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City OKs admission fees for RMAC

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Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

The Roswell City Council passed three resolutions adding or revising fees for certain city services at its meeting Thursday night, including admission to the Roswell Museum and Art Center for the first time in its history.

The admission fees for the RMAC as well as a revised fee schedule for the Recreation Department will go into effect at the beginning of next year. A revised fee schedule for special events or service rentals was effective immediately.

The museum, along with other city departments, has been charged with recovering some of its expenses in the city’s fiscal year 2021 budget.

“Admission rates are going to be a valid way for us to achieve those goals,” RMAC Director Caroline Brooks told the councilors.

The resolution passed as presented, 6-4. Voting in favor were Councilors Margaret Kennard, Jason Perry, Jeanine Best, Judy Stubbs, Jacob Roebuck and Barry Foster. Councilors George Peterson, Angela Moore, Juan Oropesa and Savino Sanchez voted against.

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Thursday’s meeting was the second time the City Council voted on the RMAC admission rates. At its September meeting, the council voted 5-3 in favor of the resolution. In order to pass, however, a resolution must have approval from the majority of the entire governing body, or six of the 10-member City Council. Councilor Savino Sanchez was absent from that meeting and Councilor Jason Perry attended part of the meeting by telephone but had a prior engagement at the time of the RMAC fee discussion and was not present to vote.

Six council members had requested the resolution be placed on Thursday’s agenda for reconsideration.

For Roswell residents, students age 16 and older, people age 60 and older, active military and veterans, admission will be $7. Admission for all others over the age of 16 will be $10.

Free admission will be allowed for children age 15 and younger, RMAC members, members of the North American Reciprocal Museum Association and school groups.

In addition, the second Saturday of every month will be free for Roswell residents, and every Wednesday will be a free day for those 60 and older. Other exceptions for free admission can be made at the director’s discretion.

Peterson made a motion to include those 60 and older, active military and veterans in the free admission category, but the motion failed, 8-2. Peterson and Oropesa voted in favor of the amendment, while Kennard, Perry, Moore, Best, Stubbs, Roebuck, Foster and Sanchez voted against.

“We’ve had to make some hard decisions when it came to finances this year. We need to allow the good folks over there at the museum to do their job and to do their job well and to have the ability to keep that the jewel of Roswell that it truly is,” Perry said.

The admission rates, effective Jan. 1, would apply only to the museum and not to classes.

The museum is currently open by appointment only. It will open to members next week and to the public on Oct. 20.

A resolution revising the fees for the recreation department passed 8-2. Kennard, Perry, Moore, Best, Stubbs, Roebuck, Foster and Sanchez voted in favor while Peterson and Oropesa voted against.

Recreation Director Marcos Gallegos said his goal was to combine, update and streamline the previous fees for the Recreation and Aquatic Center and the Adult Center set in 2018 and 2019, Gallegos said.

“I want to provide several options and opportunities for guests to become members and enjoy the facilities at reasonable rates and expand membership benefits. I want to offer a lower daily entry cost for the Roswell Recreation Center to provide equal and fair access for everyone, and I want to provide official rate structure for the Roswell Adult Center,” he said.

The new rates include daily, monthly, quarterly and annual rates for the aquatic center, the recreation center and also rates for combined usage of both facilities. Room rental rates are also included.

The monthly rates were at the request of residents, Gallegos said, and the quarterly rates will be for three months from the date of purchase.

For the adult center, Gallegos said he wanted to streamline the rate system. Admission to the adult center, which has been closed since March under the state health order, will still be free, as will use of the hospitality room. Billiards will be $1 per day or $10 per month. Rental fees for the rooms range from $25 per hour to $50 per hour.

“We have a few groups out there that have been there for many, many years and if we charge them the rates that are on the paper now, it would push them out. These rates will be negotiated on an annual basis and will be determined on the amount of time they use, which room they use and their contributions toward the community,” Gallegos said, adding that would apply only to nonprofit groups.

The council also approved a new fee structure for special event rentals or services by a vote of 8-2. Peterson, Kennard, Moore, Best, Stubbs, Roebuck, Foster and Sanchez voted in favor, while Oropesa and Perry voted against it.

The fees, updated from those passed in 2018, includes fees for use of city personnel and equipment such as the city’s mobile stage, sound equipment, traffic barrels and cones, and set-up and tear-down for events.

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