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Cary Officials Considering Increasing Fees For Use Of Parks

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CARY, N.C. — The Cary Town Council is considering increasing user fees for some of its parks.

One of the council's goals is to make facilities such as the Sk8-Cary Skate Park and SAS Soccer Park more self-sufficient so taxpayers aren't left paying the entire tab.

But maintenance costs are rising fast in a tight budget year, and something has to give, some town officials said.

"We're faced with a straightforward decision," said Nels Roseland, a member of the Cary Town Council. "We either reduce park services, we adjust fees, or we increase property taxes. None of those are popular."

Roseland said of the three options, raising user fees makes the most sense. Even with a user-fee increase, he said, Cary parks would still be a bargain.

Cary hasn't raised user fees for its parks in at least six years.

"Parks add to quality of life," said Marsha Anderson, a resident of Cary. "And if you want to have a higher quality of life, you have to pay for it."

Some other Cary residents said they don't mind paying to use the parks, but they said the whole town should support the parks through taxes.

"If people are out here, they're not doing other things that could be getting them into trouble. Everybody benefits from that," Pamela Meek of Cary said. "So I think it's important the town supports these parks."

The issue will come up in the town council's budget discussions for fiscal year 2006, which will heat up next month.