Rec Center ‘sliding scale’ fee schedule approved
The City Council approved a new “sliding scale” fee schedule for the Sanibel Recreation Center, which will continue to provide financial assistance for those in need.
The financial assistance program was established by the City Council for the Sanibel Recreation Department’s after school programs, summer camp programs, holiday programs and similar programs offered during and after the school year. The amount of financial assistance one receives is determined by a sliding fee scale, which is based on an annual income.
The approved sliding fee scale for annual household income range is as follows: 80 percent for $0 to $33,500; 75 percent for $33,500-$43,500; 70 percent for $43,501-$53,500; 65 percent for $53,501-$63,500 and 60 percent for $63,501-$73,500.
Chairman of Financial Assistance Committee Barry Roth said they had been very blessed with their fundraising efforts from 2009 to 2013.
“We raised a substantial amount of money. The first year was $35,000. We raised $43,000 and continuing onwards,” he said. “The goal was not only to have money for the current program, the current financial assistance for those in need, but also to have a reserve.”
There is currently $165,000 in reserves. Roth said it is one of few self-sustaining programs.
“What that means for all of us is that if we have a recession, heaven forbid, again, we will be able to fund this program for the next seven to eight years,” he said.
Roth said they award $40,000 a year in assistance with only about $30,000 being used.
“The child gets into the program, the money follows the child. We don’t preclude anyone from getting in and the parent is advised with what the percentage will be for financial assistance,” he said.
Throughout the years, Roth said they have amended the sliding scale fee to make certain they can accommodate and get a greater amount of the percentage to the fee.
“Everyone must have at least 20 percent, the minimum someone is required to put in. So, in other words, you may get 80 percent of the fee and you put up 20 percent and that is paid over a long course of time. You can have 12 weeks of summer camp, you may be responsible for $20 a week, but you can pay that gradually,” Roth said. “It has basically been a very accommodating program.”
The current proposed sliding fee scale, he said is a substantial increase. He said before the new scale was approved 80 percent was for those who earned up to $28,500, compared to the new scale of $0 to $33,500 a year.
“We have increased this to accommodate these applicants, so they can afford to participate in the programs,” Roth said. “When it’s all said and done it’s still the best program that City Council has provided over the years.”