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Trillium Ford

User groups not keen to collect out of town user fee

Posted March 20, 2017

New Tecumseth's Parks, Recreation and Culture department is having a difficult time collecting a newly enforced non-resident surcharge because the organizations are balking at playing the role of collection agency.

The 20 per cent non-resident fee was to be applied to all non-residents utilizing the Town's parks, recreation and culture facilities effective September 1, 2016. This includes all memberships, registrations, social rentals, and group parks and facility bookings.

An update of the situation on tonight's council agenda includes the free formula:

The report by Patrick D’Almada Director of Parks, Recreation and Culture, notes the Town invoiced $26,944.37. Of that, $19,197 remains in arrears. The majority of the fees in arrears for the fall of 2016 are from larger user groups including TNT Minor Hockey, the Alliston Hornets, and New Tecumseth Civics. Though Mr. D'Almada's report does not list which groups owe what, one of them owes 59 per cent or $16,019.69 of the outstanding amount.

Ryan Wood, of the New Tecumseth Civics hockey organization, told Free Press Online the team paid its non-resident fees on the gym memberships "but haven't on our Ice."

"I don't agree with this policy as the Ice costs are already higher then other townships close to us and this wasn't presented to us before we could include the additional cost in our budget for this season," Mr. Wood said via email.

Last November, TNT Minor Hockey president Donna Horan, whose organization estimates about 33 per cent of its players are from outside New Tecumseth - the OMHA determines player boundaries - told council the surcharge would add approximately $200 to the registration costs.

Ms. Horan also echoed the similar lines from the various groups who said the September implementation date was after their registrations were over leaving them to go back and ask for the additional fees.

Clay Birkett, Director of Hockey Operations for the Alliston Hornets told Free Press Online they're opposed to the surcharge and how it's being implemented.

"How do you go back to TNT and ask for non-resident fees? If you want or expect them, that should have been upfront not just billed at a later date," said Mr. Birkett. "Makes no sense to me. They .... didnt get flesh from the townships, now they want the people to pay."

The fees are due March 31 "and are not included in the amounts
owing in the attachment, nor discussed in this report, as these will be addressed at the end of the winter season," according to Mr. D'Almada's report.

"A survey of 19 municipalities by the Central Ontario Facility Coordinators Association shows that none of the municipalities charge a non-resident fee for (block permit user groups), while all charge a NR fee for registration, memberships and social rentals."

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All stories, unless otherwise noted,
by Tony Veltri
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