Forest Grove Aquatic Center fees to increase
Goin' up — that's what most user fees at the Forest Grove Aquatic Center will be doing this summer.
The Forest Grove City Council unanimously approved a 3.5 percent across-the-board increase in fees at its meeting Monday evening, April 23.
For city residents, family memberships will go up from $148 per year to $153.50, while families outside the city will see an increase from $201 to $208. Drop-in, pool rental and other costs are increasing as well.
City staff proposed the increase to help pay for increasing operating costs at the Aquatic Center. Those are being driven largely by a rising minimum wage, which will tick upward from $11.25 per hour to $12 per hour on July 1, as noted by a memorandum City Manager Jesse VanderZanden submitted to the City Council in advance of Monday's meeting.
The 3.5 percent in fees has been rounded up or down to avoid "creating change issues," according to VanderZanden.
The council did agree unanimously on one more alteration to the fee schedule: extending a senior discount that also applied to disabled veterans to be available to all veterans. Forest Grove Mayor Pete Truax, who is a veteran, proposed the change.
Tom Gamble, Forest Grove's parks and recreation director, said staff will want to see confirmation from users that they are entitled to the veteran discount.
"Logically, we want them to show something that says they are, because you know, unfortunately, people look for advantages when they may or may not be quite up-front with us about that," Gamble said.
The changes are effective July 1.
As in other jurisdictions, Forest Grove periodically raises rates and fees for city services to keep up with rising overhead costs. The City Council unanimously approved a 3 percent increase in electricity rates earlier this year, citing increases in employee defined benefit expenditures and wholesale power costs.
"I don't think we take this lightly," Truax said. "We understand the impact that it has on the residents of Forest Grove. But we also need to understand that not doing that action has an impact on those of us that provide the services to the people of Forest Grove. So it's, I think, an action that we don't take lightly, but it's an action that we take understanding that there is a service that this city provides, and this city needs to be compensated for that particular service."
Editor's note: This story has been updated to include the Forest Grove mayor's first name and title.
By Mark Miller
Editor, Forest Grove News-Times
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