Recreation fee increases, including a doubling of the fee for sports leagues using city fields, were unanimously approved Wednesday by the Las Vegas City Council.
The move was viewed as necessary for the long-term viability of some popular programs and to ensure the city’s highest-profile sports fields can be maintained to proper standards.
“This is about sustainability,” said Lonny Zimmerman, deputy director of the city’s leisure services department. “This is our attempt to be responsible, to maintain our assets, maintain our staffing levels.”
Included in the increases are fees for youth camps, the Safekey before- and after-school program, and sports leagues and tournaments.
The league fees doubled to $200 per team for youth sports and $220 per team for adult sports.
It ends up being “very minimal” to the participant, said Zimmerman, who used his own son’s soccer registration as an example. He expects it to increase by about $6.
“The prices are passed on incrementally. They’re divided by a team’s roster,” he said.
Not everyone feels that way. James Bourgoin, who runs the fledgling LV Gridiron adult flag football league, attended Wednesday’s meeting and also submitted comments on the change.
He said the increased fee would probably put his league out of business, since he’s already operating in the red and the change likely will cause teams to not participate.
Tournament fees also are going up. Nonprofit tourneys will now be charged $15 an hour per field plus 15 percent of the collected registrations. For-profit tournaments will be $30 an hour per field plus the same 15 percent.
The idea, Zimmerman said, is to get more of the cost of maintaining the fields from those who are the heaviest users.
People accept that, said Mayor Oscar Goodman.
“We have phenomenal facilities, and I think the people understand,” he said. “It’s a real testament to our constituents.”
The fee increases are expected to raise about $1.1 million.
Councilman Steve Wolfson wondered if the larger impact would actually fall on users of Safekey and the youth camps.
The weekly charge for youth camps will increase from $65 to $75, and specialty camps will cost $115 a week, up from $110.
The estimated weekly Safekey fee will be $51, up from $44.
That adds up to almost $30 a month for Safekey users, and Wolfson said that could be a burden for low-income families that rely on the program.
There are scholarships and subsidies for those with income challenges, Zimmerman noted.
The Safekey and league fees go into effect in August. New camp fees will be in place in December, and tournament charges will increase in January.
Contact reporter Alan Choate at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-229-6435.