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City considers raising recreation fees for non-city residents

Published 11:40pm Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The City of Bainbridge Council voted down a motion to raise recreation fees by $10 for county residents using leisure services. The cost will stay the same, as it is currently — $20 for all children signing up for sports like baseball, football and other activities.
The motion came from Councilman Don Whaley after City Manager Chris Hobby brought forth information about youth recreation fees to be considered.
“Baseball signups are coming up and we have discussed many times in the past what to do with the differential between the city and county residents,” Hobby said. “Currently city and county residents are paying a $20 fee. The full cost for providing the service is $115 per participant.”
Council members then discussed the possibility of changing the fees for county residents, creating a difference in the cost because, “it is the city footing the bill for this,” Bainbridge Mayor Edward Reynolds said.
Councilwoman Rosalyn Palmer said she disagreed with the idea of changing the fees and “punishing the children” who participate in the sports just because Decatur County no longer supports the recreational department as they agreed to in their Service Delivery Agreement two years ago.
“We have got non-city residents who own businesses in this city, who own property in this city, but just don’t sleep in this city and we have city residents who simply rent and they don’t own property,” Palmer suggested in trying to ask where the balance would be in charging non-city property owners more for recreation.
Palmer said she felt recreation and leisure services was something providing a good quality of life and the city should just swallow the cost.
Hobby said the number of city residents and county residents participating in leisure service activities was close to 50-50, equal participation from those within and outside of the city limits.
Councilwoman Glennie Bench and Mayor Reynolds spoke on their frustration with waiting for Decatur County to provide for the services and contribute with funding.
“I think it’s unfair for city tax payers to continue to supplement participants in leisure services activities,” Reynolds said. “It seems like the only time there is movement from the county on this is when there is pressure from citizens to do something different and us not putting pressure on them to do anything different is not helping.”
Whaley made the motion for a $10 differential, meaning county residents pay $30 instead of $20.
Council members Whaley and Bench voted in favor of the motion while council members Palmer, Phil Long and Luther Conyers were in opposition.

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