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By: JENNIFER LEWINGTON AND JEFF GRAY
Published: FEBRUARY 6, 2008 AT 2:42 AM EST
Source: GLOBE AND MAIL
"politicians were in full retreat Tuesday amid vows to squelch dramatic recreation fee hikes proposed as part of this year's budget.
The backpedalling was sparked by a dawning realization that city staff had recommended jumps in permit fees for use of hockey rinks, pools and other facilities – on average 21.5 per cent – to staunch a chronic deficit in the cash-strapped recreation department.
At issue is $5.7-million in proposed new revenue, with $3.7-million from higher user fees on recreation programs (such as camps and swimming lessons) and $2-million from higher permit fees to rent ice rinks and soccer fields.
Proposed recreation program fee hikes were already under attack, but sharply higher permit fees were buried in background documents released last week when Mayor David Miller proudly unveiled the $8.2-billion operating budget – without the usual shortfall."