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Supervisors approve park fee increases

 

Last updated 12/11/2008 at Noon



Fees for camping, boat rentals, group picnics, and fishing at county parks will be increased in 2009 and future years.

The fee increases approved November 19 on a 4-0 San Diego County Board of Supervisors vote, with Ron Roberts absent, cover both increases from current amounts effective January 1 and increases in authorized fee ranges.

The county’s Department of Parks and Recreation can adjust fees within a category’s range without approval from the Board of Supervisors.

The supervisors’ approval also included direction from Supervisor Dianne Jacob to have county staff analyze additional discounts for non-profit groups.

The fee ranges had not been adjusted since March 2001, and since then many of the fees have been raised to at or near the top authorized amount.

The fee range authorization allows for adjustments based on marketplace and seasonal fluctuations, but increased operating and maintenance costs have forced the new fee ranges.

Over the past five years automotive fuel costs had increased by 137 percent at the time the board letter was docketed, structure maintenance costs had increased by 76 percent, and utility charges had increased by 55 percent.

“Visitors appreciate clean restrooms, safe trails, well-maintained campgrounds,” said Doug Goad of the San Diego County Parks Advisory Committee. “These fees will maintain that high level of service.”

In August the San Diego County Parks Advisory Committee unanimously approved the proposed revisions.

The increased fees, which will take effect on January 1, 2009, will generate an estimated $165,000 of additional revenue for Fiscal Year 2008-09 and $330,000 of additional revenue for FY 2009-10.

During FY 2007-08, the Department of Parks and Recreation collected approximately $2.4 million of user fees.

“This is a minimal fee adjustment,” Goad said.

Camping site fees per unit vary depending upon season, location, and improvements.

The existing rates range from $15 to $25 per night while the existing authorized range is between $6 and $25.

The new fees will vary from $17 to $28 per night while the authorized range will allow for fees between $17 and $40.

Cabin rentals, which are currently between $30 and $45 per night, will increase to between $30 and $50 per night while the authorized range changes from between $25 and $50 to between $30 and $70.

The extra vehicle fee per night increases from $2 to $4 while the approved range of $1 to $5 increases to between $4 and $6.

A new category for extended site occupancy beyond standard check-out time was created; the initial fee will be $5 with fees between $5 to $10 authorized.

Left unchanged were the $5 reservation fee and its $3 to $5 authorized range, the $5 cancellation fee and its $3 to $10 range, and the pet fee of $1 per animal per night along with that fee’s $1 to $5 range.

The county resident camping discount cards which waive reservation fees and provide a $1 camping discount for all sites ($1 to $4 for senior and disabled cardholders) were also unchanged from the $35 rate and $20 to $50 range, and the senior or disabled resident discount card remains at $15 with a range of $10 to $30.

The group camping fees for caravan areas utilized the full authorized range of $75 to $200 per night.

Both the authorized range and the rates will be changed to between $100 and $200.

Organized youth and school group camping areas had a $25 per night fee and with no additional authorized range; the fee as of January 1 will be $40 per night while the authorized range increases to between $40 and $50.

Group camping for other groups is currently $2 per person with a minimum of $50 per night, which was also the set range.

The new initial fee will be a minimum of $75 per night with a charge of $5 per person, and under the new range the Department of Parks and Recreation will be able to charge a nightly minimum of $75 to $100.

Some county parks with fire rings sell bundles of firewood, and while the current cost of $5 per bundle will not change as of January 1 the authorized range of $3 to $5 changes to between $5 and $10.

Group picnic reservation fees for 1 to 50 people remain at $75, although the range of $25 to $75 was increased to between $75 and $125. No non-profit discount applies for that quantity.

For groups of 51 to 100 people the fees increase from $150 to $175 while the range of $75 to $175 increases to between $130 and $225.

Groups of 101 to 250 people will see an increase from $250 to $275 while the range of $175 to $250 will increase to between $250 and $325.

The category without participant number limits but with pavilion use and an amplified music permit will increase from $400 to $425 while the range of $250 to $400 will be raised to between $400 and $475.

A non-profit discount of 25 percent for all but the lowest quantity was created as part of the fee revisions.

Janis Shackelford, the co-president of the Lakeside Historical Society, noted that members of non-profit organizations pay parking fees as well as contribute to the cost of the picnic reservation fees.

“It is going to cost our members too much simply to get into the park,” she said.

While the picnic reservation fee is based on the number of people, the parking fee is per vehicle, so carpools will reduce the fees paid.

“This will be a good incentive,” Supervisor Pam Slater-Price said.

Although neither the current $3 parking fee nor the $2 to $10 range will be changed, commercial bus parking will increase from $30 to $50 while the range of $20 to $50 will rise to between $50 and $75.

The annual parking pass fee remains at $40, although the range of $20 to $50 has been adjusted to between $40 and $70.

An annual parking sticker for senior and disabled county residents does not carry a cost, nor will it with the revised fees.

Left unchanged for both the fee and range were catered/corporate picnic reservations, which remain at $3 per person with a $2 to $8 authorization, and the day camp fee per day per area, which has both a range and a current rate structure from $25 to $100.

The revisions also created discounts for midweek fishing and boating fees.

Weekend and holiday fishing fees for those 16 and older remain at $5 per day, although the authorized fee range of $3.50 to $8 will be between $5 and $10.

The $2.50 fee and $2 to $4 range for youth ages 8 to 15 will remain unchanged, and fishing for children seven and under will still be free.

The $1.50 discount for senior and disabled fishermen is also unchanged.

The midweek fishing rate for adults will be set at $3.50 with an authorized range of $3.50 to $7.

The midweek charge for youth between 8 and 15 will initially be $1.50 with an authorized range of $1.50 to $3.

The full-day rental of a rowboat or kayak will increase from $15 to $20 with fee authorization rising from between $8 and $15 to between $20 and $30.

The full-day rental of a boat with a motor will increase from $35 to $40 with the range of $25 to $35 increasing to between $40 and $60.

A half-day rowboat or kayak rental will increase from $10 to $15 with the authorized range of $6 to $12 rising to between $15 and $25.

The senior and disabled discounts of $12.50 for a motorboat rental, $4 for a full-day non-motorized boat rental, and $3 for a half-day rental are unchanged.

The creation of the midweek boat rental category establishes an initial full-day fee of $10 for a rowboat or kayak and $20 for a boat with a motor.

The fee range for a rowboat and kayak will be $10 to $20 while a boat with a motor has an authorized fee range of $20 to $40.

The daily lake use permit fee of $6 is unchanged, although the authorized range of $4 to $8 will be increased and will be $6 to $10.

The annual lake permit rate of $75 for motorized watercraft is unchanged, although the authorization range of $55 to $100 becomes $75 to $125.

The $55 annual lake permit rate for non-motorized watercraft will not change, nor will the authorized range of $55 to $100.

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