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County considers changes to pavilion, light fees

For the first time in about a decade, the county is considering raising user fees for pavilions in Hernando parks and changing the way athletic leagues pay for electric lights.

Parks and Recreation Department director Pat Fagan said the changes are needed in order to keep pace with park system expenses. Rather than an increase that affects all park users, he said it was decided that those who use specific amenities should be charged more.

It has been about 10 years since the fee schedule has been revised, he said.

"It is getting very costly," Fagan said of managing the county's 20-plus developed parks. "And we have to generate more revenue to offset those costs."

Under the proposal, which county commissioners will vote on today, the fee for pavilions in county parks, where people hold weddings and parties, is being raised from $20 to $30 for up to four hours of use. The fee for more than four hours would be $50 rather than $30.

Groups and individuals also will be charged more for the use of large spaces such as the Community Activity Center in downtown Brooksville and the Kennedy Park recreation building. The first hour of use will be $50 instead of $40, and each additional hour will be $20 instead of $15. Rental for kitchen facilities will be $50 a day instead of $30.

Security and key deposits also would increase.

Currently, area athletic leagues that hold night matches are charged an hourly fee for their actual electricity use. That approach eats up staff time because they must read meters at fields, Fagan said.

He is proposing that leagues pay an annual flat fee for lights based on the last 2{ years of electricity use, plus 5 percent.

The commission will vote on the revised fees as part of its consent agenda, and no public hearing is scheduled. However, residents can talk about any issue during the meeting's public comment period.

Will Van Sant can be reached at (352) 754-6127 or vansantsptimes.com.

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