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Tarpon Springs may increase fees at boat launches, golf course, city cemetery

TARPON SPRINGS — City residents soon may see an increase in fees for launching boats, burying loved ones and playing golf.

City staffers said an increase in fees is needed to offset the costs of maintaining the cemetery and golf course. Increasing the fees for boat launch permits is an attempt to take advantage of Tarpon's access.

"Our two boat launch sites are an asset to the community as there are so few launching sites available in our area," said Tom Funcheon, public works director. "As such, we need to ensure pricing and policies are fairly reflecting the value of these boat launches."

The City Commission agreed Tuesday to the proposed increases, which now will require two public readings before they can be adopted.

The first reading will likely be at the Aug. 17 regular scheduled commission meeting. The second reading likely will be in September. It's unclear when the increases would take effect.

If passed, it would cost Tarpon Springs residents $50 for a one-year permit to launch boats from one of the city's two launching areas. Residents currently receive a launch permit at no cost.

For a nonresident, a one-year permit would jump from $25 to $100. A 30-day sticker would rise from $5 to $25 for both residents and nonresidents.

In fiscal year 2008-09, 400 resident and 350 nonresident permits were issued. For the current fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 274 resident and 190 nonresident permits were issued through the end of June.

Funcheon said based on 300 residents and 200 nonresident fees, the city would bring in $35,000 with the proposed increases. If the increases are approved, it would be the first modification in 30 years.

While the commission supported the potential revenue stream, Mayor David Archie was leery of the drastic change for residents.

"Going from zero to 50, which is the same rate as some of the cities that surround us, is a little excessive," Archie said. "I think $25 is a better starting point from not charging anything."

Tarpon residents also may see an increase in fees to play the city's golf course and to be buried in the city-owned cemetery.

City and state residents would pay $37 to play 18 holes with a cart during the winter months, up $2 from the current rate. It would cost nonresidents $40, up $1 from the current rate.

During the summer, there would be $2 increases for both residents and nonresidents. The price for 18 holes with a cart would be $26 and $29, respectively.

With Cycadia Cemetery, the proposed fee increases are still cheaper than neighboring communities, said Paul Smith, the city's public services director. If passed, it would be the first cemetery fee jump since 2006.

For an inground burial service with a set-up, the charge would jump from $995 to $1,194. A mausoleum crypt would go from $4,080 to $4,896.

Contact Demorris A. Lee at dalee@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4174.

Higher fees

IN OLDSMAR:

Nonresidents at Cypress Forest, a $5 parking fee. City residents can get a $2.50 decal for a year's access to Cypress Forest and Mobbly Bayou Wilderness Preserve South Support Area.

IN TARPON SPRINGS:

Fifty dollars for a one-year boat launch permit for residents. For a nonresident, a one-year permit would be $100. A 30-day sticker would rise from $5 to $25 for both residents and nonresidents.

Tarpon Springs may increase fees at boat launches, golf course, city cemetery 08/04/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 4, 2010 8:04pm]
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