Balto. Co. park fees to rise at 5 sites But Ruppersberger won't increase costs at other facilities

March 28, 1996|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

Fees for using Baltimore County's five self-supporting parks will increase April 5, but the administration of County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger III has decided against imposing $100,000 in new and increased fees for softball and pavilion rentals at other parks.

The higher fees will affect mainly groups renting facilities at Oregon Ridge Park, Miami and Rocky Point beach parks along the Chesapeake Bay, Loch Raven Fishing Center and Fort Howard Park in Edgemere.

The increases will take effect automatically because the County Council has decided not to vote on them. Those, plus fee increases submitted to the council this week for the new Cromwell Valley Park, which is not self-supporting, are expected to produce $171,000 in revenue annually.

Golf fees, which are controlled by the independent Baltimore County Revenue Authority, also will rise slightly, effective today at Diamond Ridge, Longview and Rocky Point public courses.

Those higher fees, ranging from $1 to $4 a round for most golfers, will produce $430,000 more a year to help pay for improvements and for two new golf courses set to open next year -- one at Diamond Ridge and the other in the north county.

Most complaints about the proposed fees had come from players on the county's approximately 2,200 adult softball teams, which pay no fees now. The county had considered charging softball fees of $6 per team per game and $10 per team for night games on lighted fields.

The decision to forgo those fees should help the county's 44 volunteer recreation councils, which often get donations from groups using county pavilions and fields in their areas.

"I'm very happy with the decision," said the Rev. Steven P. Girard, a priest who is president of the Lansdowne-Riverview Recreation Council. "The adult softball teams give us money to help keep up the fields" -- which youth teams also use, he said.

The donations have become important in recent years, he said, because county field maintenance has been reduced. Father Girard said he feared that county-imposed softball fees would be going into the government coffers in Towson and not sent back to the recreation council.

Council Chairman Kevin Kamenetz said the members did not believe they needed to vote on the fees. He said the councilmen all have talked with their local recreation council leaders, and found little opposition to raising fees in the five parks that must support themselves and get no county money.

Although several council members said they do not object to imposing small fees on adult softball teams, that proposal elicited the most complaints. "I started with softball complaints three months ago," Catonsville Democrat Stephen G. Sam Moxley said.

Pub Date: 3/28/96

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