their money. The reason Los Caballeros Racquet club has nearly eight times the membership of the Seal Beach Tennis Center is that it has amenities.
Our city fathers are not in favor of putting a pool in the Seal Beach tennis center although it has the space to accommodate such an attraction because “it is too far from the rest of Seal Beach.”
Never mind that it would create tremendous synergy at the tennis center and is the facility is freeway close.
Getting back to the deficit, several years ago the city decided to put the tennis center out to bid again because the city manager and the operator of the tennis center weren’t getting along.
The city solicited bids, but strangely never opened the bids.
The city fathers in their infinite wisdom decided that the city would run the facility.
They appointed someone to run the facility for $60K per year.  Now, if my math is correct, then if they’re running a $75K deficit and you take $60K away this would only be a $15K deficit. Therefore, the membership could absorb the deficit by applying a slight increase to current dues.
If the city had opened the bids for the tennis center, they could have easily found a way to erase the deficit and dramatically increase membership and use.
You see, the unopened bids contained proposals from individuals who have impressive credentials in the tennis world.
One proposal was submitted by legendary college coach Peter Smith and his wife, who would run the facility with Pete Martin, who owns tennis shops in Southern California.
These individuals know tennis and would have made a huge success of the facility.
Getting back to the way the city runs the tennis center. The roofs in the gym and locker rooms have been leaking for at least ten years. The city fathers don’t seem to understand that rehabbing premises without first fixing the roof is useless.
People in Seal Beach are hard working and most people only have time to play at night. Yet, not all the courts at the center are lighted and the ones that are lit consumed tremendous amounts of energy due to the fact that the city has never performed an energy  survey. If they had performed a survey, they would find out that they could have lights on every court and also consume less energy.
To conclude, I’m sick of people criticizing things that don’t have the facts straight. If the city fathers do anything in their January review, they should at least have the facts right and realize that they are at the root of the problem.

Dennis Dill is a Seal Beach resident and has been a member of the Seal Beach Tennis Club for more than 20 years.