The Albertville City Council also approved a $10,000 payment at its early January meeting. The City of St. Michael approved its $10,000 portion in August 2012, and has already made the payment to the arena.
The $30,000 will go strictly to the maintenance and equipment needs of the facility, said Grant Fitch, arena manager. The school district and two cities jointly own the arena.
"Most rinks don't have cash flow each year," Fitch said. "As the building gets old, you're looking at repairs and a Zamboni, which a new one costs around $115,000." A Zamboni is a machine that is used to resurface ice.
The money will go into a "capital reserve" budget for the arena's maintenance and emergency facility needs, such as repairs.
"Obviously if rinks don't make enough money in their revenue and cash flow stream, they have a capital reserve built up for emergencies," Fitch explained.
Jim Behle, Superintendent of St. Michael-Albertville School District, said the board actually made the decision a year ago to find a way to fund the arena's maintenance, in addition to the money budgeted for ice time the school district buys for its teams.
"Instead of us coming up with the money as (the maintenance) is needed, it made more sense to put money aside each year," Behle said. He noted the Zamboni will need to be replaced in the next four years.
"Hockey budgets are such that they can't cover repairs," Behle said.
Fitch said it is not out of the ordinary for arena maintenance budgets to be funded this way.
"There's a lot of upkeep with rinks, and most rinks have some kind of general fund or some kind of funding from an outside source," Fitch said.
Fitch and Behle wanted to make it clear that the money would not fund a second sheet of ice or the expansion of the arena. Fitch said that is "a whole different thing," and the St. Michael-Albertville Youth Hockey Association is raising money for it.
"Looking at the second sheet of ice, the school board doesn't have funds for that," Behle said.
Controversy in the community over expanding the arena has continued for over a year. Last year, the Albertville City Council talked at length about how to fund a second sheet of ice. The school board also discussed the issue last year, citing a growing number of kids using the facility. The two cities went back to the drawing board in April 2011 to find funds for the expansion, since it appeared unlikely the school district would be able to contribute. That same month, the St. Michael City Council set a challenge to the youth association to raise $1 million for the expansion before the city commits to contributing. In May, the City of Albertville set the challenge at $600,000 for the association to raise before the city would contribute to the expansion.