City council discusses fees for recreational facilities

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – A pair of bills designed to help clarify when fees should be charged to use recreational facilities – and who should have to pay them – is being heard by the Honolulu City Council.

Currently, usage fees for city facilities are only charged when groups use certain sites, like district parks and gymnasiums, outside of normal operating hours, according to the Department of Parks and Recreation.

When regular staff members are not present, the Department must hire an attendant company to manage the facility while it is being used. The cost of the extra personnel is $15 per hour.

The Council wants to clarify who pays for the added expenses, and whether or not they are enough to keep the parks in good shape.

"The older my facilities get, the harder [they are] to maintain," Department of Parks and Recreation Director Gary Cabato said. "It's gonna cost me more money, more capital, not necessarily more staff, but it is going to cost me more money to maintain those things."

The Council is also debating whether or not to exempt certain non-profit organizations from having to pay to use those recreational facilities.

Cabato says that his goal is to make regulations regarding park fees as clear as possible.

"So what were planning on doing, after a good discussion with the parks committee, is to draft rules to be very specific on when we charge, who we charge, and what we charge," Cabato said.

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