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Committee discusses fees, rec center opening

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Pictured from left are Jim Burress, director of parks and recreation, Mike Mathews, deputy city manager, and city councilors Juan Oropesa and Savino Sanchez during the city of Roswell’s General Services Committee meeting on Wednesday afternoon. (Alison Penn Photo)

General Services Committee also hears Little League updates

The Roswell City Council’s General Services Committee last week reviewed matters related to fees for the Roswell Recreation & Aquatic Center, Roswell Public Library and the Roswell Museum and Art Center.

Committee members Councilor Savino Sanchez, chairman; Councilor Jacob Roebuck, Councilor Angela Moore and Councilor Juan Oropesa were present at the Wednesday afternoon meeting. The committee made separate motions and held separate votes related to rec center, library and museum fees, all of which were approved unanimously.

Fees

Jim Burress, Parks and Recreation director, presented his report and answered questions from the council. Burress said a recreation director has been hired and City Manager Joe Neeb added that other rec center-related positions are posted online.

Sanchez asked if the July 1 opening for the rec center was still on track. Juanita Jennings, director of public affairs, confirmed that tentatively, staff will move into the facility June 10, a soft opening is slated for July 1 and a public opening is set for July 13. Neeb described the rec center’s construction and opening timeline as “solid.”

In terms of rec and aquatic fees, Roebuck made a motion that included changing age groups, reflecting a family of six instead of four, and providing for annual admissions to include a combined aquatics and recreation membership, along with a rec side-only membership. Oropesa seconded and the measure carried unanimously.

The committee changed the age for children from 3 to 2; adults would be ages 13 and over while children two and under would be free. As a public participant, Rita Kane-Doerhoefer suggested the term “household” rather than family.

Library Director Enid Costley shared that the library wanted to open their meeting rooms to the public instead of charging fees. The only fee that would remain would be if a public meeting went over the library’s hours and that would cost $30 per half hour, Costley said.

Also on the subject of library fees, Costley explained that the city needed to stop charging a $2.50 fee for interlibrary loans — which see libraries borrow materials from another library for patrons — to comply with state administration code and not compromise state funding.

RMAC Executive Director Caroline Brooks said the museum has 400 members at this time and the intent was to “simplify” the membership program choices. Brooks summarized that current memberships begin with $15 for a senior or student membership and there were various levels, up through $1,000, for memberships.

With the new fees, Brooks said the $15 fee would increase to $25 and the highest tier would be $100. She said student memberships would be removed, due to low participation, and other membership changes would include from $20 to $25 for educators, individuals from $25 to $35, and households from $35 to $60, with $100 as the limit.

Little League

As a non-action item, the committee discussed a meeting during which Lions Hondo and Noon Optimists Little Leagues reviewed a possible merging of fields. Councilor Caleb Grant, Councilor Roebuck and Neeb were present for this meeting. The closure of Eastside Little League was briefly mentioned by Oropesa and Neeb.

Sanchez, who was invited to the meeting, said the meeting was held last week and Roebuck said it was a “fact-finding” mission to discover if the two Little Leagues desired to combine and use a larger facility.

Oropesa questioned if the topic should have been discussed by the committee, rather than individual councilors. Oropesa said this project — building eight fields, possibly with potential legislative funding— was going “outside the process” and “overstepping the priorities” since it is not on the city’s Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan (ICIP), which is submitted annually to the state for funding.

Neeb described the meeting as “an exploratory meeting at best” and reminded the committee that items for the ICIP list had to be approved by the full council.

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