AUBURN — The city’s dual rink ice arena is not in the black yet but it is chipping away at its operations deficit, according to General Manager Marc Gosselin.

“It’s very positive, moving in the right direction,” Gosselin told councilors during Monday’s meeting.

The arena is still showing an operations loss, but the loss is shrinking and might be erased by the time the season ends. As of Dec. 31, 2015, the arena had spent $586,169 on salaries, supplies, utilities and rent, and brought in $584,595. Revenues came from concessions, advertising, pro shop rents, special programs, ice rental and tournaments. That’s a $1,574 deficit.

By comparison, the operations deficit was much higher at the end of 2014 — $191,783, according to the city. The arena spent $63,666 less as of December 2015 compared to December 2014 and brought in $126,543 more revenue.

Holden was the second person hired to manage the facility since it fully opened in February 2014. The arena is part of a city enterprise fund and is meant to be self-supporting, paying for its operations with its own advertising and ice rental revenues.

Gosselin said that’s what his staff is working toward. They’ve worked to fill available ice time, attracting new events, hockey camps and tournaments, increasing ice rentals from 2,186 between July 2014 and January 2015 to 2,545 hours between July 2015 and now.

They’ve also increased corporate sponsorship and taken in-kind trades when it made sense.

“For example, St. Laurent and Sons are a fantastic partnership,” he said. “They are now plowing our parking lot, giving us $7,000 worth of trade. We gave them some exposure in our facility and they have given us a credit, so to speak, allowing us to take that off of our budget.”

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