Some local residents may already have seen the coverage in today’s Advertiser and Manchester Evening News about last year’s Pink Ice Rink fiasco. The operators North West Funfairs haven’t paid a £65000 bill to the Council and yet have been hired again for Bonfire Night at Buile Hill Park and given five years to repay the money.
Even more scandalous is the proposed cost of bringing the Pink Rink back for 2008. This was approved by Council Leader John Merry at his briefing on Monday, and the cost to the local taxpayer is obscene.
The total cost of bringing the Pink Rink back to Salford Civic Centre is a staggering £185087. The report suggests that this can be partly offset by sponsorship (£28000) and ticket sales (£37000) which leaves a shortfall of £119587 which will need to be picked up by the Council taxpayer.
In addition, the £28000 sponsorship money includes a pledge of £10000 from Urban Vision which is partly owned by the Council; the Council is effectively sponsoring itself which seems absolutely ludicrous. It’s even more unbelievable when Urban Vision reported a huge deficit in their budget to the Budget Scrutiny Committee only yesterday.
Councillor Merry also in the process of seeking sponsorship from Salix Homes which is 100% owned by Salford City Council. The other agreed sponsors are the Primary Care Trust and Greater Manchester Police Authority so the entirely of the £28000 sponsorship will be picked up by the taxpayer one way or another.
So between the budget shortfall and the “sponsorship” the total cost to the Salford taxpayer of the ice rink will be £147587 which is an obscene amount of money. I’ve no objection in principle to the ice rink but the costs would seem to far outweigh the benefits.