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Commissioners reject propssosed price increase for county’s 2014 summer camps for kids

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By Ramsey Scott

The Jeffco commissioners have rejected a proposed price increase for the county’s 2014 summer camps for kids that would have raised fees between $10 and $35.  

The two programs, operated through Jeffco’s Colorado State University Extension, provide week-long day camps that focus on scientific learning and outdoor experiences.

The 4-H and environmental camps currently cost $160 for the week for students in third, fourth and fifth grades. A sixth-grade camp, which was added in 2013 as a pilot program, currently costs $185 for the week. About 700 kids attend the camps throughout the summer.

The commissioners had been presented with two options for fee increases. The first would have raised fees for all grade levels to $195 for the week. The second proposal would have only added $10 to the cost.

The goal of the increase was to keep the camps from having to rely on the county’s general fund to subsidize the programs. The increase to $195 for all grades would have raised revenues by about $18,000. The other option would have raised an additional $6,000.

The increase would have still left Jeffco’s camps near the bottom in terms of cost. Similar camps in Golden, Boulder and Denver average about $300 for the week. 

“This doesn’t even put us in the middle. We’re still below the middle,” said Jacki Paone, director of Jeffco’s CSU Extension. 

Yet for the commissioners, who have all expressed a desire to trim the county’s budget, boosting camp fees wasn’t a good solution. While the camps offer scholarships, the Commissioners wanted to wait a year to make sure the scholarship funds could cover any student who couldn’t afford the increase.

“I don’t want to make any type of a fee a hurdle or an impediment. Whether it be Boy Scouts, whether it be 4-H, whether it be anything,” said County Commissioner Don Rosier. “Sometimes 20 bucks can be an impediment; it’s hard for me to say, ‘Let’s raise it.’ ”

The commissioners now will be asked to approve supplemental funding for Jeffco Parks and Open Space next year. to compensate for the fees remaining stable. Parks and Open Space had included the increase when it projected revenues for 2014. 

Contact Ramsey Scott at ramsey@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 22 and follow him on Twitter @RamseyColumbine.