The Clewiston News

Commission considers fees for parties at parks

At its second workshop concerning Clewiston’s Recreation Department, city commissioners and Recreation Director Lance Ramer discussed implementing rental fees for parties at parks and pavilions.

The user fee would be implemented to cover the cost of recreation staff who are charged with cleaning up after events, special tipper fees for garbage and replacement of bathroom products like toilet paper and paper towels, according to the director.

If a party uses city water or electricity, an extra fee would be charged.

The fees are one part of a grander plan by commissioners to help reduce the overall cost of recreation to city residents. Ideally, the user fees would offset costs normally absorbed by the city and its taxpayers.

Recreation Director Ramer said his department doesn’t want to price anybody out but it also does not want to tax the entire community for one party.

The fees being considered are $25 to rent a pavilion at a park, including Sweetest Town Playground, Sugar Festival Field, the Youth Center chickee, Trinidad Park and Sugarland Sports Complex; $50 to rent a pavilion plus space for a structure such as a bounce house; $75 to rent a pavilion and set up a structure that uses city water or electricity; and $150 would be charged to any non-city or non-East Recreation resident, plus an extra $25 to use electricity or water.

According to Ramer, the city has never charged for rentals other than at its facilities, including the John Boy Auditorium, Youth Center and Beardsley Room.

The fees still need to be formally accepted by the city commission to become effective. The fees could be considered at the commission’s next regular meeting to be held Monday, Nov. 16 at 5 p.m.

The commission is also considering raising rental fees for the city’s recreation facilities, including the John Boy, Beardsley Room (located next to the John Boy) and Youth Center, by 10 percent. The 10 percent increase would be earmarked for capital improvements, including painting facilities, floor repair and replacement at the John Boy, and replacement of antiquated equipment.

It could also begin charging $100 for extra days used to prepare for or clean up after events. Renters are typically allowed to come in the night before their event to decorate and set up and the day after to clean up. This is included in the rental price. If a renter needs extra days for setting up, rehearsing or cleaning up outside of the three-day rental period, he could be charged $100 per day to do so.

The extra fee is intended to offset the cost of the lights and air conditioning used in the facilities on these days.

And as for the nonprofit events whose fees have been waived in the past, the commission could start asking the coordinators to cough up the $560 rental fee.