City kicking around fee for field usage

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Those who use Marysville’s sports fields might have to start paying up.
At city finance committee meeting this week, Marysville Public Service Director Mike Andrako told the committee about a reservation fee the city is looking at creating. The committee unanimously voted to recommend the fee to council.
He said the Parks and Recreation Master Plan recently developed a fee as a potential source of revenue. He said it’s unusual for a city of Marysville’s size not to have such a fee.
According to Andrako, the city already has a fee, but it’s only charged for usage during tournaments. This new fee would charge for practices and games. Residents would still be able to use a city field for free, as long as no-one else has it reserved.
This new fee would be $10 per person for recreational leagues and $15 per person for travel and club leagues. He said that’s lower than similar fees in neighboring municipalities.
“I’ve run it by the parks and rec commission, and they were fine with it,” he said. “They understood the need for it.”
The fee would bring in a small amount of money to pair with general fund dollars already used to maintain and improve the fields. He said the city could “make a bigger impact” if it could get some funds from those who actually use the fields.
The city will likely spend about $103,600 to maintain the fields next year, according to Andrako. That includes labor, materials, contract work and equipment/capital improvements. The new funds could help complete some projects the city has in mind, including replacing nets on soccer fields and putting more dugouts on baseball fields.
A fact sheet lists $28,000 as the potential income from the fee. Andrako said that number would likely end up inaccurate as it was calculated assuming all area league teams would potentially play in the city. Assuming some leagues play exclusively at the joint recreation district, that amount would likely be considerably less.
“We’ll find out once we implement it how much it will generate,” he said.
Committee member Nevin Taylor had concerns about what the fee means for kids from lower-income families.
“If this is only going to generate $28,000, I’m more apt to bite that bullet,” he said.
Taylor said he likes the idea of getting the city on the same page as the joint-recreation district, but he’s worried about creating a barrier for younger children who play for fun.
Andrako said he understood Taylor’s worries, but said many leagues already have entry fees. He also said this could potentially be a fee that taxpayers will immediately see benefit from.
“It’s a user fee,” he said. “And we can quickly turn around and show all these improvements this user fee generated.”
Andrako said some leagues offer breaks to families with lower incomes. He said he can put a system in place where the city further reduces the fee in question for participants already receiving financial help.
Committee member Mark Reams said the fee would help mitigate some of the prioritization of general fund monies the city does to fix fields.
“Here, we have money every year that we know is coming in for the fields,” he said.



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