Fee hikes dissuade caller from resuming summer dances in Bancroft

       Chalk up a new victim of this year's city budget malaise - square dances in Bancroft Park.
       Local caller Merell Folsom says that increased park rental costs are the reason he decided not to bring his Old Tyme Dancing back this year. Each of the past two years, he had used recorded music or teamed with local musicans Tom and Carol Beedle to lead four summer dances in the park for anyone willing to join in.
       To help City Council balance the 2009 city budget, City Parks raised its rental costs from $15 to $20 an hour at Bancroft, according to figures provided by Kim King of Parks. There are also new fees: $25 for “application processing” and $8 an hour for electricity, King said.
       The Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) merchants group has paid the rental cost for the past two years, but was not ready to cover the additional costs, Folsom said.
       He is not giving up entirely, however. He is looking into a possible arrangement to have the dances on the basketball court in Pleasant Valley's Westmoor Park; however, there would be no electricity or lighting.
       King said that for 2010 the city “will be reviewing fees and charges to determine whether a different fee structure would better serve the public, such as a profit versus non-profit rate or a fee structure based on the number of attendees anticipated for an event.”

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