Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Writers group feels pinched by Largo fee increase

LARGO — The city raised recreation fees for everything from pool use to room rental earlier this year in hopes the added revenue could offset impending budget cuts.

For the most part, said parks director Joan Byrne, the fees have been met with minimal public complaint and bring Largo's fees in line with other nearby cities.

But for one Pinellas nonprofit organization, which will soon be charged twice as much ($20, from $10 per hour) to rent a room for its weekly meetings at the Highland Recreation Center, the new fees may mean leaving Largo in favor of another venue.

Or worse yet, said Pete Kaszyk, president of the Pinellas Authors and Writers Organization, shutting down a 23-year-old club.

"It would really be a shame to have us disband because we can't afford the rent," Kaszyk said.

The writers organization, which has more than 120 members, uses Highland Rec Center for weekly workshops, where writers from around the county share their work and discuss the literary arts.

Kaszyk said the group, which charges a $25 annual membership, has been using the Largo facility for 19 years — and many members have limited financial wiggle room. The site was chosen because of its central location, since group members are from all parts of Pinellas.

"A lot of them are senior citizens on a fixed income. Doubling their dues is, well, I'm sure we're going to lose a lot of members by doing that," he said.

At Tuesday's City Commission meeting, several members attended to ask city leaders to rescind the increase.

Byrne said that while she takes no pleasure in charging more to use city facilities, Largo's fees have been lower than average until now.

"We were underpriced for a long time," she said. "We are really not trying to gouge anybody. But given the constraints we're under, it's close the rec center or increase revenue."

Kaszyk said he is searching for alternative but is coming up short of finding a suitable site.

"We've looked at libraries," he said. "But they're not going to commit for a whole year. We've talked to churches. We don't want to travel to different ends of the county."

Other groups, like local swim teams, also have faced fee increases recently.

Youth swim team membership fees increased from $15 per season to $6 per month, plus a yearly fee of $10.

Still, Byrne said, the rate is competitive, and swimmers still continue to use the pool.

"We would understand if they wanted to move someplace else," she said, "but I don't think they would find a better deal."

Dominick Tao can be reached at dtao@sptimes.com or (727) 580-2951.

Writers group feels pinched by Largo fee increase 08/21/10 [Last modified: Saturday, August 21, 2010 4:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pinellas legislators talk governor's race, policy at delegation breakfast

    Blogs

    If anybody was expecting state Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, to quit being coy and and announce his bid for the 2018 governor's race to the friendly crowd at Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce's annual legislative delegation breakfast Wednesday, they left disappointed.

  2. DOT shows alternatives to former Tampa Bay Express toll lanes

    Transportation

    TAMPA — State transportation officials are evaluating at least a half-dozen alternatives to the controversial Tampa Bay interstate plan that they will workshop with the community for the next 18 months.

    Florida Department of Transportation consultant Brad Flom explains potential alternatives to adding toll lanes to Interstate 275 during a meeting Wednesday at DOT's Tampa office. Flom presented seven diagrams, all of which swapped toll lanes for transit, such as light rail or express bus, in the I-275 corridor from downtown Tampa to Bearss Ave. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON | Times]
  3. Florida Orchestra and Tampa Bay Master Chorale scrap search for a joint conductor

    Stage

    TAMPA — After a yearlong effort, the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay and the Florida Orchestra have abandoned their search for a conductor capable of leading both groups.

    Doreen Rao conducts a concert with the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus and Orchestra in December 2010. Photo by Enid Bloch.
  4. New in theaters July 4 weekend: 'Despicable Me 3,' 'Baby Driver,' 'The House,' 'The Beguiled'

    Movies

    OPENING Thursday:

    DESPICABLE ME 3

    One of Hollywood's most successful animation franchises isn't about "me" anymore; it's about them.

    Gru (Steve Carell) squares off against Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker) in Despicable Me 3.
  5. Uhurus cancel Baker protest

    Blogs

    Jesse Nevel's campaign had planned to stage an anti-Rick Baker protest outside the St. Petersburg Yacht Club this evening while Baker held a fundraiser inside.

    Now, that's not happening.

    Jesse Nevel's Uhuru-affiliated campaign postpones protest