Mayor's budget includes parks and rec fee increases

mowen@ledger-enquirer.comApril 22, 2014 

The Cooper Creek Tennis Center

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In order to cut a mandated 1.5 percent from his 2014 budget to reach proposed fiscal 2015 levels, Columbus Parks and Recreation Director James Worsley is proposing a series of fee increases and new fees at recreational venues.

Worsley outlined the fee changes and other budget changes he is proposing to Columbus Council, which was meeting Tuesday as the Budget Review Committee. Worsley’s Fiscal 2015 budget would be $11.3 million if Council approves his proposal.

Adult softball, basketball and volleyball teams would see an increase in annual fees from $325 to $375. Youth recreational teams, which currently pay no fee, would be assessed a $100 per team per year fee under the new schedule, Worsley told Columbus Council Tuesday.

The $100 youth league fee would help cover the cost of maintaining the fields (about $50,000 a year) and providing utilities (about $122,000 a year), Worsley said.

Other recreation sites will see fee increases, too.

At the Britt David Pottery Studio, a membership would rise from $170 a year to $270. Fees for classes would rise from $60 to $90 for adults and from $25 to $45 for youth.

Annual membership fees at the Cooper Creek Tennis Center would rise from $200 to $250 for singles ($300 for non-residents) and from $300 to $375 for families ($450 for non-residents).

Hourly court fees would increase for day use from $2.50 to $3.25 per hour for adults ($4 for non-residents). Junior and senior day fees would rise from $1.50 to $2.25 and hour ($3 for non-residents). Evening fees would rise from $3 to $3.75 for adults ($4.50 for non-residents). Junior/senior evening fees would rise from $2 to $2.75 ($3.50 for non-residents). Match and practice fees would rise from $4 to $5 ($6 for non-residents).

Weekly fees for the department’s community schools program, which are now on a sliding scale based on family income from $52 a week to $17 a week. All of those fees would rise by $4 a week.

Worsley also proposed defunding five full-time and two part-time positions, which would result in savings of about $180,000. Not filling those full-time positions – a crew supervisor, and equipment operator and three maintenance workers – a part-time maintenance worker and part-time custodian – would save about $180,000.

The positions would remain in the department’s budget, but would be funded at zero dollars, Worsley said.

Worsley said not filling those positions will have an impact on his department’s ability to perform certain tasks. He told councilors that residents could expect delays in services such as grass cutting, weed trimming, trail repairs, trash pickup and work orders. There would also be fewer city-wide events scheduled.

Council still has several budget review meetings scheduled before it votes on Mayor Teresa Tomlinson’s proposed $263 million budget. A final vote on the budget is slated to occur at council’s last meeting in June, just before Fiscal 2015 begins on July 1.

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