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Committee postpones cost schedule for new rec center; Councilor Roebuck wants all citizens to be considered when determining fees

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City Councilors Juan Oropesa and Savino Sanchez, chair of the General Services Committee, voiced their concerns about a unified baseball complex and the new cost recovery for the Roswell Recreation & Aquatic Center on Wednesday afternoon. Sanchez said he would want the fee schedule to go before the Parks and Recreation Commission before the council votes. (Alison Penn Photo)

he city of Roswell’s General Services Committee voted to table the recreation fee schedule as presented.

Elizabeth Gilbert, director of administrative services, presented the resolution pertaining to the recreation division fee schedule and offered to go through each item if the council willed it during the committee meeting on Wednesday afternoon.

City Councilor Savino Sanchez, committee chair, asked Gilbert who has seen the fee schedule as is. Gilbert said the Parks and Recreation staff has been working on it for some time and this was the first time the council has seen it. Sanchez said he wanted the Parks and Rec Commission to see the proposed resolution for the recreation division fee schedule and wanted input from the Parks and Rec staff.

Councilor Jacob Roebuck said despite “spending a few extra hours” looking over the fee schedule, he made the motion to table the resolution. Councilor Juan Oropesa seconded the motion and the measure carried unanimously 4 to 0.

Before the vote, Gilbert reminded the council they covered the cost recovery guideline at last month’s meeting and they would be voting on the next phase as a resolution regarding the fee schedule. She said the biggest change involved a daily entry fee and memberships that would apply to the Roswell Adult & Recreation Center and the Roswell Recreation & Aquatic Center. She clarified that the specific fees for the pool were not included in the councilors’ packets because the city still intends to work with United Pools of Atlanta, Georgia, to finalize the costs.

“In some cases, we are actually — we’re recommending removing some fees because we just don’t really need them anymore,” Gilbert said. “They don’t serve a purpose. Some we are recommending shifting how it’s handled, like whether it be kind of the unit that it’s charged within, which will kind of — it looks like more but it’s actually effectively less if you are charging a per-event fee versus a per-hour fee type thing.”

Gilbert said the staff has worked for months on the rates and recommends them as presented based on their reviews. For informational purposes, Gilbert added that the last fee schedule was approved in 2015 and said they wished the newly proposed fee schedule would have gone through the Parks and Rec commission. She said the commission did not have a meeting opportunity since their meeting schedule has changed to quarterly and that the next commission meeting would be in July.

Councilor Oropesa asked if the staff could call a meeting if there is a need — to which Gilbert said was possible. Based on the councilor’s vote, Gilbert said she would reach out to the commission to possibly schedule a meeting in June. Roebuck asked if a tabling motion would hinder anything, to which Gilbert replied that waiting until the commission meets does not hinder the new facility because other functions have to occur before, such as the implementing of a point of sales and membership management system.

In regards to the opening of the facility, Gilbert said the goal is to have the basketball program running at the end of this year and for the aquatic side to be fully constructed by May 2019.

For possible amendments to the resolution, Councilor Roebuck said he went through the fee schedule looking for anything radically different and determining the validity of each cost. He also said to Gilbert in a previous conversation that, when the city’s data system improves, he would like to see an evaluation, which could lead to potentially lowering the costs when the cost recovery can be determined.

“In this whole process that we have been talking about, how do we set fees and stuff like that? I think that we should never forget that Roswell is essentially a low-income community,” Roebuck said. “And we want to make sure that every citizen has the ability to this, because a $10 fee for someone who makes $80,000 a year is different than somebody — a family that makes $30,000 a year.

“Ultimately, our job is not to run a resort and make money. Our job is to provide — get the most people involved with our facility.”

City/RISD reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.