Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Mindy Craig (PDF) makes the case that city parks need to move to fee-based system:
Setting fees is perhaps one of the most difficult areas for those parks professionals unfamiliar with having a revenue-generating focus. However, completing a comprehensive fee analysis and creating a strategy for revamping fees is a cornerstone of becoming a more entrepreneurial organization. City officials in San Jose undertook this type of evaluation when they realized they could not afford to operate all of the facilities and programs. The officials redesigned the fee structure and program-retention policy to adapt to market trends and community needs, and to dramatically increase their cost-recovery level. By creating a framework to inform every type of fee, like group classes, to higher fees for special-use activities, like wedding venues, programs and facilities became more self-sustaining. To mitigate access concerns for community members who cannot pay, the new fee policy includes scholarships for populations who need assistance. In addition, San Jose used this new policy to end low cost-recovery programs. In 2010-2011, the department reported a 97.4-percent cost-recovery rate!