Oak Creek recreation department fees may rise

Swim instruction, other activities may see fee increases

Feb. 19, 2013

Oak Creek residents may see an increase in many recreation department activity fees later this year.

The recreation department plans on increasing the fees for six activities, including picnic table rentals, swim instruction, martial arts instruction and various sports.

The increase is marginal and ranges from $1 for open basketball gym fees to a $6 increase in cheer classes. Most of the increases are aimed at breaking even for instructor, facility and equipment costs.

"The exception to covering our fees, facilities and instructors is the general recreation activities like the open basketball," said Mary Jane Trate, recreation manager for Oak Creek. "They are drop-in programs. Traditionally the council has looked at those as a service to the community. Those fees are kept really low and we pretty much cover the cost of the supervisor."

The proposed fee increases will be brought before the common council, who will review and have the power to change the costs before adopting them. The changes will not be officially acted upon in an open meeting, but will be added if there are no objections in the next two weeks.

Trate said that recreation fees have traditionally increased over the years to cover the rising cost of maintaining the programs. While the recreation department is subsidized by taxes, each program's primary funding comes through fees.

The cost for each program could go up or down based on several issues, ranging from Red Cross fees for baby-sitting programs to increased utility costs or federal minimum wage increases. Each program will be reviewed and, if expected to run a deficit, may have its fees increased.

Running programs without a deficit and maintaining competitive attendance with nearby communities is a balancing act for the recreation department, she added. If fees were to get too high, residents might go to Franklin or South Milwaukee for their recreational needs. If costs run too low, the program runs at a deficit, draining money from the department and the city.

Most of the programs affected by the increase won't start until fall or winter. Swim classes, which are seeing a $3 increase, won't be affected due to planned upgrades shutting down the Oak Creek High School pool for the summer.

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