Approve Parks & Rec Fee Schedule - YES
I was thrilled tonight to vote yes on adopting the new fee schedule proposed by our Parks & Recreation Department, to pay for the programming put on by the Department.
For those of you that remember, this was a far cry from last February, when I was forced to vote no on the same item—the only time I can remember voting against a staff proposal in my four years on the Council. My issue, at that time, was that there was no formal mechanism in the fee schedule or otherwise to ensure availability of our programming to lower-income residents. I couldn't in good conscious vote for a fee schedule that I knew contained what might amount for some residents to cost barriers, potentially pricing out lower-income residents who have every right to enjoy all the public amenities and programs provided by our Town.
Since then, Parks and Rec staff have thoroughly addressed my concern through the creation of a "scholarship program" that leverages both Town and charitable money to make sure that price is never a barrier for any residents who want to avail themselves of all that our Town has to offer. With this cost barrier removed, I was more than happy to support this year's proposed fee schedule.
I want to thank Parks & Recreation Director Ashley Howe, and her hardworking staff, for their partnership on this issue, and their dedication to doing right by our residents. They are a pleasure to work with, and I appreciate their service to our community!