BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KFTA) — The new year is bringing non-resident fees up for Bentonville Parks and Recreation programs, leaving some parents with multiple kids frustrated about the costs.
But the city says its hands are tied.
Non-residents will pay an additional $25 for any program with a registration fee of $75 or less.
Any program over $75 will be charged an additional $40.
City officials have discussed increasing the fees for at least two years.
Parks and Recreation Director David Wright says this decision didn’t come easy.
“We’re forced to begin to charge because when you look at the number of recreation participants in our city, which last year was more than 232,000 participants, 52% of those participants are non-Bentonville residents.”
Wright says that adds $155,000 to the operational budget, and the additional fees are a necessity to cover maintenance costs for fields.
“When you play soccer, your $75/85 it cost to participate — it pays your uniform, it pays your supplemental insurance. It pays your officials to officiate the soccer games. It does not pay for the maintenance of those parks or the utilities of those lots,” Wright said.
But one mother, Silvy Kehrli, says although she lives outside of Bentonville city limits, her kids still go to Bentonville Schools and feel apart of the community.
“When you have four kids who are playing soccer and they’re charged an extra $40 fee per kid on top of already paying $85 per kid, we’re looking at $160 extra dollars for soccer this year for my boys,” Kehrli said. “I suggested that Bentonville Parks and Recreation waives the non-residents fees for students who are enrolled in Bentonville Public Schools because at the end of the day this is really hurting the kids.”
The Parks and Recreation department, according to Wright, is funded by sales tax dollars and recreation program revenue.
“What you’re paying that is going to Bentonville as a non-resident is you’re paying property tax that is going to the school district. The city doesn’t really receive that,” Wright said.
Making this a tough situation for all involved.
Wright adds, “this was something that we’ve really known for a couple of years was coming, and put it off as long as we could because it’s not really anything we want to do.”
Registration for baseball and softball is now open.
Program^Resident Fee^Nonresident Fee
• Adult tennis^$80^$120
• Tennis lessons^$55^$80
• Youth tennis^$95^$135
• Youth football^$70^$95
• Youth lacrosse^$85^$125
• Youth soccer^$85^$125
• Youth softball^$80^$120
• Youth baseball^$85^$125
• Camp Adventure^$95^$135
• Camp Archery^$95^$135
• Camp Lacrosse^$75^$115
• Camp Lifeguard^$50^$75
• Camp Memorial^$85^$125
• Camp Mountain Bike^$70^$95
• Camp Soccer^$150^$190
• Camp Tennis^$125^$165
• Camp Triathlon^$60^$85