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Costs are going up starting July 1 for the James City County Recreation Center, youth athletics, outdoor pool use and some registration fees for classes.
The recently approved budget set to cover James City County’s spending from July through June of next year includes a line item that seeks to generate an additional $100,000 of savings from the county’s parks and recreation department.
The $100,000 of savings was a last-minute addition to the county’s budget.
The board of supervisors tasked County Administrator Bryan Hill with lowering his proposed real estate tax rate increase from 11 percent to below 10 percent in the final days of the budgeting process. He returned with a new proposal that sought a combination of cost-cutting and fee increases, including the $100,000 of parks and recreation fee increases.
Hill said he took the idea to raise fees from a budget proposal submitted by citizens Chris Henderson and Jay Everson. They submitted an alternate budget proposal that sought to avoid any tax increase through a combination of spending cuts and fee increases. Included among those suggestions was a recommendation to increase to 54 percent the amount of money the parks and recreation collects from users to offset expenses.
“[I took the 54 percent recovery proposal to the board of supervisors] and said, ‘What are your thoughts?’” Hill said. “They said, ‘Let’s do it.’”
The new plan estimates $40,000 can be gathered by raising membership fees at the James City County Recreation Center by $10 for single adults and seniors, pushing annual costs for passes to $260 and $235, respectively. The annual family pass will climb $20 to $520, while the lounge pass will go up $10 to $60.
The recreation center currently offers a $10 daily card citizens can use to access the building from 1 to 3 p.m. Thursdays, 6 to 8 p.m. Fridays and 2 to 5 p.m. Saturdays. That card is good for 24 months and allows for unlimited entry during those times.
The new change scraps the daily card and its associated blocks of free time. That leaves an $8-per-visit guest fee as the cheapest method of entry to the recreation center.
Parks and Recreation Spokeswoman Veda McMullen said there are currently 1,486 adults and 624 youth who have a Daily Access Card. In 2014, an average of 47 people used the Thursday block of free time, 37 used the Friday time and 84 used the Saturday time.
She said the recreation center has not raised its user fees since 2009. That increase was larger, with annual fees for a single adult rising $50 to $250 and family passes rising $100 to $500.
The package of changes estimates $25,000 of savings by raising the youth sports facility use fee to $15, which is charged to student-athletes who use county property for athletics. The fee is currently $10.
Program registration fees for certain classes like swim lessons will climb by 5 percent or less, generating an estimated $10,000. For example, swim lessons at the recreation center will climb from $40 per session to $42 per session.
The outdoor daily pool access fee will climb by $1 to raise $10,000, while nonresident camping and boat fees will climb by $1 at Chickahominy Riverfront Park to raise another $15,000.