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DPR - Fee Increases

DPR - Fee Increases

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Published by NewsFromMelissa

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Published by: NewsFromMelissa on Jan 28, 2011
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Statement Regarding DPR’s Plan to Increase Recreation Center Fees
Submitted by Christine C. Quinn, Speaker, New York City Council andMelissa Mark-Viverito, Chair, Committee on Parks and Recreation andDomenic M. Recchia, Jr., Chair, Committee on Finance
We wish this statement to be included in the official record of this hearing. While weunderstand the difficult financial straits in which the City finds itself, as well as the needto generate revenues as a part of our overall budgetary solution, we believe the proposed plan to increase fees at Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) recreation centersshould be examined closely to ensure that no undue burden is placed on those who areleast able to pay such increases.The Mayor and many of his commissioners have worked tirelessly to promote healthier lifestyles in New York City. From banning smoking in restaurants and bars, tomandating that nutrition information be posted in fast food restaurants, to urging NewYorkers to exercise more frequently, the message has been consistent: “Be healthy!”This has been a central focus of our energies as well, as evidenced by the recent releaseof a Council report entitled “FoodWorks: A Vision to Improve NYC’s Food System,”that outlines concrete steps the City can take to increase the availability and consumptionof fresh foods.It is with this push toward healthier lifestyles as a backdrop that the November Planincluded a Program to Eliminate the Gap (PEG) designed to “generate additional revenue by increasing recreation center membership fees.” The original proposal called for theincrease to go into effect toward the end of Fiscal 2011, for a partial-year revenue gain of $1 million. Due to concerns about the potential adverse impact of this proposal, the CityCouncil reversed the Administration’s plan to initiate the fee increase in Fiscal 2011.Being discussed here today is the proposal to generate $4 million annually by enactingthe fee increase beginning July 1.People of all walks of life utilize City recreation centers, including those who presumablycould afford to join private gym clubs at substantially higher prices. They do this, inmany instances, because the centers are terrific, close to home, and offer programs of akind not offered at private gyms. Still, this population is not our major concern. Whatwe worry about is the cadre of lower- and middle-income New Yorkers who depend mostheavily on these low-cost centers, and who might be frozen out by what are projected to

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