RENO — Reno officials are looking at raising parks and recreation fees to help with the $2.7 million the city’s department has to pay in raises to minimum wage employees in the coming years.
The minimum wage increase signed by Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak last year gradually raises Nevada’s minimum wage, starting with a 75-cent increase in July.
That will raise the hourly minimum wage to $8 for workers who get health insurance through their employer and $9 for those who don’t.
The law will gradually raise the hourly wage to $11 for those with health benefits and $12 for those without by 2024.
Reno budget analysts have estimated that the new law will cost the city’s parks and recreation department, which relies on minimum wage workers, $2.7 million over the next five years.
“It’s definitely a tough position to be in,” Parks and Recreation Director Jaime Schroeder said. “We can’t ignore this issue we have with the minimum wage increase.”
Schroeder suggested to the city council this week that Reno consider raising fees for a variety of recreation services, the Reno Gazette Journal reported.
The proposed increases include hiking the cost of a senior citizen day pass to a recreation center to $4 up from $1 over four years; raising softball league registration fees to $595 from $575,
The proposal also includes raising fees for after-school programs, swim passes, facility rentals and ultimate Frisbee games.
Councilman Devon Reese said he’d prefer to see the budget not raise fees on seniors and groups like the working poor. Councilwoman Neoma Jardon suggested looking at raising the age for the senior discount to 55 from 50 and partnering with private businesses to fund programs.
Donna Clontz, chair of the Reno Senior Citizen Advisory Committee, said seniors on a fixed income and need the recreation opportunities.
“We love it here. We’re enjoying our programs. We can afford what it is right now,” she said, according to KRNV-TV.
Schroeder said the proposed fee increases are “a starting point” and said the department will ask for input from the community and council over the next few months.