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Billings fees to park downtown and swim at public pools increase

Posted at 3:44 PM, Jul 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-14 17:44:30-04

In a few weeks, people will pay about 25 cents more to park downtown and prices are going up by $1 at Rose and South Park pools after a unanimous decision from the Billings City Council on Monday.

The increased rates came after the Council directed city staff in June to find different ways to generate revenue and shore up the budget in 2021. All together, the city estimates to bring in an additional $170,000 per year from the fees this year.

With parking, the fee increase would help the city's parking division become self-sufficient, no longer relying on the downtown tax increment finance district for financial assistance, according to parking division manager Tracy Scott.

Starting Aug. 1, parking rates at the meters downtown will increase 25 cents on the first two hours parked, totaling $1.25 per hour. The maximum third hour will increase 50 cents, totaling $2.50.

The city expects an additional $78,000 per year will be made by the parking division as a result of the changes.

The increase may also give way to some improvements to the downtown parking system, Scott said.

“The increase in revenue would also give us the opportunity to improve our parking operations with projects such as enhanced lighting, additional cameras, installation of parking sensors just to name a few," Scott told the council.

According to the Council agenda, the last significant change to the downtown parking rates occurred in 2016, then charging $1 for each of the first two hours parked.

Billings Parks and Recreation will also see fee increases immediately, according to the resolution passed at the meeting.

The price to rent a park or neighborhood shelter increased between $10-$50, depending on the type of shelter.

Notably, all types of admission to Rose and South Park pools will be increased by $1 from their current rates. The price of a season pass jumped by about $10 at South Park and increased about $20 at Rose, depending on the age of the pass holder.

Parks and Recreation Director Mike Whitaker said most of the parks' fees were established in 2014.

The city expects to bring in an additional $85,000 per year on the parks fee increases.

To read a full list of the Parks and Recreation fee increases, click here.

The final fee increase came to the Mountainview Cemetery, owned and operated by the city. A 10 percent overall increase on burial cost was added by unanimous council approval. The last fee increase came to the cemetery in 2016.

RELATED: Billings City Council passes 2021 budget expecting to use $700,000 from reserves