By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
The results of the Keizer parks survey are expected to be released at the Keizer City Council meeting Monday, April 3.
The survey took months to plan and Keizer residents had three-and-a-half months to respond to the query that asked about priorities for the city’s parks and support for a fee to create a dedicated parks fund.
The Keizer City Council meets at 7 p.m. at the Keizer Civic Center.
Members of the Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee discussed the results briefly at their March meeting and provided a glimpse of what the results are.
Parks board member Matt Lawyer, who has spearheaded the efforts to craft the survey and outreach, said only about 18 percent of respondents wanted no fee.
“That means 82 percent of the city (residents) support a fee at some level,” Lawyer said.
The meeting was held a day before the survey closed. About 1,000 surveys had been returned.
Lawyer added that the $2, $4 and $8 fee options received the most votes at that point in time. He added that the majority of responses had come from those age 55 and older.
“I think that’s a good indicator that people in this city recognize the need and are willing to move forward,” Lawyer said.
For the first time, parks board members suggested that the city could proceed with a weighted average amount for the fee.
“The council wouldn’t have to go with the amounts listed in the survey,” said Jim Taylor, a former city councilor and member of the parks board.
A weighted average would incorporate the level of support for each fee level into the calculation of the final dollar amount. Lawyer said the weighted average of the respondents at that time was, “Five dollars and some change.”
While there is no timetable for how soon the council might act on the survey results, there is a desire to get the discussion underway in advance of the budget-planning meetings that begin in early May.
“We want (the fee) to be part of budget discussions,” Lawyer said.
The council will hold a public hearing on the matter, but would need to provide public notice. The soonest available date would be the April 17 meeting.
To this point, the most talked about method of collecting the fee would be attaching it to water bills issued by the city. The council could choose to set it up as a separate bill, but that would incur additional costs.