Aspenites will pay more to play |

Aspenites will pay more to play

Paul Conrad/The Aspen TimesA young swimmer gets a little help from her dad as they float around the lazy river Sunday afternoon at the Aspen Recreation Center. Fees at the ARC are slated to go up in 2009.

ASPEN ” Aspen residents are expected to pay more next year in several city-run operations, with most increases in the recreation department.

The increases, which average about 3 percent across the board, are slated to be reviewed by the Aspen City Council Monday. Final approval is scheduled Dec. 8.

Fee increases typically happen every year and are designed to keep each city department self-sustaining.

Tim Anderson, director of the city’s recreation department, has recommended a 3 percent increase over last year’s fees.

“This increase represents about $70,000 in additional revenues for the general fund in 2009,” Anderson wrote in a memo to the council. “The increase in fees will be necessary to sustain the approved subsidy level for recreation, plus a 3 percent [Consumer Price Index].

“Any decrease of this 3 percent recommended increase in 2009 fees would result in a higher subsidy level for recreation programs and facilities and/or a reduction in service levels.”

The city of Aspen annually subsidizes the operation of the 83,000-square-foot Aspen Recreation Center; last year it was nearly $1 million.

The fee increases are designed to keep up with inflation, Anderson said.

That means users will likely see increases at the facility that range between 3 percent to 29 percent, which includes daily admission fees, passes, and the costs for camps and classes.

For instance, the daily admission for non-resident adults is proposed to increase 6.3 percent ” from $16 to $17; admission for residents would remain unchanged. Monthly passes are expected to increase between 10.5 percent to 12.8 percent. Increases in longer-term passes hover around 3 percent.

Private swim lessons for non-pass holders are proposed to increase 29 percent, from $31 to $40. Pass holders will likely pay 15.4 percent more ” from $26 to $30.

Mens’ and co-ed softball will jump about 3 percent, and adult flag football, mens’ basketball and soccer also will increase in the same amount.

Increases are proposed in other city departments, as well ” the Aspen Police Department proposes to charge 16.7 percent more for records searches. Other fees, like vehicle inspections, also will increase by as much as 11.8 percent.

“Accident reports, the case report search fee and criminal arrest searches have been $6 each since 2005. The fee was raised from $5 to $6, ” wrote Patty Raab, the police department’s records custodian in a memo to the council. “Since it has been several years since the fee was increased, I think an increase to $7 is appropriate.”

The engineering and environmental health departments are proposing between 2.9 percent and 6.5 percent more for their services.

If residents want maps from the city’s information systems departments, they will pay as much as 100 percent more. A large preprinted map will cost 8.2 percent more and 101.9 percent more for small formats. In 2007, the GIS department generated $71,360 in revenue.

Fee increases are not proposed for the Aspen Golf Club. Last year, increases occurred nearly across the board, resulting in an estimated $70,000 in additional revenue. Season pass holders paid 10 percent more ” from $900 to $1,000 for early purchases. After April 1, that price jumped to $1,200.

In 2008, the golf 20-punch pass went up 5 percent ” from $450 to $475 for early purchases. After April 1, it rose to $525. Historically, the golf course gets about 60 percent of its play from pass holders, garnering 40 percent of the revenue. Visitor play accounts for the remaining 60 percent of revenue, according to city staff.

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