Fee increases for things like softball court rentals and outdoor swimming pool rentals are recommended by the Parks, Library, and Recreation Department. At a regular PLR board meeting on Monday, the board accepted the updated fee structure presented by PLR director Wade Gandee.
The raises were approved 3-0 with Jim Smith and Tom Bedford absent from the meeting.
“Really the only place we looked around was in the admissions department,” said Gandee. “We’ve talked about some of the other fees, the few we have for rent in the museum and here in the library and in the parks, and we didn’t think we’d have to postpone them.”
One of the fees that Gandee and his staff recommended is the fee for renting outdoor swimming pools, as they felt that the current fee does not accurately reflect the number of lifeguards needed and the cost of those lifeguards.
Gandee also recommended increasing the fee for the softball fields at Pioneer Park to $ 300 per day for the first field use and an additional $ 100 for each field thereafter
There was some resistance to increases in the cost of renting individual fields per hour when a complaint was filed with the board in May regarding the use of the field by traveling baseball teams. Right now, the cost is $ 25 for the first hour and $ 15 for each additional hour. Gandee said when he and the sales force looked at the numbers and considered what Sterling has to offer when compared to other cities, it made sense to raise the price of field rentals.
“Not much, but a little, we increased the rent by $ 15 an hour,” he told the board, noting, “most cities only offer fields of grass for $ 50.”
Board member Kelly Lowery suggested looking at a pass similar to the punch card offered at the leisure center for a discount.
“It’s really hard with cities if we don’t do it the same way for everyone,” said Gandee.
Lowry suggested a “use it or lose it” system so that people would pay even if they weren’t using the field.
Gandee said they could consider a discount system but cautioned the city can only offer the fields in the early morning once the city leagues, Northeastern Junior College and Sterling High School play games. Lowry recommended making this information public so that people know if you buy a punch card you can then use it.
“We can possibly come up with something like this where they could buy a block of about 10 practices. The hardest part is that there could be chances and I think we would have to refund them then, but there could be the possibility that NJC will have to come on another day because it kept raining and they were scheduled on that day and now we can’t offer you that, ”said Gandee.
Lowry suggested that they should note in the guidelines that field availability can change at any time and you will not be penalized if you have to switch at another time.
Marty Smock recommended making it clear that the tenants of the field know they need to get their own liability insurance.
Lowry said she agreed to leave her request as a suggestion and approve the recommended fees. With no further issues related to the fee increases, the board approved them.
All fee changes will be submitted to the city council for approval in November.
Regarding the cost of recreational centers, the superintendent of recreational activities, Monty Waite, noted that they are expecting a bigger increase in chemical costs this year than they thought. Fortunately, “we are still in a really good position in this regard,” he said, referring to the rising costs of inflation.
“We’re trying not to get overwhelmed in a year and we’ll see how it plays out in the next year,” said Gandee of the fee increase to cover costs.
At the beginning of the meeting, Gandee reported that the city had not received a grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation for the second part of the multi-purpose hiking / biking trail they were developing, but they would keep trying. The first part of the trail from Iris Drive to Cheyenne Boulevard is still under way, but at the moment nobody wants or can bid because the supply chain is so far behind.
At the end of the meeting, Gandee and the board thanked outgoing board member Smock for his service. He has been on the board since February 2015.