Recreation programs belong to all PTC citizens

Tue, 06/02/2009 - 2:55pm
By: Letters to the ...

When I saw the title of the article in the paper last weekend, “PTC hikes Kedron pool fees, team fees untouched,” I knew the swim teams would probably once again be thrashed in the Free Speech section of the newspaper. We would probably be portrayed as people who are getting away with murder on what we pay to play.

I’m a little fed up with it. I am the parent of two swimmers, and my husband and I have to work hard to keep up with the costs associated with our children’s involvement in a competitive sport.

My hope is that after reading this, more people will understand why going from $5 to $32 per month per swimmer (or increasing my family’s yearly fees paid directly to the recreation department by 640 percent or $540 per year) is not only highway robbery, but madness in an economy like this.

After I put in a call to the PTC parks and recreation department, I now know what swimmers pay compared to all of the other sports.

Did you know that for soccer, baseball, basketball, lacrosse, football, track and all other field sports that each participant pays only $5 ($5 for in county, $10 for out of county) of his or her fees per season to the parks and recreation department for the use of its facilities?

That is not a per month charge, but per season, which usually spans two to three months of usage. That’s right. If you pay $220 for a season of Peachtree City Packers football for your son, only $5 of that goes to pay for the use of the field for the entire season.

The PTC Council seems to be stuck on how expensive the pool is, but let me remind everyone that these fields are not free. They are first of all large pieces of land that need to be paid for, policed and maintained, while the pool on the other hand takes up very little real estate.

The turf on these fields is treated monthly with fertilizer and weed control, and mowed continuously from spring to fall. This is very expensive upkeep if you have ever gotten an estimate for the small yard around your house.

To top it all off, if you are not playing for one of these teams, you are not allowed to use these fields. In contrast, the pool is used by every age group, and everyone in the community is welcome.

My family pays taxes to support all of these fields and facilities even though we will never even set foot on most of them, and we don’t mind it a bit. These fields, BMX track and pools are what people look for when they are looking for a new home. These services and facilities are what make PTC a nice community in which to live.

In conclusion, our pool fees are right in line and even as much as three times as much as other sports already. A swimmer pays $5 per month where all of the other sports pay from $2.50 to $1.67 per month.

We all know that tax revenues are down and costs are up, but a 640 percent, $540 per year increase is unbearable for my family and for all the other swim families.

I think almost anyone would be fine with small increases to help make up the deficit, but cost cuts must happen first. There are many efficiency and personnel cuts that can be made at the Kedron complex before any increase in fees should happen.

We certainly don’t mind paying a little more to use these facilities, but we want to know that the waste has been trimmed. Swim families, however, should not have to foot the entire bill for the parks and recreation department’s deficit.

A question for the PTC Council: If you suddenly find out your personal household is spending more than it is taking in, do you immediately go out and get a second job to make more money? Or do you try to decrease expenditures and make cuts first? Of course, you cut first.

Everyone who uses the various recreation facilities in PTC should chip in with small increases if need be, but we want to know our money is being spent wisely first.

I think anyone would agree that an extra $540 per year for my family and other swim families like mine is not a small “chip in,” and would likely cause great reductions in the number of children participating in swimming.

That, of course, would reduce the overall revenue that PTC is looking for (they would still have to look elsewhere for money) and would ruin the fabulous swim programs that currently exist in PTC. These facilities belong to all of us in PTC and we should support all of them.

As I think I have pointed out, in this economy the PTC parks and recreation department is financially an exceptionally good deal for all of our kids and their recreation needs even with some small increases in fees. Where else is there a place for our kids to have tons of fun and get physically fit for $1.67 to $5 a month?!

Andrea Schmid

Peachtree City, Ga.

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DarkMadam's picture
Submitted by DarkMadam on Thu, 06/04/2009 - 12:42pm.

Keep in mind that the Mayor and council will try anything, up to and including firing good honest hard-working employees to save money so that they will not have to raise the mil rate on property taxes by approximately $200 per household. However, this is where they stick it to ya! In the fees! (Not to mention their 100% pay increase starting on 01/01/10 that was voted in). There have been numerous complaints regarding not the aesthetics of the playing field grass but the safety issues from last year as well as this year. This move to farming it out was to save money. The current council has absolutely no concept of what it means to only spend what you have. I would love to get my hands on their personal finances. Bet they are in better shape. The only hope we have is if we vote in NEW, FRESH, blood to the council and DUMP all of the current dead weight. There is absolutely no hope for the current council. The only thing left that they can possibly really screw this city on is Callula Hills. If there is a way that they can line their own pockets by doing this - it is a done deal!

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