Town may raise park, swim fees - The Explorer: Pima Pinal

Town may raise park, swim fees

Home rule option, changes to RV also under examination

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Posted: Wednesday, December 2, 2009 12:00 am | Updated: 1:29 pm, Mon Apr 18, 2011.

The Oro Valley Town Council could accept a proposal to increase parks and recreation fees at its Wednesday, Dec. 2 meeting.

The proposal would bring in about $88,000 in fees, an increase of approximately $23,500 from the town's income of $64,500 last year.

Most of the fee changes would affect league sports like youth baseball, soccer, softball and swimming.

The biggest changes are planned for pool usage.

Resident and non-profit fees for pool lanes and lap swimming would double from $2 to $4 for short course lanes, and from $4 to $8 for long lanes. Non-residents and for-profit groups would face $20- and $40-per-hour charges for the same services.

Parks department officials intend for the changes to boost pool revenue by more than $43,000. Annual operating costs of the town pool average about $400,000.

Youth baseball leagues would also see significant changes.

Officials with Canyon Del Oro Little League said the new fees would nearly double the fees it pays the town for fields. A league representative said the league would have to pay $11,700, up from $6,300.

Maintenance at both James D. Kriegh and Riverfront parks, used for youth and adult leagues, costs about $253,000 per year, with ball field upkeep accounting for $152,000.

Under the proposed fee structure the town hopes for an annual cost-recovery of $38,000, or about 24 percent. Currently, the town recovers $18,000, or 11 percent.

Home rule vote

The council could vote to hold a home rule election in March.

Home rule allows Arizona cities to set their own budget limits. Cities that fail to pass the option are subjected to budget standards set under state law.

If voters don't approve home rule in Oro Valley, the town's spending would drop from an estimated $73 million budget — which includes capital and operating expenses — to about $21 million.

The state spending formula multiplies expenditures from the baseline year by population and inflation factors, then adds the total to estimated spending exclusions to determine what the state-imposed spending limit would be.

If the council votes to go forward with the home rule election, the vote would take place March 9, 2010.

Rancho Vistoso changes

Vistoso Partners, owners of significant portions of Rancho Vistoso, has requested a general plan amendment affecting its holdings in neighborhood 5, an area near the middle of Rancho Vistoso.

The changes would affect about 126 acres. The total housing units allowed would remain the same at 275 and would actually lower the total amount of houses in the entirety of neighborhood 5 by 1,000. If approved, the total allowable number of houses in the 1,555-acre area would be 2,500.

The changes requested include moving a proposed school site the developer and Amphitheater Unified School District have an agreement for, and retaining a proposed golf course.

The changes also would increase the acreage dedicated to open space once developed by 19 acres.

The proposal has been delayed numerous times since first proposed in February 2008. The Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval for the general plan amendment.

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