Columbia County recreation officials recently proposed an increase in recreation fees to help offset the rising cost of gas and facility upgrades.
For approval, the measure must first through two readings by the Board of Commissioners. The first reading will take place at the commission's Tuesday meeting.
Barry Smith, the county's director of community and leisure services, said he expects the fee increase to be approved.
"I think the Board of Commissioners realized the cost of doing business. The cost of providing services in our parks is increasing," Smith said. "The government should run like a business. If you're losing money, that should be addressed."
The county hasn't raised its fees in more than five years. Recreation Manager Charlie Beale said the decision was made as part of a routine review.
The increases are expected to average a jump of about 9.5 percent.
"It was time," Beale said. "We needed to generate some additional funds."
The cost to register a child for a sport will be $60, up from $55.
At Wildwood Park, camping costs would rise $2 a day to $20. The cost of a 30-day camping pass will rise to $500, up from $450. The higher costs there would help offset the upgrading of the camp sites' electrical outlets.
The increase in boating traffic at the park the past two years led to the recommendation of a small increase in boating fees. If the increase is approved, boaters would pay $6 to hit the water, an increase of $1.
New boat ramps have led to more boaters, Beale said, and the need for extra staffing
"That's simply the cost of doing business," he said. "We've got a lot of new amenities at Wildwood. We're about to have more."
Among the other increases will be the cost to rent Blanchard Woods and Patriots parks for the day. The county also would charge more for the use of its stage, which is rented for special events.
Not all the county's prices are going up. After reviewing similar facilities in the area, county officials decided to lower tennis court rentals for tournaments from $10 an hour to $6 an hour.
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