Council Backpedals on 50% Campground Fee Hike

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February 26, 2010 by   - () Leave a Comment

Scenes from the publicly owned RV park in Beaver, Ark.

After numerous complaints about increased fees at the RV park, the Beaver, Ark., city council members said during their 2010 budget discussion Feb. 15 that they will look at lowering fees for the upcoming season, according to the Lovely County Citizen, Eureka Springs, Ark.

Linus and Media Shockley, park attendants, said people had complained about the high fees, and reservations had decreased because of it.

Alderman Debbie Lester said she had also received complaints.

The council passed more than 50% rate hikes last year for day use, the season pass, RV hookups, tent sites and the dump station. The campground offers 32 RV sites and 10 for tents.

Attorney Bill Hill, who drew up the rate hike proposal, said operational expenses for the park had gone up over what they had been in 2006 and 2007. The park was closed in 2008 due to severe flood damage.

Last year, the council felt the rate hikes were not too high, compared to other parks they had seen.

Also driving the rate discussion last year was the high cost of pumping the park's five sewage holding tanks. The park has no drain field because it is too close to the lake, so tanks must be pumped frequently, and costs have risen steadily.

In 2007, it cost $7,000 to pump the tanks.

Complaints about fees last year also hinged on the park closing down the use of showers and flush toilets and putting in portable toilets instead.

Last year's fees went up as follows: day use from $3 to $5; season pass from $12 to $30; RV site full hookup from $22 to $45 for 30 amp and $50 for 50 amp; electric/water hookup only from $15 to $30; tent site from $7 to $15, with additional tents from $5 to $10; and dump station from $10 to $20.

Lester suggested the park do away with showers and flush toilets permanently, keep the portable toilets and lower fees across the board.

"We need more backup information," said Alderman Pamela Teslow.

Media Shockley also said people had complained about the park being closed in October, and they would have had several reservations.

"Were there enough to warrant having it open in October?" asked Mayor Mary Hill. "Because in 2007, there weren't."

The council tabled the fees and closing date discussion until next month's meeting, when they plan to look at the 2010 park budget.

They did vote to contract with the Shockleys again this year as park managers, with a provision to consider a bonus at the end of the year if revenues and performance warrant it. They also said they would look at paying the relief attendants a stipend. Traditionally the relief received a free RV campsite in exchange for their work, but the relief did not use the campsite last year, and the Shockleys paid them out of their own pocket.

"You shouldn't have to do that," said Lester.

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