Horse center to get advisory panel

Committee will inform town council on facility's expenses, functioning

July 22, 1999|By Erika Niedowski | Erika Niedowski,SUN STAFF

In another effort to improve operations at the Columbia Horse Center, the Columbia Council plans to discuss tonight the formation of a committee that will advise council members on policies, programs and expenditures at the facility.

The idea for the advisory committee came out of a protracted debate this year over the finances and operations of the horse center, which offers lessons, boarding, horse shows and therapeutic riding for the disabled.

The Columbia Association Horse Center Advisory Committee will consist of 10 members serving staggered two-year terms, according to the group's proposed charter. Five members will represent the "general interest" of the facility, two will focus on the lesson program and one each will address teen-age users, boarding and horse shows.

Rob Goldman, Columbia Association vice president for membership services (the division overseeing the horse center), and Kaye McCally, the center's general manager, will serve as the committee's nonvoting members.

The committee will "help us think progressively about what we want this facility to become in the future," said Deborah O. McCarty, the association president. "Like anything else, 10 heads are better than two or three."

Some Columbia Council members questioned whether residents should be subsidizing a facility used primarily by nonresidents that has lost more than $350,000 in the last three fiscal years.

To address those concerns, Goldman devised a long-term plan for the center, in which the facility would break even after six years through a combination of rate increases, program expansions and stepped-up marketing.

Committee applications will be available at the horse center, on 88 acres off Gorman Road. Meetings will be held on a quarterly basis in March, June, September and December.

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