Rec Department Wants to Operate More Like a Business

The Boulder (Colo.) Parks and Recreation Department, in an attempt to operate more like a business, will ask the city council on Tuesday for permission to increase both fees and class sizes. This would mean moving to "service-based pricing," in which fees are set based on the cost of providing a particular service.

Under the proposal, the department would begin to classify programs similar to college courses, offering level 100, 200, 300 and 400 classes, according to a report in Boulder's Daily Camera. The Level 100 classes would include introductory or basic courses offered to any age group, with level 400 classes including things such as competitive adult sports or advanced classes. Only the level 100 programs would receive a tax-supported subsidy. All other classes would require participants to pay fees that cover the cost of administrative overhead, instructors and facility time.

Alice Guthrie, Boulder's recreation superintendent, told the paper that the city needs to make a "paradigm shift," because the recession has hit tax revenues hard in Boulder and other cities. "We have gotten subsidy from the general fund, but we've seen it decrease and we think we'll continue to see it decrease," she said.

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