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Bel Air planning Armory rental rate increases

Bel Air town officials are planning across-the-board increases in rental rates for the popular Armory.

A proposed new rate schedule was introduced via a resolution at the most recent town meeting on Aug. 21 and will have a public hearing on Sept. 5 at 7:30 p.m. The Board of Town Commissioners is likely to act on the resolution that evening.

The new rate schedule was put together following a commissioners retreat at the Armory earlier this summer.

There have been ongoing concerns among town officials that the Armory, which is in use most weekends and also for frequent weekday events, costs the town more to operate and maintain than it produces in revenue.

In introducing the proposed new fee schedule, town Director of Administration Michael Krantz explained that some charges, such as for security and custodial services, will be left up to the town to decide on a case-by-case basis.

The base daily rental rates will be increased by $100.

A non-profit or government entity using the building Monday through Friday would pay $400 daily for up to eight hours; the daily rental for Friday through Sunday would be $600 each day. The rates for businesses or individuals would be $700 and $900, respectively.

It the daily event exceeds eight hours, there will be a charge of $75 for each additional hour for a nonprofit and $150 per hour for a business or individual using the facility.

For less than full-day use, the nonprofit hourly rate will be $75 for a minimum of four hours — an increase from $50, and the hourly rate for a business or individual will be $113 — an increase from $88.

Businesses and individuals that rent the Armory are eligible for a 10 percent discount if they own property within the town.

Rates to use the Armory’s kitchen during an event will be $200 for full use, such as baking and/or cooking, and $100 for limited use, such as warming and prep. There is no charge for ice and water.

“Fees are waived for town sponsored events, non-profit holding events where at least 80 percent of the profits go to the Town of Bel Air for Town projects/facilities,” the resolution states.

The resolution also states the town reserves the right to require security at the lessee’s expense and the chief of police will approve and/or assign the event security staff.

“If Town of Bel Air Police officers or Bel Air Police Auxiliary are utilized, the cost will be assessed based upon the actual cost to the town, including, but not limited to salaries, wages, benefits, materials, supplies, signage, etc.,” the resolution states.

The resolution also authorizes the town administrator to negotiate long-term leases at appropriate rental rates.

The Frederick Ward Park next to the armory cannot be rented; however, the resolution encourages its use by lessees “for the benefit of the community and the general public.”

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