SOUTH OGDEN -- Recreation fees can be cut in half for children whose parents are on Medicare or Medicaid under a resolution passed by the city council.
If parents present a valid Medicare or Medicaid card when registering a child, the city will cut the cost in half. The resolution comes in response to increased inquiries from parents about fee reductions and waiver programs.
"The feedback we're receiving, particularly from our recreation department, is that with the tough economic times, we're seeing an increase in requests for different fee waivers for our programs," City Manager Matt Dixon said. "There's nothing the city has yet in the way of a policy on how to administer that, but it's obviously become necessary that we implement a consistent policy that's fair across the board."
Parks and Recreation Director Jon Andersen told the council that his staff has already seen nearly double the requests for waivers compared to all of last year.
"Typically we would see six to 10 all year," he said. "But in football alone we had 18."
Concerns were raised by council members about those families that applied for the federal aid programs but hadn't received their cards yet.
Andersen explained that because Medicare and Medicaid are renewed on a monthly basis, those seeking a waiver should have time to receive the cards and present them to the recreation office.
"Obviously we'll work with them if they don't have their cards yet," he said. "We can hold their registration until they produce it. We're not out there to turn anyone away. We want the program to succeed and all the youth to participate."
Andersen proposed the upcoming basketball season act as a trial for the waiver program, after which officials can re-evaluate how effective it was and decide whether it should be continued or other alternatives should be considered.
"As we did our research, we've come up with different variances on how to approach this, and we think this is a good start to set up a basic approach and go from there," he said.