Cost to use county parks could be on rise 

As the county strives to keep up with the rising cost of living, fees for baseball, camping and photography could get more expensive at the county’s 17 parks this summer.

Parks fees for more than a dozen services could increase from $1 to $20 on July 1, bringing in an additional $3,700 a year, according to the county parks division. The Parks Department collects about $1.3 million from park entrance fees, group reservation fees and camping fees each year.

"Fees are being increased to keep up with the cost of doing business" including salaries and materials, Parks Department Director Dave Holland said. The increases are based on a 3.2 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index, commonly used as a bellwether for determining the cost of living.

Parks commissioners will vote on the increases at their meeting Thursday. If approved, the new fee schedule will be sent to the county Board of Supervisors for final approval in the coming weeks, officials said. One group likely to feel the pinch will be athletes in the Bay Area Men’s Senior Baseball League, who play at Flood Park in Menlo Park.

Practice reservations will creep up from $64 to $67 for adults, with games going from $125 to $130.

Kurt Lange, athletic director for Mid-Peninsula High School, which plays in the Christian Private School Athletic League at Flood Park, called the increases "fair."

"The field is comparable to some in Palo Alto, but the county staff prepare the field [at Flood Park], adding lines before games," Lange said. Not having to prepare the field himself saves more than 30 minutes, Lange said.

Jon Maples, Bay Area Senior Baseball League commissioner, hadn’t heard about the fee increases, but called them "manageable."

"The only things leagues have trouble with is when fees are doubled, like they were in San Francisco last year," Maples said. He said he was told last year’s huge increase was due to the fact the city hadn’t kept up with the market for a number of years.

To prevent such a startling jump, San Mateo County regularly reviews and adjusts it fees, said Julia Bott, executive director for the nonprofit county Parks and Recreation Foundation.

Under the proposed increases, changing a reservation would cost $10, up from $5. Berthing rates at the Parks Department-run Coyote Point Marina are also slated to increase from $7.12 to $7.29 per foot, bringing in just over $1 million, according to Holland.

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