Recreation department looking at increases in user fees

Published: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 02:12 PM.

The Havelock Parks and Recreation Department has passed a milestone, of sorts. For the first time in city history, the department’s budget exceeds $1 million.

The Parks and Recreation Department budget for the 2012-2013 fiscal year was $1.12 million, about $373,000 more than the previous fiscal year budget.

The money goes toward operation and maintenance of the city’s recreation center and facility off Fontana Boulevard as well as all other city parks and playgrounds. It even covers Havelock’s July Fourth Freedom Festival.

An average of 10,000 "participations" happens each month at Havelock recreation events and venues. Activities range from lifting weights, participating in a basketball games or practice, taking a fitness class or just simply walking the recreation facility trail.

Dave Smith, recreation director, said about 60 percent of the users of the city’s recreation facilities actually live in Havelock, and thus pay city taxes that support the department. He said others may come from the Harlowe or Carolina Pines areas, or even from other cities such as Newport. Some of those other users are children who participate in the various youth soccer, lacrosse, baseball or football leagues.

All children pay registration fees to participate in those leagues, and those leagues in turn pay fees to the recreation department. Other revenue comes from rentals of city facilities such as the city park as well as recreation center memberships and day charges.

The revenue helps offset the cost of operating the recreation center and pay for nine employees.

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