Fairfax Parks Eye Boost in User Fees: Cost of Golf, Picnics, Weddings to Rise

By Bowman, Rex | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), December 23, 1996 | Go to article overview

Fairfax Parks Eye Boost in User Fees: Cost of Golf, Picnics, Weddings to Rise


Bowman, Rex, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Whacking a golf ball, enjoying a picnic and even getting married outdoors will be more expensive in Fairfax County parks next year if the park authority adopts a plan to increase fees at parks throughout the 400-square-mile county.

Under the plan being recommended by the park authority's staff, more than a dozen fees would increase, some dramatically. The cost of renting the gazebo at Green Spring Manor Park for a marriage ceremony, for instance, would jump from $20 to $75 per hour. The rental fee for a shelter at one of Lake Accotink's picnic areas would go from $100 to $225.

While a few fees could decrease under the plan, park authority spokeswoman Merni Fitzgerald said the overall intent of the fee revisions is to raise more money. Slightly less than half of the authority's $30 million budget comes from user fees; the county's taxpayers pick up the rest of the tab.

"We look every year to see what fees need to be brought in line with the costs of service," Mrs. Fitzgerald said. "We also have to make sure we're not undercutting private competitors."

Marcy Dykes, head of Citizens for Sensible Taxation, the county's largest taxpayers group, said the fees are a fair way of distributing the cost of providing parks.

"The people who don't use the particular recreation facilities - there's no reason they should have to pay for them," she said. …

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