By Kathryn Reed
Fewer heads in beds has contributed to Douglas County’s financial quagmire. Commissioners at an eight-hour meeting in May passed a budget most residents will feel.
If further measures are taken, Californians will be affected as well. That’s because prices are likely going up at Kahle Community Park.
The county’s Parks & Recreation Commission met five days after the elected officials passed the county budget. The five in attendance (Commissioners Kelly Gardner and Mark Neuffer were absent) agreed to up fees at Kahle and Topaz Lake Park.
Besides increased fees, services will be reduced. The elected body cut 13.8 full-time positions in the rec department, which also includes the library and senior services.
The ranger-security personnel won’t be on hand at night or weekends anymore at the Stateline facility. The Lake branch of the library is losing eight-hours of operation.
The DC commissioners told the rec department to come up with an additional $25,000. Increased fees and reduction in hours is how it plans to do so.
Just like last summer, Kahle will close Sundays, lock up one hour earlier M-F and two hours earlier Saturdays. Staff proposes keeping these hours through mid-November as another cost savings. Winter is high-use season for the facility.
Douglas County commissioners must approve the Parks & Rec Commission’s proposed fee increase. Parks & Rec Director Scott Morgan said that’s possible this month, but more likely in July.
Rate increases won’t be immediate so staff and customers can get used to the idea. Annual passes are often bought near the start of the calendar year. Morgan expects to have the fees raised by then.
Similar rate hikes were proposed by the rec commission last year, but the elected officials said “no way.” Faced with a drastically different monetary situation, the outcome could be much different when it comes up for a vote.
Morgan said this fiscal year, which ends June 30, his department has been using reserves which created a $232,000 deficit. He expects to restore those funds and then some in the next fiscal year via the rate increases and reduction in hours.
Kahle Community Park
Usage Current Fees Proposed Fees
Adult annual pass $199 $219
Most walk-in rates $6 $7
30-day pass $15-$32 $19-$35
90-day pass $32-$73 $35-$99