New Pell City mayor, council officially take office

The new Pell City Council and mayor were sworn into office Nov. 7, 2016, at the Pell City Center for the Performing Arts. Members of the new administration are (from left) Council President and District 2 Councilman James McGowan, District 1 Councilman Jay Jenkins, Mayor Bill Pruitt, District 5 Councilman Jud Alverson, District 3 Councilman Blaine Henderson and District 4 Councilman Jason Mitcham.

PELL CITY - The council is considering a possible increase in facility rentals and youth sports fees for the recreation department.

“You can’t go through a 10- to 15-year period and not raise fees,” said Councilman Jay Jenkins after Parks and Recreation Director Bubba Edge addressed the municipality’s governing panel about a proposal to raise youth sports fees and rental fees at some city facilities.

City Manager Brian Muenger said city officials have discussed raising youth sports fees for the past three years.

“Nobody likes to go up on fees,” Muenger said, but he added an increase for youth sports is justifiable.

Edge said the cost of equipment, uniforms and supplies have increased each year, and it has been eight to 10 years since there has been an adjustment to youth sports fees.

“Everything we buy has gone up every year,” he said.

Muenger added the municipality has invested money to improve recreational facilities.

The Pell City Civic Center is being remodeled, and new tennis courts and new tennis building are being constructed. The municipality has also made recent improvements to the Pell City Sports Complex and to Pell City Lakeside Park.

Edge said the Parks and Recreation Department compared fees with five other cities: Ragland, Moody, Odenville, Springville and Leeds. With the exception of Ragland, all charge higher youth sports fees than Pell City, he said.

Edge said with the exception of Ragland, fees ranged from $140-$150 in other cities. He suggested fees for youth sports be raised to $125. Most of the current fees are set at $100. For children ages 3-4, baseball fees would jump from $45-$65 for spring play.

He proposed a “fall” baseball and softball fee of $100.

Edge also presented proposals for rental fee increases for rooms at the Civic Center, once the remodeling of that facility is completed.  

In the proposal, rent for the Civic Center banquet room will increase from $200-$250 per day, and rent for the gymnasium will increase from $300-$400 per day. Half-day rental fees for the conference room and the arts and crafts room will increase from $25-$50.

At Lakeside Park, Edge proposed the rental fee for the three small pavilions increase from $50-$100 a day, while the rental fee for the large pavilion would jump from $75-$150 a day. The rental fee for the Gazebo next to the lake would double, from $50-$100 a day.

For other facilities, in accordance with the proposal, the rental fee for the Ernest White Building would increase from $100-$150 a day; the 19th Street Rec Building would jump from $100-$200, and the Chapel in the Pines amphitheater would increase from $25-$100 a day.

Edge said the council would have to approve the fee and rental hikes. If it does, the changes would go into effect Jan. 1.