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City of Syracuse considering raising fees for some parks programs

Ellen Abbott
The Syracuse Parks, Recreation and Youth Programs Committee meets in Syracuse Thursday

Fees could be rising for some programs run by the city of Syracuse Parks Department. The last time the City of Syracuse increased fees for Recreation Department programs, George W. Bush was president.

"It’s been 11 plus years since fees increased,” SAID Syracuse Parks Commissioner Lazarus Sims.

He said in that time, salaries and other expenses have continued to climb, so the time is right for an increase in fees certain programs, like the popular ice rink at Clinton Square.

“For ice skating it goes from $3 to $5, which is minimum and hopefully doesn’t affect people coming out,” said Sims.

Other increases include a $5 hike for swim lessons, as well as higher fees for park rentals and some arts and crafts programs. There will be no increase to use city golf courses.

Parks officials said these increases affect only a small percentage of all the department’s offerings.

In all the change could net the financially strapped city more than $100,000. Common Councilor Joe Carni said that might not sound like a lot, but if other departments could find savings, it adds up.

“If everybody makes a small difference, it makes a big difference in the end with the final number of our budget, and can probably help that unfortunately growing deficit that we’re facing in the city,” said Carni.

The full Common Council is expected to decide on the fee increases at its next meeting March 12.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.