recreation fees hike
By GREGORY FOLEY
Express Staff Writer
Ketchum City Council members
Tuesday, Feb. 17, deferred action on a proposal to raise fees for city
recreation programs and special use of city parks.
Kirk Mason, director of the
Ketchum Parks Department, issued the proposal after being asked by city
officials to assess ways for the department to increase revenues, in
large part to offset escalating costs.
Mason told council members that
the department’s fees were matched against those of comparable entities
and were ultimately determined to be below the average. At the same
time, he said, some facilities are "deteriorating" and the city’s
playing fields need "rejuvenating."
Mason proposed that the city
increase fees for its wide range of recreational programs, as well as
for exclusive use of city parks for special events.
For recreation programs, Mason
proposed a sliding-scale fee structure that assesses higher fees for the
first program a child enrolls in and lowers fees for additional
For the first child in a family to
enter his or her first program, the proposed cost would be $40,
decreasing to $25 for the fourth, fifth and sixth programs entered.
Mason noted that "the increase in
cost will be approximately $15 per child who enrolls in three or more
Mason said the increases could
help the department maintain the quality of the programs and maintain
qualified summer staff.
"By increasing fees, I feel we may
also eliminate a long-standing problem of parents enrolling their kids
in programs as a ‘back-up plan,’ then not attending," Mason noted to the
As part of the proposal,
scholarships would be made available and no children would be turned
away from participating in organized recreation, Mason said.
In the plan to increase park use
fees, citizens would maintain their ability to freely visit city parks
but would be asked to pay a fee to reserve a park facility for their
exclusive use. Under the proposal, residents would pay $30 per event and
nonresidents would pay $60 per event.
Councilwoman Terry Tracy, the
former director of the Parks Department, objected to some elements of
"I don’t want to nickel and dime
every resident here," she said. "Why can’t they have a free wedding or a
free picnic? You’ve got to give them something."
Councilman Baird Gourlay faced off
with Tracy on the matter, stating that he and many of his constituents
believe the services offered by the Parks Department are a bargain.
Council members will be asked to
make a decision on the proposal at their March 1 meeting.