User fees may increase next year at the Allan and Jean Millar Centre in Whitecourt.
The Community Services Advisory Board (CSAB) does a fee review every two years to compare Allan & Jean Millar Centre membership, daily admission (drop-in) rates, and rental fees for sportsfields and the Scott Safety Centre with comparable facilities in Alberta to ensure that fees are equitable.
While Whitecourt is usually below average for fees, the CSAB found that the Town is below where they should be for user fees in relation to how much the cost of living has increased over the last two years.
Mayor Maryann Chichak says the CSAB has recommended to Council that fees be raised in 2021 by 4.21% to bring them more in line with the cost of living increases and to comparable facilities.
The fee increase would mean a monthly adult pass at the Allan and Jean Millar Centre would cost a user $1.80 more a month.
The CSAB has also recommended that a Super Senior rate be added to fees, meaning those over the age of 70 would now be charged a fee that is half that of the senior rate. Previously, Super Seniors did not have to pay a user fee at the facility. An annual membership for those 70+ would cost $14.39 per month and adding that fee to the facility would generate an additional $17,270 in revenue.
The CSAB says adding the Super Senior rate, increasing the daily admission and membership fees at the Allan and Jean Millar Centre, and rental rates at the Scott Safety Centre and sportsfields would generate approximately $59,978 in additional revenue in 2021.
Mayor Chichak did want to stress the fact that recreation facilities are subsidized through taxation. She says the town has always tried to maintain a balance between sponsorships, service fees recovery, and taxation, and in order to keep that status quo, increasing the taxation portion is where the fee increase recommendation has come in from the CSAB.
Council accepted the recommendation at Policies and Priorities this week and will make a formal decision at a later council meeting.