City Council Compromises on Fees for Senior Citizens

December 10, 2013

Senior citizens can choose to opt out of a new fee increase for using the West U Rec Center, under a fee schedule approved 4-1 Monday night by the West University Place City Council.

The controversial proposal, which was opposed by Mayor Pro Tem Susan Sample, does not apply to the use of the Colonial Park pool.

Seniors who do not ask for a waiver will be charged a fee that is 50 percent of the standard fee for resident Rec Center users. That fee increase will apply only to seniors between the ages of 65 and 74 years old. Older residents will automatically be exempt.

City Manager Michael Ross said that he had expected the revised proposal to be “a slam dunk” for the council,  because the fee can be waived without any reason. Any senior resident can fill out a request for a fee waiver, without stating a reason, and it will be granted, Ross said.

But, some senior citizens complained that a waiver form for no fee was “demeaning” to seniors, who have never paid fees for the Rec Center.

Ross said the original proposal, which included a fee for seniors using Colonial Park pool was changed to keep the swimming pool free for West U’s older residents. Many grandparents use the pool to swim with visiting grandchildren, he said. There will be no fee for seniors at the swimming pool, Ross said.

The council unanimously approved three other “housekeeping” matters relating to the appointment of Dr. James McCarthy as medical director for the West U Fire Department, as well as actions relating to municipal court personnel and the city’s annual contract for mowing and landscaping.