(Oregonian (Portland, OR) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Aug. 11--The Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District Board of Directors approved a gradual decrease in its senior citizen discount at the Aug. 11 meeting.
Starting in January, the district will begin to phase in a decrease in the discount and an increase in the qualifying age to receive it.
Currently, those 55 years or older get a 25 percent discount on THPRD passes, drop-in programs and pre-registration classes. The discount at the Elsie Stuhr Center on Hall Boulevard is 30 percent, though it drops to 25 percent in January. The center is geared toward those 55 or older.
Starting with registration for 2015 summer classes and programs, the THPRD senior discount will be 20 percent. It will then drop to 15 percent in 2016 and to 10 percent in 2017.
The age needed to qualify for the discount will increase to 65 over three years, though the exact timeline wasn't immediately clear.
The initial recommendation was to increase the qualifying age over 10 years.
However, THPRD Director Larry Pelatt disagreed with the phase-in timelines for the discount and qualifying age changes.
"The (phasing) is way too long," he said. "At some point, you just do something."
After some discussion, Director and Secretary Pro-Tempore Jerry Jones Jr. suggested the faster implementation timeline for the age qualification, which the board then approved.
The district's Service and Financial Sustainability Plan had called for the review of discounts, according to documents. The district put together an in-house team to research the topic and surveyed other park and recreation organizations.
THPRD also hosted community meetings and surveyed patrons. According to documents, 39 percent of those who responded wanted to keep the senior age at 55. Thirty percent supported increasing the age to 65. When asked about the level of the discount, 59 percent of respondents supported a 20 percent discount, and 25 percent supported a 10 percent discount.
In addition to altering the senior discount, the board voted to approve a 10 percent discount for those with special needs and for specific special needs programs. The class fee for specific special needs programs currently includes a 40 percent discount, which will decrease on the same schedule as the senior discount.
The board also approved an additional 10 percent discount for military personnel and their dependents, effective Jan. 1.
Patrons cannot receive more than one discount, according to documents.
In other news:
--Directors approved a change in out-of-district fee procedures. Beginning Jan. 1, out-of-district patrons can choose to pay a 25 percent premium on services instead of purchasing a paid assessment. Also, out-of-district walk-in registration will change to 8 a.m. Tuesdays, and the delay for online and phone-in registration will change to 48 hours.
--Directors approved a master plan for the Jackie Husen Park Expansion. The 0.96-acre expansion will include a play area, sport court, and community garden. The park is at 10875 N.W. Reeves St.
--Directors approved a change in public contracting rules to encourage providing opportunities to Minority, Women and Emerging Small Businesses, or MWESB.
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