Parks and rec officials support fee increases

Fewer exclusive events and higher costs to nonresidents for rentals and services were among future changes suggested by Parks and Recreation commissioners during their meeting Tuesday.

The commissioners recommended price increases of up to 15 percent for such things as fairground fees, park pavilion rentals, park equipment rentals, room rentals and theater fees.

Cost to swim at the Carson City Aquatic Center also would rise by 11 percent. People who buy swimming passes also can use the weight room for no additional cost once the new fees are in effect.

No hikes are being requested for major nonprofit events, said Roger Moellendorf, the city's Parks and Recreation director.

"Parks are for residents, not for users," said Commissioner Tom Keeton. He would like to see fewer events held that permit closedowns, situations where only the users can have full run of a park or facility and exclude others.

Commissioner John McKenna, however, pointed out that a play in an auditorium or a scheduled basketball game is similar - participation and viewing are controlled.

Keeton also would like to see charges to nonresidents for all parks and recreation services rise even higher than the 10-percent gap currently proposed, he said.

"We don't want to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs," Moellendorf warned. "People from outside the community also spend money."

Other future ideas proposed by commissioners include obtaining a portion of the parking fees that groups renting city facilities charge and finding a way to offer lower-income families with more than one child discounts for programs.

Parks and Recreation staff expects the new prices to become effective June 8. The Board of Supervisors last approved an increase in fees during 2004.

Three supplemental budget requests from staff also were recommended by the commissioners.

The top priority was addition of a recreation coordinator to handle the array of new sports programs being offered, such as adult soccer, youth volleyball and summer sports camp.

Cost for this full-time position will be offset by increased demand for services and the consolidation of hourly positions, said Joel Dunn, the city's sports recreation supervisor.

Also recommended: A proposed increase of $15,000 to the Latch Key Scholarship Account bringing the total for youth program scholarships to $30,000, and a $3,330 expenditure for adding Spanish-language pages to the "Discover Us" publication that details Parks and Recreation offerings.

Potential rules for commercial park uses, however, are going to be rewritten to be more stringent before the commissioners decide whether to forward them to the supervisors.

They propose such stipulations as only allowing residents to use Fuji Park for commercial pursuits, creating higher fees for non-recreational uses, not allowing commercial events on three-day weekends, and requiring a meeting with city staff before approving use.

Supervisor Pete Livermore said car shows are as "legitimate" a recreational event as "anything," and that potential resident commercial users also pay taxes.

The commissioners would like to see the rules used for up to a year, then look at the results and see whether they need to make more changes.

Capital Ford plans to hold a show featuring new cars in the park in August, and the city would like to have rules in place before this event occurs.

• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber or 882-2111, ext. 215.


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