Windsor residents will likely have to pick up a slight increase in recreation fees for activities, including pool passes and youth baseball after the Windsor Town Board tentatively approved the changes to its budget Monday work session that at times turned heated.
The fee hikes are the first in three years, and will likely be put in place at the start of the year in an effort to move toward a cost-recovery model. Most of the affected programs like baseball and softball for all ages will see changes to the tune of $5 annually, with a $10 surge to aquatics pool passes. Smaller hikes of about 25 cents are likely among smaller day passes to the gym any other facilities.
“I think it only makes sense — we have to try to keep up,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Kristie Melendez while addressing the rising operation and maintenance costs. “At some point this has to be done.”
The increases are expected to net an additional $25,000, which can help offset the decreased recreation subsidy, according to town staff.
While much of the board recognized a need for the changes, Mayor John Vazquez and Robert Bishop-Cotner had their doubts that the move was the best option for the town.
Bishop-Cotner argued that the package bore a striking similarity to a proposal made in 2011, which the board ultimately shot down. Meanwhile, Vazquez said he wouldn’t support the proposed increase, adding that the added revenue would pale in comparison to the burden being put on families who use the services in trying financial times.
“The reason we haven’t done fee increases is because the economy has been in a downward spiral, and I wouldn’t say we’re by any means back to the glory days,” Vazquez said. “I just think there’s a lot of people out there that will be adversely affected by the timing of this.”
The official budget adoption is slated for the Nov. 26 town board meeting. Additional information and the complete fee increase list is available online at www.windsorgov.com.