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PAXTON — The Paxton Park District’s board of commissioners Tuesday increased fees for the 2020 youth basketball season.

“With increases in operating costs and the imminent minimum-wage increase, we needed to take a hard look at increasing some of our youth sports registration costs, beginning with the upcoming youth basketball program,” said Neal McKenry, the park district’s recreation director. “Even with these increases, the park district’s fees are still below the local average for both residents and non-residents.

“One can expect more minimal increases in fees for other major youth programs in the near future,” McKenry continued. “However, the board will wait to approve those fees once registration is set to begin for a respective activity.”

The fee for a Paxton resident in kindergarten or first grade to participate in youth basketball will be $40 — a $5 increase. A non-resident living in the Paxton-Buckley-Loda school district will be charged $50 — a $10 increase — and a non-resident living outside of the PBL school district will be charged $55 — a $15 increase.

For Paxton residents in second grade and up, the fee is $45 — a $5 increase. A non-resident living in the Paxton-Buckley-Loda school district will be charged $55 — a $10 increase — and a non-resident living outside of the PBL district will be charged $60 — a $15 increase.

Currently, a Paxton resident has been charged a $35 or $40 registration fee, depending on the grade of the child.

“Those fees have been pretty much the same for at least the past eight years, seeing only a $2 increase in 2014,” McKenry said. “After researching six other Central Illinois park districts and parks and recreation agencies, we found the average resident rate to be $51. Paxton, along with Rantoul, have the two lowest fees from the group researched. Non-Paxton residents were charged an extra $5 in the past, making their registration cost either $40 or $45. We found the average non-resident fee for youth basketball to be $63.”

In the past, the typical non-resident fee for most programs in the park district has been an extra $5 compared with residents’ fees.

“(For) non-Paxton residents, who do not pay taxes that go toward the park district, a $10 upcharge is still well within the norm,” McKenry said. “Other agencies’ charge as much as an additional 50 percent on top of the resident fee.”  

The non-district fee for those who live outside the PBL school district will only apply to the basketball program.

“This fee will help goes toward the cost of the park district’s annual facility-usage fee paid to the PBL school district,” McKenry said. “As Paxton residents, taxpayers are already indirectly paying for this facility-usage fee. As a resident of the PBL district, a taxpayer would also already be paying in terms of annual wear and tear on the facility. So we felt it prudent to ask non-residents who are also non-district participants to pay into those costs, as well.”

Paxton Community Sale set

In other news, the park board scheduled its annual Paxton Community Sale for Saturday, April 4.  

“We wanted to decide plenty early so that in case there was no interest in hosting it, then there would be the potential of another agency or organization running it,” McKenry said. “If the board elected not to host it in 2020, the justification would have been there based on recent years’ profits being much lower than average.  

The board wants to put a focus on increasing local advertising for the 2020 sale, in hopes to increase awareness and sales.

“If anyone would like to get involved with helping with the sale, even with the intentions of possibly taking it over in the future and moving its location, we would be happy to have the help,” McKenry said. “One thing we hear every year is people wish the sale was uptown, like it was back in the day. The thing is, we no longer live back in the day and as the one and only sponsor, the park district cannot just move it uptown on their own. So if someone has a strong enough desire to move it back uptown, we will be glad to help in the transition.”   

Other business

Also at Tuesday’s meeting:

➜ The board discussed purchases necessary for Clara Peterson Elementary School’s gym but took no action.

➜ Adult basketball and adult volleyball registration is currently ongoing, the board learned.

➜ The annual Halloween parade, sponsored by the park district and WPXN-Radio, was scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31. Details can be found on the park district’s Facebook page. Other Halloween activities include a pumpkin-decorating contest and a fall tea time on Oct. 26. Children will receive more information at school.