By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Parks and rec searching for revenue
Department under tremendous pressure
Placeholder Image
Forsyth County News
Other action

Also on Tuesday, the Forsyth County commission:

• Accepted a $45,000 change order with firm Mauldin & Jenkins for its 2009 audit. County Manager Doug Derrer said the cost was “necessary and unavoidable” due to several challenges. The audit, which is set to be presented Aug. 24, still will be lower than the bids of other firms.

• Approved a state loan for the water treatment plant pump upgrade project, which will allow the capacity from the plant’s expansion to be used. The county’s recent Water First designation allowed access to low-interest Georgia Environmental Finance Authority loans. Commissioner Brian Tam left the meeting before the vote, which was 4-0.

• Ratified a mutual benefit agreement with Jasper Grading and Backwoods Contracting to dredge Big Creek. The company will work for 180 days, using the sand, while the work should also minimize flooding along the creek and adjacent greenway. This 4-0 vote also took place after Tam left.

• Directed the county manager to draft a resolution moving up the county’s tax deadline to Nov. 15 from Dec. 20 at the request of the tax commissioner. A vote is set for Aug. 5.

Note: All votes were 5-0 unless otherwise noted.

— Alyssa LaRenzie
Forsyth County’s parks and recreation department has drafted some possible fee increases and new charges to help close the gap in its projected revenue and expenditures for 2011.

The fees include hourly facility rentals for large events and increased camp site costs, as well as rental fees on concession stands and an additional charge for out-of-county participants.

While most of the fees were met with interest by commissioners Tuesday, the potential rental price levied on concession stands stirred debate.

“This is something that’s not very liked by the booster clubs,” said Jerry Kinsey, parks director. “This is a fee that we came up with just to help pay some of the utility bills.”

Booster clubs organize sports at local parks, paying a portion of the money collected for the programs to the county.

The proposed concession stand fee would be $1,000 per year for a stand serving three or more fields and $500 for one serving less than three fields.

Chris Stovall, president of the Sharon Springs Athletic Association board, said Wednesday that the concession stands are a primary source of income for the sports programs.

Money raised from concession sales, which Kinsey estimated at $3,000 to $5,000 per stand, isn’t much more than the rental fee, Stovall said.

“If this goes through ... that takes another source of funding away from booster clubs that run these programs on behalf of the county,” Stovall said.

“These booster clubs are forced to either have to raise their fees or find other sources of funding.”

Charging booster clubs a rental fee only hurts the volunteers and children who may go on to play sports in college, he said.

“Our parks and rec is one of the best programs in the state,” Stovall said. “If we keep tinkering with it and keep messing with it, we’re not going to be.”

Stovall said he felt that the parks department is under a “tremendous amount of pressure” to create revenue.

Other fees discussed at Tuesday’s commission meeting drew more favorable discussion, such as charging $50 more for out-of-county sports players.

The increased and added fees to rent facilities would bring Forsyth County in line with what surrounding counties charge, Kinsey said.

Improvements at Shady Grove Campground, funded by bond money, will merit an increase in the cost to rent a camp site.

Expanding some of the sites would also enable the campground to accept larger RVs that have been turned away in the past, Kinsey said.

Commissioner Patrick Bell suggested the county install a box at Big Creek Greenway trailheads for out-of-county users to pay a small parking fee through the honor system.

The board plans to revisit the fees at an Aug. 10 work session.