News - April 13, 2011

Kids get more expensive as city raises service fees

by Sandy Brundage

Raising kids in Menlo Park just got more expensive. With little discussion, the Menlo Park City Council unanimously approved service fee increases on April 5 that will deliver an estimated $214,330 to the city's general fund.

Are you a zoning violator? Not cooperating with staff to fix the problem could now cost you $1,000.

Childcare at the Menlo Children's Center and Belle Haven School Age program increased 4 percent. A family that paid $1,651 for their child to attend five days a week, for example, will now pay $1,717 per month.

The city gains $170,925 annually, thanks to the increase.

Renting recreational facilities also got more expensive, with fee hikes ranging from 8.9 percent to 100 percent with the addition of new fees for areas such as the Maple, Oak, Juniper, and Willow rooms. Estimated gain for Menlo Park: $21,600.

Community sports leagues will also feel the financial squeeze, as their rates for field rentals and membership rise about 25 percent for all fields and youth teams. Adult fees increased about 2 percent, while gymnastics practice went up an average 5 percent per hour. Court time at the new Arrillaga Family Gymnasium now costs $70 per hour, an increase of 11.1 percent.

The city expects the recreation fee changes to add approximately $97,275 to its coffers.

And to make a sore point even worse, Menlo Park will ring in the New Year by charging $592 for a downtown parking permit, up $23, starting Jan. 1, 2012. If you drive off in anger and manage to strike a traffic signal pole, that also gets 10 percent more expensive, at $1,165 per hit.

The changes come as Menlo Park also figures out how to cut $1.3 million from its general fund budget, which will largely come from reducing personnel costs, according to a staff report presented at the March 15 council meeting.


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