Raising fees at Tulsa Parks and recreation facilities

Thursday, January 24th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A higher fee for all, the Tulsa city council is considering raising the prices at Tulsa Parks and Recreation facilities. The cost of traffic tickets has already increased - both part of the effort to help the city meet its budget needs.

The city can make money by raising sales taxes - or by raising utility fees - but both are politically unpopular and affect everyone. Or they can increase what they charge to get into the zoo, or to rent a city shelter in a park. Most people won't complain about those increases - and it only affects those who use them, and that was what was before the council Thursday night.

The City of Tulsa manages 140 parks and nature centers - the most popular of which is the Tulsa Zoo. So when City budget planners need to boost the bottom line - charging more for the people who use the parks is a logical choice. The city's budget crunch hit about the same time was city was considering raising fees anyway. Bob Lemons, Interim Parks Director: “We really try to have the users of our facilities pay a certain proportion of the costs of providing that facility to them and it's been several years since we've had a fee increase in any of our park facilities.”

In many cases - the fees will go up by only a dollar - at the zoo - adult admission would be $6 instead of $5. At Oxley nature Center, $2 instead of $1. At swimming pools - fees would stay the same and at city golf courses prices would go down - a round of golf at Mohawk Park would cost $3 less.

Traffic fines have already increased - along with court costs, most by $5 per ticket - and only on moving violations - not parking tickets. That too came after a review of what other cities charge. Anne Thompson, Court Administrator: "Basically we found we were a little lower than Oklahoma City and Tulsa County for the same kind of misdemeanor offenses so we just moved our fines and fees in line with what we saw in Oklahoma City."

Tulsa's parks are popular - and most activities are free - only places that already charge a fee would charge more.