Fremont City
California

Staff Report
3689

AMENDMENT TO CITY OF FREMONT MASTER FEE SCHEDULE - Amendment to the City of Fremont Master Fee Schedule Resolution to Update Certain Recreation Services Division Facility Use and Service Fees

Information

Department:Community ServicesSponsors:
Category:Fees & Rates

Item Discussion

Executive Summary: This item is before the City Council to consider amending the City of Fremont Master Fee Resolution to establish rental fees for the newly constructed Central Park Large Group Picnic Area and to recommend that the Director of Community Services be allowed to approve specific fee changes for Recreation Facility Fees and Activities in the Master Fee Resolution.

Body

BACKGROUND: On May 17, 2016, City Council adopted Resolution 2016-26 updating Master Fee Resolution 8672 which established user fees for the Recreation Services Division services and activities.  Staff is recommending amendments to the Master Fee Resolution in the following areas: establish rental fees for the newly constructed Central Park Large Group Picnic Area; allow the Director of Community Services or Designee to offer up to a 20% discount off the approved Central Park Group Picnic Area fees for any picnic area rental if they book a package to also provide City catering services; allow the Community Services Director to approve service fee increases to facility and user fees annually based on the published Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), San Francisco Bay Area index.

 

DISCUSSION/ANALYSIS: Pursuant to Government Code 50402, the City is authorized to establish fees for use of park facilities and services provided that the fees do not exceed the cost of providing such services.  The Recreation Services Division strives for cost recovery in its programs balanced with offering reasonable rates that are in line with other local institutions.

 

In December 1999, following the first complete review of existing use fees for Recreation Services Division facility use and services in 13 years, staff recognized the need to review fees more frequently and recommend incremental fee adjustments in order to maintain market and financial viability. The Recreation Services Division staff has since reviewed fees periodically and staff has recommended updating fees where market and other economic conditions support such actions, as well as recommending new fee categories as new facilities come on line.

 

A.     New Central Park Large Group Picnic Area

Facility space, especially for large groups, continues to be in high demand in the Bay Area. Since the opening of Aqua Adventure Waterpark in 2009, Recreation staff identified an increasing number of requests for a picnic area that can be rented by large groups and allow access to the waterpark and Central Park.  The Central Park Large Group Picnic Area project was approved in the FY2017/18 – 2021/22 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) and construction began in the summer of 2018.  Based on the Capital Improvement Project timeline, it is estimated that the Large Picnic area will open this summer.  This picnic area is a rentable space which can be accessed from Central Park (from the north), through the parking lot (from the east), and through a controlled access gate from the waterpark (from the south). The controlled access gate between the waterpark and picnic area will remain closed unless a rental is paying for waterpark access, there is a special event, or the Waterpark management determines that access to the picnic area will improve the customer experience.

 

The Central Park Large Group Picnic Area includes 50 shaded picnic tables, five (5) large barbeque grills, and two (2) lawn areas that can accommodate group games and activities. The area also includes a flat concrete stage area that can accommodate a small entertainment group or speaker podium and two (2) sand volleyball courts.  A covered buffet serving table is available for use as part of the catering packages.

 

The project also includes a kitchen building that contains an office, storage and restrooms.  This larger picnic area and the kitchen building will help meet the growing demand for a large group rental space and the food service/catering need in Central Park and Aqua Adventure Waterpark.

 

This site was designed for large family, corporate, and nonprofit groups. Central Park currently has 19 other picnic sites accommodating groups of 20 to 350, but this will be the only picnic area intended for groups up to 500. Staff is recommending that the Central Park Large Group Picnic Area booking window be staggered to allow first priority to these larger groups.  Reservations for the site will begin 12 months out and this booking window will remain open for 3 months to allow the marketing team time reach out to these larger groups. If the area is not rented by the deadline, the booking window will open for the next rental category as stated below. This recommendation is based on staff experience and the history of requests over the past several years.

 

Staff is proposing that the Central Park Large Group Picnic Area have the flexibility to be rented in the following ways:

 

1)  Full Area Rental:  Accommodating up to 500 guests, the full area will include 50 picnic tables with the stage area, barbecue grills, both grassy areas, volleyball courts (11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.), and the buffet shade. Annually, reservations for the full site will be open 12 months in advance.  Once the City Council approves the picnic area fees, the City will begin to accept reservations for Full Area Rentals.  

 

2)  Half Area Rental:  Accommodating 200 to 300 guests, each the half area rentals will be divided into two (2) sections: Area 1 includes 30 picnic tables and Area 2 includes 20 picnic tables.  Use of the stage area, barbecue grills, grassy areas, volleyball courts (11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.), and buffet shade will be scheduled and managed by staff with the first group who finalizes their rental having priority. Reservations for half sites will open up 9 months in advance.  Subsequent to the City Council approval of the picnic area fees, the City will begin to accept Half Area Rentals.  

 

3)  Section Area Rental:  Accommodating up to 100 guests each, the 5 separate sections will include 10 picnic tables and use of a barbecue. Use of the other amenities is not included. Reservations for sections will be open 2 months in advance.  In the first year, staff will remain flexible with the schedule based on construction completion. 

 

Based on the size, tables, amenities, and multiple group booking capabilities, staff recommends the Central Park Large Group Picnic Area per table fee be aligned with Group Picnic Area A and C located in Central Park near Lake Elizabeth.

 

When the Central Park Large Group Picnic Area or sand volleyball court is not rented it will be available for public drop-in use during Central Park operating hours. 

 

Approved Central Park Group Picnic Area A and Area C - Peak Rates

 

Area A

Area C

Area C1 or C2

 

 

25 Tables

28 Tables

14 Tables

 

Non-Profit*

$340

$380

$200

 

Resident

$660

$740

$400

 

Non-resident

$930

$1,040

$550

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proposed Central Park Group Picnic Area - Peak Rates

 

Whole

Area 1

Area 2

1/5 Area

 

50 Tables

30 Tables

20 Tables 

10 Tables 

Non-profit*

$680

$410

$270

$140

Resident

$1,320

$790

$530

$260

Non-resident

$1,860

$1,120

$740

$370

 

 

 

 

 

Approved Central Park Group Picnic Area A and Area C – Non-Peak Rates

 

Area A

Area C

Area C1 or C2

 

                    

25 Tables

28 Tables

14 Tables

 

Non-profit*

$90

$100

$50

 

Resident

$230

$260

$130

 

Non-resident

$340

$380

$190

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proposed Central Park Group Picnic Area - Non-Peak Rates

 

Whole

  Area 1

   Area 2

1/5 Area

 

50 Tables

30 Tables

20 Tables

10 Tables

Non-profit*

$200

$120

$80

$40

Resident

$460

$280

$180

$90

Non-resident

$680

$410

$270

$140

 

 

 

 

 

 

Items to Note

 

*Per approved Fee Schedule rate not available on Saturdays during peak season

Peak Season:  April – October

Non-Peak Season:  November - March

 

Sand Volleyball Court Rentals:  When the Central Park Large Group Picnic Area is reserved, the sand volleyball courts may also be rented by other groups prior to 11:00 a.m. and after 4:00 p.m. (rates are listed in the current Master Fee Resolution), or anytime the area is not rented during Central Park operating hours.  If the sand volleyball courts are not rented (per above), they will be available for public drop-in play.

 

B.     Community Services Department Director Authority to Adjust Certain Fees

 

1. Catering Package Discounts:  To encourage use of the City operated catering services (Central Park Catering and Events), staff is proposing that the Director of Community Services or Designee be able to offer up to a 20% discount off the approved Group Picnic Area fees for any picnic area rental if they book a package to also provide City catering and event services. Offering full service event planning that includes barbeque, team building activities, and discounted waterpark tickets has been well received by picnic planners and guests. The Recreation Cost Center has expanded its services over the years and now hosts 20-25 events annually in Central Park.

 

2. Annual CPI Service Cost Increase: Service costs have continued to increase. Over the last two fiscal years the San Francisco Bay Consumer Price Index (CPI) has risen by 3.8% and 3.2% annually. Locally, Alameda County Water District (ACWD) service charges increased by 20% on March 1, 2017 and 5% on March 1, 2018 and Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) has increased its pricing consistently year over year. In this same time frame the State Minimum Wage has increased from $10.00 per hour and will rise in Fremont to $15.00 per hour on July 1, 2020 with annual increases based on the local Consumer Price Index (CPI) in order to prevent inflation from eroding its value.  These cost increases have and will continue to impact City operational costs to afford recreational services.

 

To support a more flexible Master Fee schedule that is responsive to inflation related increases, staff is requesting that the Community Services Department Director be authorized to make fee changes to account for these expenses. This allows fees to increase responsively, as opposed to large swings that may place extreme pressure on the recreational enterprise operating model and be harder for facility users to absorb. The Community Services Director’s authority to raise fees annually would be established based on the most recently published Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), San Francisco Bay Area index. City Council authorization will be required for any fee adjustments greater than the CPI-U index or for any new or upgraded facilities.

 

Research Process and Market Analysis: Staff research and methodology has been directed at meeting three critical interests while ensuring fees do not exceed the reasonable cost to provide the services. The first interest is to ensure that fees are consistent with the external local market for similar services and consistent with internal pricing for like facilities. A second interest is to ensure that customer demand for service is met, while minimizing the impact on City resources. The third interest is ensuring that pricing is consistent with the City’s enterprise approach to doing business. These three interests were addressed as follows in the most recent fee review:

 

1) Market Consistency: In achieving internal and external market consistency, staff ensures that updated and new fees maintain a comparable position in the external market for similar facilities and services and are internally consistent with fees for similar City facilities/services. In order to determine external market consistency, picnic area rental fees and information was gathered from various private, municipal, and other public agencies.

 

2) Impact on City Resources: The proposed fees for the picnic area have no impacts on existing City resources with the possible exception of some nominal contract or staffing time associated with maintaining the new picnic area and restroom building.  The proposal to add an annual CPI increases at the discretion of the Community Services Director will help to ease the ongoing impact to City resources by generating additional revenue to offset increasing costs.   

 

3) Business Model/Cost Recovery: A third interest was ensuring that recommended fees were consistent with the City’s enterprise-based approach to doing business by recovering, but not exceeding, the actual costs for providing the service.  Recommended fees for the picnic area are aimed at meeting this interest by adjusting them to remain within the current market rate while taking into account cost recovery, affordability, and room to grow incrementally in subsequent years.

 

Recreation Commission Action:  At the February 20, 2019 Recreation Commission Meeting, the Recreation Commission unanimously recommended (7-0-0-0 vote) that the City Council amend the Master Fee Resolution in the following areas: establish rental fees for the newly constructed Central Park Large Group Picnic Area; authorize the Director of Community Services or Designee to offer up to a 20% discount off the approved Central Park Group Picnic Area fees for any picnic area rental if they book a package to also provide City catering services; authorize the Community Services Director to approve service fee increases to Recreation related facility and user fees annually based on the published Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), San Francisco Bay Area index.

 

Summary: Staff is recommending amendments to the Master Fee Resolution in the following areas: establish rental fees for the newly constructed Central Park Large Group Picnic Area; allow the Director of Community Services or Designee to offer up to a 20% discount off the approved Central Park Group Picnic Area fees for any picnic area rental if they book a package to also provide City catering services; allow the Community Services Director to approve service fee increases to Recreation facility and user fees annually based on the published Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), San Francisco Bay Area index.

 

FISCAL IMPACT:  N/A

 

ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW:  N/A

Document Comments

RECOMMENDATIONS:

1.              Adopt a resolution amending the Master Fee Resolution to reflect the changes in the Proposed Master Fee Schedule.

2.              Authorize the Director of Community Services or Designee to offer up to a 20% discount off the approved Central Park Group Picnic Area fees for any picnic area rental if they book a package to also provide City catering services.

3.              Authorize the Director of Community Services to approve service fee increases to Recreation facility and user fees annually based on the published Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), San Francisco Bay Area index for the Master Fee Schedule.