Swimming lessons will cost more this summer in Rifle, as will camping at Rifle Mountain Park, under a new parks and recreation fee structure given unanimous initial approval by City Council Wednesday night.
Other fees were eliminated at the Art Dague Pool and Waterslide and the city-owned park north of Rifle Gap Reservoir, Parks and Recreation Director Tom Whitmore told the council. The fees will be considered for final approval at the council’s April 2 meeting.
Whitmore explained in a memo to the council that he and his staff have started to review various parks and recreation facility and program fees. The changes were earlier discussed and approved by the parks and recreation advisory board, Whitmore added.
“It’s taking baby steps on a few fees for now,” he said. “We think we’re being sensitive to keeping user fees in line with the local economy, so you see some increases but others will be eliminated.”
While swimming lesson fees will increase from $30 to $35 for nine sessions, Whitmore noted the elimination of the $6 adult and $5 child admission fees at the swimming pool and waterslide in favor of one admission rate of $5 per person, as well as the elimination of the adult and child 20-day passes in favor of an $80, 20-admissions pass. Whitmore said that’s $5 more than the child pass, but a decrease of $10 from the adult pass.
Also eliminated will be a $1 nonswimmer fee. Anyone occupying pool or deck space counts toward the maximum occupancy and impacts risk and liability, Whitmore said, so they will have to pay the $5 admission fee. He also said pool staff noted some who were charged the $1 fee ended up swimming.
The camping fee at Rifle Mountain Park will increase from $7 to $10 per night, and the local second vehicle pass will go from $2 to $5, Whitmore continued.
“We’ve had an increased need for law enforcement presence up there over the years,” Whitmore said. “And the honor system [for paying fees] hasn’t worked as well as it used to work.”
He added that $10 for an annual vehicle pass is incredibly low, so the slight increase for a second vehicle pass may help reduce the number of vehicles competing for limited parking in the park. Whitmore estimated up to a dozen second vehicle passes have been sold each year.
Whitmore also said the hours at the Metro Park batting cage will be reduced. Labor costs are excessive, he noted, compared to use of the batting cages. Swimming pool staff would man the batting cages, Whitmore said, taking time away from the pool.
New hours at the batting cage will be Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 4:30-9 p.m.; Tuesday from 3-7 p.m.; Saturday 4-8 p.m.; and Sunday noon to 6 p.m.
“We anticipate a savings of $2,000 to $3,000 with this change,” Whitmore said.
Program fees for 2015 will continue to be reviewed, and on a regular basis thereafter, he added.
“Some of these fees haven’t changed since 2008 or earlier, so we know it’s tough to raise some of these,” Whitmore told council. “But we also need to do a better job of covering our costs.”