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February 23, 2014
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Glenwood Springs Community Center fees adjustment includes new 'family' definition

Couples without children and college students home for the summer would benefit under a new Glenwood Springs Community Center rate structure given the initial green light by City Council last week.

Rates will be increasing about 3 percent across the board under the new structure that is set take effect on April 1, pending council’s final approval next month of an ordinance establishing the new fees.

However, many of the revamped membership categories will result in reduced rates for some, according to the plan presented by Glenwood Springs Parks and Recreation Director Tom Barnes.

That’s partly to make sure smaller families and couples without children are not subsidizing larger families who buy the six-month and full-year family memberships, he said.

“Our definition for family until now has been one or two adults and any dependents living at the same address, but there can be some wide swings within that definition,” Barnes said. “We do have a lot of families that are not traditional, and that has been poorly reflected in our membership categories.”

To remedy that, and to cut down on people abusing the definition of family, the new rate structure creates a new resident and nonresident couple category for either a six-month or full-year membership.

The new structure also changes the former “family” status to a “household” definition, starting with two adults and two children ages 4-17.

Households with additional adults and/or children will be charged extra, including 50 percent of the individual adult membership rate for each additional adult, and 33 percent of the individual youth/senior rate for additional children or seniors on a family membership.

“Hopefully, this will cut down on people abusing the definition of family,” Barnes said. “The goal is to create more equity while maintaining an affordable facility.”

Council also addressed a concern raised by former city councilman Russ Arensman in a letter to council members, suggesting that the city look for ways to accommodate college students who aren’t home during the school year but may want to use the community center while they are here.

While a special three-month summer rate for college students was discussed, Barnes said the final ordinance to be presented to council will likely include a separate age range of 18-23 for college students with a valid school ID to be included as part of a household membership.

Barnes also reported that membership at the community center has increased about 7 percent since 2011, with current membership at about 2,700.

The new rates are projected to increase revenue from about $635,000 currently to around $654,000. The community center currently recovers between 58-60 percent of the costs to operate and maintain the facility, while the remainder is covered under the city’s general fund.

That’s better than the industry average for cost recovery for municipal recreation centers of about 40 percent, Barnes said.

City Council, at its Feb. 20 meeting, also gave initial approval to new fees for use of the Two Rivers Park boat ramp. The new annual permit fee will increase to $150 from $100 currently.

Also, instead of a per-person fee for commercial operators to use the ramp, there will be a flat fee of $40 per craft. The city also proposes to eliminate the so-called 50-cent per person “lunch fee” for use of the picnic shelter next to the boat ramp.

The new boat ramp fees will also come back to council in ordinance form in March.

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The Post Independent Updated Feb 26, 2014 05:33PM Published Feb 23, 2014 04:56PM Copyright 2014 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.