Council Offers Sneak Peek at Chatham Borough 2013 Fees

Credits: TAP Staff

CHATHAM BOROUGH, NJ - The borough council gave a sneak peek of some fee schedules that came out of preliminary 2013 budget discussions that began in September.  

Council President James Lonergan briefed the public at the council’s Monday, Oct. 22 meeting, saying that the council should have a better idea of where fees stand next month. 

Memorial Park Pool fees will remain the same as this year for borough residents. Non-borough member fees will rise for individuals from $150.00 to $175.00 and non-borough senior citizen member fees will rise from $90 to $105.  

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Lonergan said that the borough was not looking to make a lot of money.  “We just want everybody to be happy and enjoying it,” he said. Noting that the pool turned a profit this year, he said he expected even more members to join next summer. The pool will also offer a limited membership to accommodate people who only want to join for the season’s last couple of weeks. The rate was not announced.

Water usage rates were increased last year and set for two years. “So that carries forward,” said Lonergan, adding that it was “running right at budget.” 

Turning to the sewer fee, Lonergan said it was too early to call.  “We’ll have to look at the revenue against expenses. In December, we will know,” he said.

The 2013 parking fee schedule was set in last year’s budget at $425 for a yearly parking pass at the main lot near the train station. The 2012 parking pass is $385. In 2011, it was $355. The Council will sett the 2014 parking fee schedule in the upcoming budget.

Opening the recreation fee discussion, Lonergan said, “It’s a user-based fee. It’s not funded by taxpayers.” The recreation department charges a $15 maintenance fee for each child per sport per season to maintain the fields and support capital projects.  

In the past couple of years, the recreation department has moved toward a club-based program, essentially ”putting more control into the hands of parents, who were running it anyway,” said Lonergan.  

At the end of the year, the head of each sports program comes before the recreation advisory board with its P&L sheet to reset its fee. The Recreation Advisory Board sanctions the fee if it’s “fair and equitable,” said Lonergan, adding, “They have to justify the expense.”

Lonergan pointed out that girls field hockey will see a fee increase next year because it is a skill-based sport and trainers will be hired to teach.

Tennis fees will remain the same. 

“Our goal is to break even, not make money," said Lonergan. "We’re only covering costs."

Spring sports clubs will come before the advisory board during the next two months.

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