For Immediate ReleaseFebruary 04, 2015
Public comment invited before and during public hearing February 24
San Rafael, CA – By this summer, many Marin County Parks visitor fees will be reduced or eliminated to fulfill a promise made to voters if a proposed fee schedule is approved later this month.
The Marin County Board of Supervisors will consider the schedule at a public hearing at 10:30 a.m. February 24 in the Board Chambers of the Marin County Civic Center. The proposed fee schedule reflects an overall decrease in fees charged for visitor use at County parks.
“When Measure A was passed, we made a promise to reduce entrance fees to make the parks more affordable,” said Linda Dahl, Director of Marin County Parks. “After months of study, we’re ready to recommend a set of changes that include reducing and eliminating some fees.”
The fee changes, which would be implemented July 1 if approved, consist of the following elements:
Bicycle and walk-in entry fees will be eliminated. The current $2 fee has been a challenge for staff to collect and enforce. Elimination of the fees promotes healthful exercise and potentially reduces motor vehicle travel to the parks.
Summer weekday fees will be reduced. While many County parks are filled to near capacity on summer weekends, summer weekday use is often low. By reducing summer weekday fees from $8 to $5 and charging a $5 summer weekday fee on Fridays (compared to the current weekend fee of $10), Marin County Parks seeks to encourage and increase weekday use. The fee reduction also has the effect of encouraging park visitation by those who are economically disadvantaged.
Special event fee of $400-$800 will be changed to a $250 application fee. This change makes the fee structure for privately sponsored special events more transparent and consistent. To discourage speculative reservations that prevent others with solid plans to book a date, $100 of the application fee will be nonrefundable.
Security deposit for special events will increase from $250 to $1,500. The new procedures require the permit holder to limit the number of attendees to ensure park rules are followed. Also, the permit holder would have to provide an adequate number of portable toilets, provide law enforcement if needed for security reasons, and provide parking attendants if needed. Costs could be deducted from the deposit of the requirements are not met.
Commercial vendor fee will change from 15 percent of sales to $75 per vendor. The 15 percent of sales fee was challenging to track and was rarely applied. The new fee will be easier to implement consistently.
Marin County Parks estimates that these changes could reduce revenues by $11,000 per year. However, increased visitation on weekdays coupled with cost recovery associated with the increased security deposit could offset some or all of the potential revenue loss.
A complete list of all fee changes can be found in a staff report, attachment and draft resolution approved by the Supervisors on February 3. Send feedback to Parks staff via the department’s website.
Max KortenDirectorMarin County Parks
Marin Civic CenterSuite 260San Rafael, CA 94903(415) 473-6387Email: Max Kortenwww.marincountyparks.org