The American family is not the only unit financially struggling in a tough economy; local recreation areas are also feeling the sting of the recession.
After much deliberation and reluctance Tuesday morning, Brazil Park Board members are considering raising the park recreation rates to make up for a weak budget.
Board members met for a working session at the big concession stand in Forest Park to discuss possible changes and solutions for the budget problem.
"This is out of necessity to survive," Park Board member Linda Messmer explained. "We are trying to find a way to make cuts and still provide the best safe, fun place for entertainment, but we can only do as much as we can afford to do."
Messmer and other board members said the budget problems stemmed from added expenses incurred when their insurance premiums for workman's compensation increased from $6,000 to slightly less than $17,000, with another expected increase to $18,000 next year.
The Park Board operated this year with a budget of $228,000.
According to Park Board President Ruthann Jeffries, they also received roll over money from a previous year totaling $26,000, making the total budget approximately $254,000.
But board members say they've had to take responsibility for many unexpected expenses.
"Our budget comes from property taxes, our revenue and a few other things," Jeffries said. "If we want to increase our budget to provide what we usually do, we have to bring in more revenue."
To increase park revenues, board members are considering raising recreational rates within the park.
The following is a list of suggested pricing modifications being considered:
* Individual single-day pool passes are currently $2.50, and may be raised to $2.75,
* Single season pass rates will not increase, remaining at $60,
* Family season pool passes are $120, plus $15 per person for a family of five or more, and may increase to $150, plus $15 per person for a family of five or more,
* Pool party rates are as follows, 1-100 people for $160, 101-250 people for $180 and 251-500 people for $270. The rates may rise to 1-75 people for $160, 76-150 people for $220 and 151 plus people for $290,
* Swimming lessons may see a $5 increase from $35 to $40,
* Senior citizen pool admission rates may raise from $1 to $2,
* Renting a park shelter, gazebo or a pavilion quarter is currently $30 plus tax, but could raise to $35 plus tax,
* Renting the Cow Palace as a whole may increase from $100 plus tax to $130 plus tax,
* Reserving the band shell could raise from $50 to $100, and
* The board is considering closing the comfort station from January to February.
None of these price increases are in effect, and current pricing will remain stable throughout the remainder of this year.
The board members will discuss and vote on the 2012 budget during the next meeting.
Board members are still debating conserving electrical energy and saving money by turning off overhead lights throughout the park.
The board is concerned doing so would open the park up to further vandalism, and they said their main concern was safety.
"We are going to table the issue for further investigation," Jeffries said.
The meeting was open to the public, however, no community members were in attendance.
The Brazil Parks Board meets the second Tuesday of each month in Brazil City Hall, at 7 p.m.
The next regular meeting is scheduled for Oct. 4, and is open to the public.