Council raises rec fees, citing minimum wage increase

VISTA — The Vista City Council in a 4-1 vote passed the decision to raise rates for certain recreation and community service programs, with Councilwoman Amanda Rigby opposing.

In the new year, Vistans will see a price jump such as a $5 increase in fees for family season passes and season passes at the Wave Waterpark. For playgoers, a rise in ticket costs at the Moonlight Amphitheatre will take place for selected seats and days of the week. A higher price tag for city rental facilities such as the Rancho Buena Vista Adobe and Gloria McClellan Adult Activity and Resource Center will also go into effect.

Rigby unsuccessfully tried to exclude any rate hikes for seniors and the military. At the Gloria McClellan Center, the Out and About Program aimed at providing transportation for seniors will have a slight surge.

Council members were reluctant to raise the fees but said they saw no way around it, since a trickle-down effect from the state minimum wage increase of 50 cents is going into effect on Jan. 1, 2018.

“I don’t want to raise rates on seniors for anything or the military for anything,” Deputy Mayor John Franklin said to Rigby. “I wish we could afford to just give it all to them for free. I honestly do.”

Franklin said it is better to have consistent small increases as a way to avoid substantial increases that come out-of-the-blue. While he said he understood and felt the same as Rigby, Franklin did vote for the rate changes.

“I am generally supportive of these slow and steady increases rather than the spikes,” he said. “I think in past years we did a lot of spikes. And in other cities, we do see these big spikes, and they really make people unhappy — I just like to avoid those.”

Rigby wanted to make it very clear to Vistans that any increase is due to outside stressors, which in this case is the state of California. Rigby said she wants Vista residents to be able to read about the price change when purchasing their tickets at The Wave Waterpark or Moonlight Amphitheatre. 

“Nobody wants to raise rates if we don’t have to,” Councilman John Aguilera said. “Obviously, we do if we want to run efficiently, and at least try to get close to funding ourselves.”

After the meeting, Andrea McCullough, city of Vista communications officer, said Vista residents would be informed of any rate increases at the beginning of the new year through the city’s weekly email updates. Signage will also be present at places such as the Wave Waterpark explaining how any price increase is a direct result of the state’s minimum wage increase. 

McCullough also pointed out that the military will still be able to purchase a Moonlight Amphitheatre ticket for $8. Any prices raised at the Gloria McClellan center will be incremental for seniors, she added.

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