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Santa Monica Poised to Raise Fees for Community and Cultural Programs and Services
By Jorge Casuso
January 2, 2018 -- The fees the City of Santa Monica charges for everything from lifeguard training to performances staged at the Miles Memorial Playhouse are expected to increase this summer.
Fee adjustments for many of the programs and services offered by the City's Community and Cultural Services (CCS) were proposed last month by the department's director Karen Ginsberg.
The proposed increases would help offset "an escalation of costs associated with mounting these programs," Ginsberg wrote in a memo to the City Council.
The proposed changes would be presented to the Council at the FY 2018-19 budget study sessions in May after a series of public hearings this month, Ginsberg said.
The proposed fee increases are projected to generate some $250,000 in additional revenue during the upcoming fiscal year, according to staff. The department's current General Fund revenue budget is $5.7 million.
CCS program fees are generally more highly subsidized than other City fees, with most recovering less than 50 percent of the City’s costs to operate the programs, Ginsberg said.
"Escalating costs associated with supplies, equipment, staffing and contractual services necessitate increasing fees in some areas to maintain the high quality and diverse breadth of CCS programming offered to the community," Ginsberg wrote in her December 16 report.
Under the proposed rates, fees for aquatics adult lifeguard training would rise from $140 to $200 for Santa Monica residents and from $170 to $235 for non-residents.
Fees charged to adult basketball leagues would rise from $300 to $318 for residents and $375 to $396 for non-residents.
Adult volleyball leagues would see rates rise from $240 to $255 for residents and $300 to $318 for non-residents.
Single evening performances staged at the Miles Memorial Playhouse would see a rent hike from $300 to $360 for non-profits and from $775 to $930 for for-profits.
Most hourly fees charged to rent fields would see hikes of between $1 and $4 an hour, depending on the use.
CREST out of school time programs and camps, whose participants are offered financial assistance, would see minimal increases, if any, although the annual fees for the CREST Homework Club would rise from $425 to $500.
The proposed fee hikes come seven years after the Council adopted a pricing policy to guide user fee rates for CCS's subsidized recreation programs and permit services.
The policy was "designed to build a clear and consistent rationale for cost recovery, while generating increased user fee revenue where justified to ensure the ongoing delivery of community serving programs," according to the February 2011 staff report to the Council.
The City Council is scheduled to adopt a new fiscal budget at its meeting June 26.
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