PORT ANGELES — Clallam County personnel are eyeing a change in the calculations of park and recreation fees and adding some new fees based upon recommendations from the Parks, Fair and Facilities Department and the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.
A public hearing on the fee adjustments is set for 10:30 a.m. Dec. 12 in the commissioners meeting room at the Clallam County Courthouse, 223 E. Fourth St., Port Angeles.
“We want to implement the (Consumer Price Index) system that we’ve been talking about for most of 2023, which for the year 2024 is 4.5 percent,” said Don Crawford, director of the Parks, Fair and Facilities Department, referring to the benchmark the county would use to increase park and recreation fees.
“We identified some additional revenue opportunities,” he added.
One objective is to create greater price parity between State Parks, Olympic National Park and county parks while also maintaining the price difference between county and non-county residents, he said.
Park and recreation staff took the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and a study of comparable fees from nearby park and recreation areas and also identified one-time adjustments to create greater parity, Crawford said.
Seventy percent of county park and recreation users come from outside the county, based upon camping reservations and a report from the Dungeness Recreational Area, a change from a 60/40 split in the past, Crawford said.
He also wants to implement preferential pricing for children where possible, such as day use areas in campgrounds and Camp David Jr., and create a $5 “carve out” fee to create a capital fund for large unplanned expenses, Crawford said.
“So $5 of every fee would be put into a special budget for capital improvements, repairs to camp projects. It would be a year-to-year source for basic repairs beyond our regular budget,” he said.
However, the parks and recreation commission countered with its own proposal, Crawford said.
The parks and recreation advisory board used the CPI and also was more surgical in which fees to maintain and which to increase, he said.
“They said some fee increases should be less. The only real difference is they generate $134,000 in additional revenue versus $180,000. It comes down to a $46,000 difference,” Crawford said.
“I want to publicly thank the park board for their diligence,” he said.
Crawford said the reservation system must be in place by Jan. 1 because all the county’s park and recreation reservations are made in one week.
Commissioner Randy Johnson said he didn’t want the county to lose revenue, so he favored the staff’s recommendation. Commissioner Mike French agreed.
The commissioners agreed to make a decision following the Dec. 12 public hearing.
Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached at email@example.com.