Membership fees at The Keller Pointe could soon increase but not until City Council is provided with more details about specific financial needs of the facility.
On Nov. 19, council rejected the idea to increase the fees by 10 percent and tabled the item for a future meeting.
Dona Roth Kinney, director of parks and recreation, told council the fee increase was recommended as part of an operational audit conducted in December that also included recommendations for future operations.
Also considered was the removal of the annual sale, which gives non-residents discounts, and adding a summer pass option.
“Our membership fees have not increased in over six years,” Kinney said. “We’ve had only had one price increase since we opened in 2004.”
Kinney said additional revenue with the fee increase is estimated at $105,000 if membership levels stayed the same.
Estimated membership decreases considered were six percent of residents and 10 percent of non-residents, which would lower the revenue to $15,000, Kinney said.
“We looked at a five percent increase initially,” she said. “And if we were looking at those same attrition rates we would actually be losing money.”
Kinney said raising the fee of non-residents to decrease the amount of attendance is needed because the facility is reaching capacity level.
Mayor Pat McGrail said he couldn’t support a 10 percent increase to residents but could agree to increase non-resident fees to 10 percent, as well as remove the annual sale.
“I’ve always been offended by this sale because basically we give the people in North Fort Worth or wherever the opportunity to use our facility for the same price as Keller residents,” McGrail said. “I think that’s wrong ... there’s no reason why people in North Fort Worth, who don’t generate any taxes, should get to pay the same as Keller residents.”
McGrail said a five percent increase to residents is the maximum that he could support.
Councilman Doug Miller said increasing fees and removing the annual sale at the same time would not allow for exact tracking of why the member withdrew.
“Doing them both at once, you will not have any numbers,” Miller said. “I would like to see it tiered, take it one thing at a time ... and then adjust for a rate increase down the road. That way we can track our attrition rate.”
Miller also voiced concerns about additional parks and recreation items on the agenda including $2.2 million for The Keller Pointe expansion and $1.2 million for Bear Creek Park renovations, projects proposed to be funded from debt issuance.
“I hate to go out there and say we’re going to do all of this at once, and then also, let’s throw in some construction in the middle of it,” he said. “Let’s disrupt the flow of people working out because we are doing construction at the same time. Was it construction that kept people away, was it the price increase, was it the sale?”
Miller said he could not support spending almost $4 million on the expansion and renovations without public input.
“We haven’t heard from the citizens on these items,” he said. “I think the citizens need to have a voice.”