RARITAN TWP., N.J. – The township committee has set - for the moment – the fees for men’s and women’s basketball for the recreation department at $80 and $125, respectively.

The fees were approved at the committee’s recent meeting as part of a larger resolution setting fees for other programs in the department.

But it was the fee for women’s basketball that caught the attention of vice mayor Karen Gilbert, who said the fee is “considerably higher” compared to the men’s fee.

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“I’m guessing it has to do with the facility they use,” she said.  

Gilbert proposed that the fee be on even footing with the men.

“If we want to meet in the middle, add more to the men’s, subtract from the women’s, come up with what will be like $105, $110 or something like that, that’s what I would propose,” she said.

Committeeman Lou Reiner concurred based on the need “to avoid the perception” that men and women are being treated differently.

Mayor Jeff Kuhl said there must be a reason for the discrepancy.

Township administrator Don Hutchins said the fees were charged last year when the township operated a joint recreation department with Flemington Borough, and that they can be revisited annually if not sooner.

“There won’t be any men’s or women’s basketball until next winter,” he said, while adding that the resolution was just to get a fee schedule on the books for summer intercession that begins in a couple of months.  “This resolution you will see numerous times throughout the year based on current costs of the programs,” he added.

Kuhl recommended getting a report from the new formed recreation department on why there is a fee discrepancy between men’s and women’s basketball so the matter can be re-examined later.

Gilbert said she doesn’t have a problem with revisiting the issue later, but does have a problem “with just saying ‘it’s always been done this way.’”  She added that reviewing fee schedules were never part of the “course of business” during her time as liaison to parks and recreation.

“I was not aware of the fact that women paid more,” she added, “otherwise, I would have raised that issue years ago.”

Even though the fees were unanimously approved, the committee plans to revisit the matter later this year.
 
In other business, members renewed the township’s agreement with Comcast to provide cable television and communications service for another decade.

The ordinance passed 4-1.

Reiner, the lone no vote on the measure, encouraged residents to seek alternatives to Comcast, like DirecTV. In fact, he was so eager to vote no on the deal, he did so during a vote to hold a public hearing on the resolution.  

He changed his vote to yes in favor of opening the ordinance to a hearing, though no public comment was given.

Before his official ‘no’ vote, Reiner suggested residents “seriously consider electing the option of DirecTV.”

“There aren’t a whole lot of options available,” he added. “[Mayor Kuhl] had it correct, we are over a barrel with Comcast.”