Janesville73.5°

Fontana approves boosting beach access fees for 2011

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Kevin Hoffman
December 17, 2010
— The growing popularity of Fontana Beach prompted village board members to approve an admissions hike beginning next year.

The board followed recommendations from the finance committee and lakefront and harbor committee to raise ticket prices, docking fees and parking.


The increase wasn't approved to offset a loss in revenue but rather to draw additional funds after visitors packed the lakefront last year.


Approved for 2011:


-- Daily adult admission will increase from $6 to $7.


-- Seasonal non-resident admission for anyone 6 and older increases from $60 to $70.


-- A parking pay station will be installed, and hourly rates for all stalls will be $1.


-- Ramp and buoy fees will jump 4 percent, and pier slip fees increase about 24 percent to more than $2,700—the biggest of any change.


Beach revenue declined 13.3 percent from 2008 to 2009. The village budgeted in 2010 for $100,000 in revenue, but will finish with about $190,000 after what Village Administrator Kelly Haden said was one of the busiest seasons in recent memory.


The finance committee considered eliminating the reduced price of season passes for residents of the Big Foot High School District next year, but the idea later was tossed out.


"Basically, there's a need for more non-tax revenue in all communities, and (beach fees) are one of our sources of good, non-property tax revenue," village board President Arvid Petersen said.


"We're also proud to say we've been chosen by others around the state to be the best beach on Geneva Lake, and there's no reason why we can't make an extra buck on it," he said.


Fontana beach in July was named by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel as one of the best public beaches in Wisconsin.


Beach revenue for 2011 is expected to be around $140,000 with the new rates. Overall, village revenue still is projected to come in about 14.7 percent lower than this year, but Haden said that's because there is no borrowing.


Petersen said the last rate increase at the beach was in 2008 or 2009, when the village built a new facility, complete with showers, changing areas and restrooms.



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