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Speak Out on Proposed Fairfax Park Fee Hikes Wednesday

Proposal would impact garden plot program, racquetball rentals and more in Fairfax County.

The Fairfax County Park Authority wants residents’ input on a package of proposed fees hikes for park services that would take effect April 1.

Park Authority officials will hear from residents at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Herrity Building, 12055 Government Center Parkway.

In light of continued budget struggles, parks officials are hoping to make slight adjustments to fees in order to raise revenues and keep facilities such golf courses and recreation centers – funded solely by user fees – operating at full capacity.

The most dramatic fee hike: those for the garden plot program, which would more than double, according to the 2013 fee proposal.

As it stands, garden plot users pay $65 for a plot. Fees on the plots, which exists at nine parks in Fairfax County, including Nottoway Park in Vienna, would increase to $125, an increased phased in over three years at about $20 a year.

Other proposed adjustments would impact golf course greens fees, recreation center rentals, lakefront park services and picnic shelter reservations at certain county facilities.

In 2013, racquetball court rental fees for general admission users could increase from $4 to $6 at Oakton's Oak Marr Recreation Center and other rec centers. A 10-hour court pass would increase from $20 to $35. But regular recreation center users with passes will be spared any racquetball fee increases.

Click here for more information on the proposed 2013 park fees.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is awaiting an audit that could identify potential cuts to the park authority's operating budget. As it stands, fees make up 52 percent of the authority's revenues; tax dollars comprise the other 48 percent.

Supervisors said they did not want to explore cuts that would dramatically affect the operation and maintenance of the county’s 420 public parks.

In November's general elections, more than 72 percent of voters said yes to a $75 million bond that will used to fund widespread improvements to a number of Fairfax County parks.

Do you have something to say about the proposed increases? The Park Authority is hosting a public hearing on its fee package at 7 p.m. Wednesday in room 106 of the Herrity Building at 12055 Government Center Parkway.

Residents will be given the opportunity to voice their opinions and concerns on the new fees at that time.

If you are unable to attend the meeting, you can send feedback via email at Parkmail@fairfaxcounty.gov. All comments must be received by Feb. 12.

Correction: The article has been corrected to reflect a proposed garden plot fee increase of $20 a year over three years, raising the fee to $125.

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