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Council considers raising fees for Perry Lane Nursery School

Date: 9/15/2010

Sept. 15, 2010

By Katelyn Gendron

Reminder Assistant Editor

AGAWAM -- The Parks and Recreation Department has no choice but to raise fees for Perry Lane Nursery School next school year, according to the department's director, Christopher Sparks.

He's proposed a $10 increase per month for the two-day program, totaling $115 and a $15 bump to the three-day program for a sum of $145 per month, beginning in the 2011-2012 school year. The city council will consider the proposal at its next meeting on Sept. 20.

"We typically do fee increases every three years but because of the economy I didn't push for one last year," Sparks explained. "With the rising cost of everything, including salaries, we need to increase fees in order to keep the programs operating."

The fees cover the program's direct expenses such as staff salaries and materials for enrollees, he added, while the town covers all other costs.

Sparks noted the cost to attend Perry Lane Nursery School is still less than that of programs at the Westfield YMCA or the United Church in Wilbraham, which total $144 and $205 for their three day programs, respectively.

"It's just the cost of doing business," Mayor Richard Cohen said. "[We have] to keep up with the times ... while keeping in mind that it's a difficult time for everybody [economically]."

The mayor sponsored the resolution to increase the fees, currently before the city council.

City Councilor George Bitzas said he's not in favor of increasing fees.

"Fees are just another form of taxation," he added. "So far, I'm not in favor of the fees but I'm open minded about why the administration proposed these fee [increases]."

The council will consider the resolution at its Sept. 20 meeting at 7 p.m. at Agawam Middle School.

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