The Washington Parks Department Wednesday proposed new facility and pavilion fees to the park board with the budget deadline nearing.
The board voted to send the fees to city council for final approval. The parks department self-imposed an Oct. 1 deadline, when Washington’s new fiscal year begins,
“We will put a Consumer Price Index escalator on all of these,” said Darren Lamb, city administrator. “That’s what we do for all of our fees. So they’re not stuck for 10 years at the same price.”
The fees were last reviewed in 2011.
“A lot of things have happened since 2011,” said Wayne Dunker, parks director. “Gas has gone up.”
In addition to increasing the reservation fees, Dunker said the fees and charges committee also added the pavilion at Phoenix Park to the list so patrons can reserve it.
He noted the upper pavilion at Lions Lake is still free to use.
A significant increase was noted for use of the Washington Senior Center, located on the lower level of the Washington Elks Lodge.
The rental fees are being proposed at $400 with a $500 damage deposit.
Lamb said the new amount ensures the parks department is covered in case something is damaged.
Before voting to send the new fees to council, board member Debbie Toedebusch asked to make a small wording change.
On the front page of the fees packet, it is made clear that rental of a facility only includes the exclusive use of the facility and/or portion of the facility.
It’s also stated that the rental does not include the use of other areas of the park, such as pavilions.
However, Toedebusch noted that statement could be confusing if someone was renting a pavilion.
“I think it sounds silly to say it that way,” she said. “I just think it could be a little clearer. Maybe it’s as simple as saying ‘See individual facility descriptions on what you get with that.’ ”
The board agreed to make the change.
“The goal is that we approve this tonight,” said Tessie Steffens, board member. “Then this goes to the council. They approve it and this will go into effect Oct. 1 with the new budget.”
She noted that anyone who has rented before that date will pay the current fees. Then anyone who rents on or after Oct. 1 will be presented with the new prices.
Betty Werner, board member, asked about the amphitheater lower level room on the city fairgrounds. According to the packet, the fee is now $175.
“There have been a couple of nonprofit type organizations that have asked me about having a monthly meeting there,” she said. “Is there a provision made for that kind of thing or is it $175 no matter what?”
Dunker said to stay consistent, the organization will be charged $175 for each reservation.
Lamb said the only exception would be the Washington Town & Country Fair Board.
“(If) the group donates $5,000 or more (to the parks) within the year, then they get a reduced rate,” said Steffens.
Board member Bob Kloeppel brought up the use of the Riverfront Park for the Memorial Day service hosted by the American Legion Post 218 and Washington VFW Post 2661, and the Legion’s Fourth of July Celebration.
In the past, neither group were charged for the event.
“I guess it would depend upon whether or not we’re going to be a park sponsor,” said Lamb. “If we are then technically it would be free.”
Others also noted the groups could address city council about the issue.
“It’s up to the council to waive fees if they want to,” said Lamb.
New fees for the use of the tennis courts at Phoenix Park also were proposed at the meeting.
A chart showed 24 separate costs before the revision. Now, there’s only two.
“We’re trying to simplify all these fees and not have so many,” said Dunker. “That makes it easier to understand.”
Before, the reservation fees ranged from $2 to $18 dependant on if it were a weekend or weekday or if the use was for a private/local nonprofit group, nonprofit group or for commercial use.
Upon council’s approval, tennis court reservations will simply cost $5 per hour without lights and $10 per hour with lights.
The fees are only for reservations. The tennis courts are free to use, but are first come, first served.
Dunker noted the fees are comparable to surrounding communities.
“We did a comparison with a number of communities and most of them were $4 or $5 an hour,” he said.
Facility, Pavilion Fees
The proposed fees that are set to be voted on by city council to go into effect Oct. 1 are listed below. The facilities with multiple fees have different packages available for purchase.
• Lions Lake Pavilions 1-3, $50; Lions Lake Gazebo, $100; and Lakeshore Drive Pavilion, free, all located at Bernie E. Hillermann Park.
• Administration Building, $100; Amphitheater Lower Level Room, $175; Amphitheater Entire Facility, $1,000, $1,500 or $1,800; Fairgrounds Pavilion, $200; Swine Pavilion, $200; Entire Fairgrounds, $3,000; and Motor Sports Building, $150, all located on the Washington Fairgrounds.
• Farmers’ Market Pavilion, $200.
• ames W. Rennick Riverfront Pavilion, $200.
• Auditorium Lower Level, $325, $375 or $475; Auditorium Gym Level, $500, $600 or $800; Auditorium Entire Facility, $650, $750 or $1,050; Auditorium Gym Level Sports/Practices, $50; and Main Park Pavilion, $200, all located at the Main Park.
• Optimist Park Pavilion, $125.
• Phoenix Park Pavilion, $75.
• ashington Senior Center, $400.
The current fees can be found on the Washington Parks Department’s website at washmo.gov/home-1/city-departments/parks-and-recreation/.