COLUMBIA, Mo 9/2/14 (Beat Byte) -- Columbia city manager Mike Matthes wants City Council members to pass 12 pages of fee hikes for parks and recreational facilities, one year ahead of a fourth parks sales tax renewal push.
Started in 2000, the Columbia parks sales tax is separate from usage fees. It's been sold and re-sold to voters every five years, with renewals in 2005, 2010, and next year.
The parks and rec fee increases are part of a massive package of 2015 fee and rate hikes facetiously known as Matthes' Revenge. Council members are debating Matthes' Revenge tonight and until mid-September, when they will approve -- in whole or part -- or disapprove the city manager's 2015 budget.
The parks and rec hikes will also mark the 4th time in as many years Council members have increased or added parks and rec fees. Also at Matthes' request, CoMo parks and rec fees went up in 2011, 2012, and 2013.
"Internal staff review, market research, and recovery goals" prompted the 2015 parks fee increases, according to a staff report parks director Mike Griggs and Matthes approved. The increases include 5% fee hikes for kickball and softball leagues, which currently pay $26 and $34 per game, respectively.
"Across the board fee increases for all indoor shelter rentals" are part of the Matthes package, affecting Maplewood Barn, Riechmann Pavilion, Rock Quarry House, new buildings at the Waters-Moss wildlife area, and the Hillcrest Community Center meeting room.
Full day rentals on weekdays and holidays will rise 13% -- roughly 7 times the rate of inflation -- while engaged couples will pay 12% higher fees for a "weekend wedding special: $1,120, up from $1,000.
New "per hour" rental rates for each of the buildings range from $22 to $50.
A new $3 fee is added for tickets sold at events such as Roots and Blues that cost $51 and higher. Matthes and company note in their staff report that City Hall wasn't getting a piece of the action for tickets in this price range, and so decided on the new fee "to provide additional revenue to the city."
An array of new fees and fee hikes will hit Columbia golfers -- some 70 in all, with names like "capital improvement fee," "team member fee," "recreational facility use charge," and "activity fee."
For use of the L.A. Nickell and Lake of the Woods golf courses, golfers age 18-59 will pay $16, up 16% or eight times the 2014 U.S. inflation rate of 2%. Seniors 60 and older will pay 21% more, up $13 from $10.75. Matthes and team are also enacting over a dozen new fees for 9-hole golf, while hiking most golf season passes 10-15%, with small offsets for a rare reduction: a lower capital improvement fee.
Until now, season passes for golf courses ranged just under $200 to just over $900. Season passes for young golfers ages 17 and under will rise 26% under Matthes Revenge, from $198 to $250. The highest cost pass for an "adult plus one" will rise to over $1,100.
One bright spot in the parks and rec fee hike package: the Activity and Recreation Center (ARC) appears safe -- at least this year. After rejiggering so-called "recreation center improvement fees," the myriad ARC usage fees stay the same.
COMO PARKS AND REC FEE INCREASES, 2011