Ca Instructed To Consider Raising User Fees For Non-residents Only

October 20, 1991

Non-residents of Columbia who pay to use the town's recreation facilities could bear the burden for cost increases next year.

Members of the Columbia Council, in preparing for a new budget that will begin May 1, directed the Columbia Association staff Thursday to explore that possibility.

"In these tough economic times, everything's on the table. Everything's going to be reviewed," said council chairman Charles A. Acquard.

The association's policies are set by council members, who are unpaid elected representatives from each of the city's nine villages.

Its recreation facilities -- playgrounds, swimming pools, tennis courts and a golf course -- are maintained through user fees and an annual sum known as a "lien" paid on city property of 75 cents per $100 of assessed value.

The user fees are discounted for people who live or work full time on lien-paying property.

Each year the association staff has followed the same economic model in determining fee increases.

That model, if followed again, would call for a 1.5 percent increase for lien-payers and a 3 percent increase for non-lien-payers next year.

"One option might be to not raise it for lien-payers at all and to raise it beyond the 3 percent for non-lien-payers,"remarked John M. Hansen, who represents Harper's Choice village on the council.

That idea has been proposed in the past, but the CA staff advised against it.

Excessive fee hikes, they said, would discourage non-Columbia residents from renewing their memberships, and the association would actually lose money.

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