Members of the Archbold Park Board discussed, but took no action on, an increase in fees charged for participation in various programs.
The matter was discussed at its Wednesday, Jan. 24 meeting.
The question of raising fees came up after the board switched its system for accepting online payments and added the ability to accept debit cards at both the village office and at concession stands.
The old system charged a convenience fee of $5.95 on every transaction, regardless of the original amount.
For example, a person registering a child for the $15 T-ball program would pay almost $21.
Park Board decided to absorb the online and debit card transaction fees and other fees imposed by the new system, which is offered through Farmers & Merchants State Bank.
Jennifer Kidder, Parks & Recreation director, said the transition to the new system has gone so smoothly, “we should have done it years ago.”
In order to cover the cost of the fees, board members have been discussing raising program prices.
Raises of $5 and $10 per program were discussed, but rejected.
Information was presented to the board that showed for the 2017 summer baseball and softball programs, the board took in $9,725 in revenue, with expenses of $65,831.
With about 475 youngsters in the program, Park Board subsidized the cost of baseball and softball at a figure of $120 per child.
In comparison, Napoleon charges youngsters $75 per child; Wauseon, $80; and Bryan, $100.
Archbold charges $25 per child.
Vaughn Bentz, village councilman and Park Board member, said Archbold has a dedicated income tax for parks; the other cities do not, although money from the cities may go to parks.
Archbold charges a 1.5% municipal income tax. One quarter of one percent (.25%) is dedicated to parks.
Flag football was subsidized at the rate of $46 per child. Youth volleyball has $1,920 in revenue with expenses of $1,880– meaning Park Board makes a $40 profit.
But the Parks & Recreation soccer program is not subsidized.
While every season is different, Kidder said in a later interview the charge for a youth to play on the traveling soccer team was $65.
Fall soccer is $90, but they play more games.
During the meeting, in response to a question from Jennifer Hurst, a board member, Kidder said baseball and softball make up about 7-8% of the Parks & Recreation budget.
However, that does not include all costs.
Costs not calculated include items like repairs and maintenance at the diamonds.
Personnel costs, including coaches and umpires, are the largest expenses for baseball and softball.
Andrea Thiel, Park Board president, said some parents want their children to receive more instruction, such as on fundamental skills.
Kevin Morton, a councilman and Park Board member, said others are “glad to have the kid out of the house for an hour.”
There is a program in place– a scholarship program– to help families who can’t afford the fees if they’re increased, Kidder said.
She believes there are people and organizations in the community that would contribute to keep that fund solvent.
Kidder said she would look at the fees charged per program, and develop recommendations.
Park Board will vote on the recommendations at its Wednesday, Feb. 28 meeting. The meeting is at 7 pm in council chambers.