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Sonoma County shifts vets hall management to nonprofits

  • 9/20/2005: B1: A flea market takes up most of the parking lot at the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Hall.
    PC: Secondary 3 of 3 -- At the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Hall a flea market takes up most of the parking lot at the facility Sunday September 18, 2005. (Press Democrat/ Kent Porter)

Sonoma County supervisors voted Tuesday to turn over management of four veterans buildings to two nonprofit groups, a move that is anticipated to save the county hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Veterans buildings in Santa Rosa, Petaluma and Cotati will be operated by United Camps, Conferences and Retreats, a Petaluma-based nonprofit that runs recreational sites in Northern California.

The Guerneville gathering hall will be run by River to Coast Children's Services, which is based in Guerneville.

Supervisor David Rabbitt said prior to the board's unanimous vote Tuesday that ideally the county would maintain control of the buildings.

"But of course, money is an issue," he said.

County officials say shifting management of the four facilities to the nonprofit groups will save the county $330,622 this budget year.

United Camps was granted a five-year agreement to operate the Santa Rosa, Petaluma and Cotati facilities with an option to extend the agreement for another five years.

The county will pay a concessionaire's fee to the nonprofit based on a percentage of gross revenue.

The River to Coast group was awarded a 15-year lease agreement to operate the Guerneville building. The county will reimburse the nonprofit an amount not to exceed $75,000 over the first two years for kitchen improvements and start-up costs.

Officials estimate the county will save $40,000 annually.

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