Higher recreation fees OK'd by PTC Council

Swim teams to chip in $55K additional revenue

Swim teams using the Kedron Aquatic Center will be paying more per swimmer as part of fee increases adopted by the Peachtree City Council Thursday night.

The monthly fee for the Southern Crescent Aquatic Team and high school teams will jump to $32 for each participant. Previously SCAT paid $5 per swimmer per month and high schools paid $3 per swimmer per month.

Masters swimmers will see a monthly fee increase from $5 to $18 each, and the summer Pirates swimming program, which had been free of charge, will charge $5 for each in-county swimmer and $10 for each out of county swimmer.

The changes are estimated to bring in an additional $55,000 in revenue to offset the operating costs at the aquatic center.

The new fees were based on each team’s usage of the pools, said city Leisure Services Director Randy Gaddo.

Part of the reasoning behind the fee increase is the pending need to replace the bubble that envelops the pool during the fall and winter months. That expenditure is expected to cost around $250,000. Without the fee increase, one option is to not replace the bubble, city staff said.

SCAT coach James Myers said he understood why the fee increase was necessary, and he hopes to be able to find ways to meet the cost other than passing it along to parents.

The fee hike adopted last year moved SCAT’s fees from $7,000 a year to $17,000 a year, Myers said. This new proposal will raise them to $42,000, he said.

Myers suggested that SCAT could rent a room at Kedron to serve as its office and bring in extra income for the city, allowing SCAT to move out of its current rented office space. He also suggested that SCAT might be able to get more revenue by offering a triathlon training program in the early morning hours.

One local mom brought her daughter in front of council for an emotional plea, and she asked if fees had been raised proportionately the same for all recreation teams in the city. She was told that unlike swim teams, the recreation teams put money back into their facilities through maintenance and also improvements such as a new concession stand recently donated to the city by Peachtree City Little League.

The mother said if the fees got too high she would be forced to withdraw her daughter from the swimming program.

“By raising fees you are not going to gain revenue, there are families who are going to walk,” she said. “We cannot pay $25,000 more.”

Councilwoman Kim Learnard said she agreed the fees were going up significantly, but she also quoted the prices of sport participation at McIntosh High School going from a $350 commitment for lacrosse and going upwards for other sports.

“None of us is taking this lightly,” Learnard said. “We feel your pain and we have a lot more pain to come.”

The new fees adopted by council also include a open gym fee as well. The fee could be paid per visit at $1 for ages 3-11 and $2 for those 12 and up, or paid quarterly at $18 for ages 3-11 and $36 for ages 12 and up.

This fee, along with a new fee for rentals of the multipurpose outdoor rink, are estimated to bring in $40,000 a year.

The rental fee for the rink is $25 for a civic group, church or school, $50 for a city or county resident, $60 for a city or county commercial entity, $70 for an out of county resident and $80 for an out of county commercial entity.

Another fee hike comes in adult team athletics, where the registration fee will increase by $25 per team for an estimated $5,000 in additional revenue.

downunder
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I agree that the users need to pay for the service provided.
However a more than 1000% increase?
I am sure that would blow your budget if you receive that kind of increase for your utilities or car insurance.
The result will be that the FCBOE will cut swimming as a high school sport and high school swim teams will not use the Kedron pool anymore.
I guess the remaining users just have to pay even more.

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Downunder

Maybe if we cut swimming programs we could use the spare time to teach our children to read better, or perhaps math, or God forbid History.

A budget is based on individual decisions about how income will be spent, if you want your kids to swim you will just do without something else. That's how real life works....unless of course you can get someone else to pay for it.

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Downunder

Who exactly should pay for the use of these facilities? The taxpayer has already paid for the design and construction and now you expect taxpayers to pay for their upkeep?

I would say that you are getting a bargin. If a kid really wants to swim they can go out and earn the money for swimming themselves.

Finally, people who use something should pay for it, not someone who doesn't use it.

Bonkers
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You don't get it. They will shut the pool down if they can't raise the money and if a kid earns the money he won't spend it on athletics!

This is a town function primarily to supply kids recreation and health items.

It is just easier to eliminate recreation and other kids items than headcounts!

downunder
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Death of high school swimming in Fayette County.

This might just be the death of high school swimming in Fayette County. The FCBOE has swimming on the cutting board even without these fee increases.

Bonkers
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You don't really think

that heads will be cut before high school swimming, do you? Or high school anything!

Bonkers
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Fees going up 1000%?

Maybe such increases will help some now for the budget, but at that rate next year might go up 3000% since a larger short-fall is expected!

For a city 0f nearly 40,000 citizens, I have never seen so little capital investments into recreation, especially for our children.

I can't really comment on the operating costs unless I knew the following---which never seems to be available here:

1. Was there NO capital depreciation on the pool to maintain it and the roof?
2. What caused the expenses this year to be so much greater than in the past? You list it as per swimmer, but how many swimmers were there on the average for the last year or two, and how many now?
If 100 people use something at $10 each, and only 50 show up next time, is it standard practice to raise the fees to $20 from $10?
3. Once a capital project is installed, like a pool, does the town fully expect the users, no matter how many, to pay most of the costs to run it?
Isn't that what some taxes are for? After all town staff has a building taxes maintain! MANY AS A MATTER OF FACT.
4. Doesn't this tell us something about whether we should punish our staff with reductions or whether we should start punishing those who pay the bills by cutting out our facilities.

Can't all of us see these answers?

Dondol
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What about the Airtran fees?

What about the deal with Airtran using the pool for their Emergency Water Evacuation training? That should be bringing some substantial fees, unless someone gave them a sweetheart deal.