Resolved: charging user fees for parks, pools, etc… is a fair, defensible way to mitigate the costs of maintaining and operating public venues.
Want to visit Saguaro National Park? $10 per car, or $25 for an annual pass.
Feel like a swim at one of Tucson Parks and Recreation pools? That will be one dollar, or $50 for an annual pass.
IMO, all of the above are fair, reasonable prices to pay.
At first glance, it can rankle when you have to pay “extra” for using a government-supported service. Don’t we already pay taxes for this sort of thing?
Yes, we do pay taxes. Lots of them. However, the quantity and quality of services we’ve come to expect from federal, state and local governments has always exceeded the revenues that government has available to pay for these services. Especially in economic times like these.
User fees are one way to help keep these public resources open and maintained, without raising taxes. Lower taxes…the conservative in me likes the sound of that.
User fees are also fair. As the name says, the user pays the fee. Unlike taxes, if you don’t use the service, you don’t have to pony up the extra cash to help pay for it.
Lastly, the user fees I’ve encountered in the Tucson area are more than reasonable. $25 for an annual pass to BOTH branches of Saguaro National Park? I’m a regular at the Clemens Recreation Center, a Parks and Recreation gym located on Pima Community College’s East Campus. The center offers a weight room with a fine array of equipment—for $1.25 a visit. That’s less than a Diet Pepsi at Circle K. $50 for an annual pass to the city’s pools—and only $14 for kids? In my book, that’s a deal!
But those are my thoughts on the matter—what are yours?
I’d like to hear from you about the subject of user fees for public venues, especially in the Tucson area. For instance:
- Do you think the whole concept of user fees for public resources is a fair one?
- Are there some user fees in Tucson venues that you think are too high?
- Are there some Tucson venues that are currently free, but shouldn’t be?
Those are just some suggested discussion points—anything related to user fees for public venues is fair game for this thread.
The floor is open!