Sunday, October 14, 2018

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Menomonie parks and rec service fees to rise

Some hikes to be small while other programs won’t see increase at all

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MENOMONIE — The City Council unanimously approved changes to some service fees related to Parks and Recreation Department programs for 2018.

Parks and recreation director Gary Barnett said this isn’t an across-the-board percentage increase for all programs. The plan uses a formula based on employee wages, program supplies and rent for facilities.

The cost of most programs will increase slightly, in some cases a dollar or two. The cost of some programs won’t rise at all.

Some city programs haven’t seen adjustments in more than 10 years. Barnett said the fee adjustments were needed now for a potential wage increase to the staff.

The fee adjustments only apply to recreation, aquatics and leisure service center programs. Last year, these programs made a total revenue of more than $344,000.

Councilwoman Mary Solberg asked if options are available to children and families who can’t afford to participate in a program.

Barnett said people aren’t excluded from programs because of financial hardship. If the department comes across a family who can’t afford a program, he said, they will be offered a payment schedule over a period of months.

City Administrator Lowell Prange informed council members that at the next council meeting they will discuss the pilot program for on-leash dogs in city parks.

The program is set to expire at the end of March. It was approved by the council in June with the intention that it would be reviewed when it ended.

The pilot program allowed for owners to walk their animals on a leash no longer than 8 feet and required that pets be under the owner’s control. Radio collars are not allowed. Animals must be kept 20 feet from established playground areas, athletic fields, tennis and pickleball courts or Wakanda Waterpark. Excrement from the animals must be cleaned up and disposed of properly.

Prange said the council will have the option to vote on whether the city should move forward with drafting an ordinance to make all city parks on-leash dog parks.

Barnett said he hasn’t received any complaints about the pilot program.

Contact: 715-830-5840,, @BenRueter on Twitter

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