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User fees for area parks OK’d

Pahrump Town Board members voted to approve two resolutions relating to fee structures for use of area parks by local youth organizations.

The resolutions, 2014-02 and 2014-03, apply to organizations that sanction regularly scheduled sporting events at the facilities as well as user fees for special private events.

According to the resolution, a special event is defined as any group reservation other than those generated by local youth organizations or those scheduled on a regular basis.

For major events with 500 persons or more, reservations for town facilities are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis where an application must be completed along with proof of insurance prior to use of any town facility.

Any failure to pay the required fees may result in cancellation of the planned event.

User fees are non-refundable.

The town now requires a $300 deposit along with a user fee of $100 for portions of the ball fields or $300 for the entire park.

If the event exceeds 24 hours, the user fee increases to $500 for the entire event.

Pahrump Town Manager Susan Holecheck said the resolution was passed by the board mainly to keep up with expenses to maintain the facilities.

“We need to generate revenue streams that will not only allow us to maintain our parks, it will also allow us to build new parks and hopefully create enough revenue so that we can hire some more people for the buildings and grounds staff. We still have the same number of staff and at the same time talking about building Last Chance Park and Kellogg Park. We are going to have to come up with revenue streams,” she said.

Buildings and Grounds Manager Matt Luis told the board that organized groups throughout Nevada are required to pay fees for the use of similar facilities at a much higher rate.

He provided documentation to drive his point home to board member Amy Riches, who was not in favor of approving the fees.

“The $100 for a field for a day is pretty reasonable because other areas around the state charge $40 to $50 an hour. The only reason we brought the documentation was to show what we’re asking for compared to local communities around us. A group of 10 kids who want to go out and play baseball or whatever, we are not going to charge them. If they want to reserve that area where nobody else can use it, then it will cost $100. We are not going to go out and start policing the parks where you have three people having a barbecue. That is not what we are trying to do at all,” he said.

Parks and Recreation Advisory Board member Rodney Camacho told Riches that the fees apply only to organized events in the community.

“The ball fields are free to use for local people anytime they want. We are not going to charge kids who want to hit the ball and play catch. We are charging only for organized events where it needs to be reserved. It requires the town to come out and prepare the fields for organized play to keep them in a safe playing condition,” he said.

Parks Recreation Advisory Board Chairman Dave Clasen noted that local organizations are already on board with the fees and have not expressed any opposition.

“The ones that we have talked to and I am involved with have already put it in their budgets and initiated it to start paying and help out the town,” Clasen said.

Holecheck, meanwhile, said there are safety concerns with infrastructure at area parks that may pose potential liabilities for the town where the fees will help to remedy the situation.

“We have wooden light poles at most of our parks and they need to be changed out. They are going to become very, very dangerous at some point with the splitting and everything else. We are looking at $2 million dollars to redo those light poles. You saw what it costs just to upgrade the bathrooms at Petrack Park,” she said.

Following further discussion, board members voted 4-1 to approve both resolutions.

Board member Amy Riches cast the lone nay vote.

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