(SALEM) - The gate fee charged to people visiting Delaney Park helps the county cover costs of operating the park.
Marcia Walker, of the Salem Tribune reports, even people planning to dine at the park restaurant are charged, although those people pay a reduced rate, $2 as opposed to $4.
The restaurant is no longer operated by the county.
During the May 15 park board meeting, board member Lester Sowder suggested eliminating the reduced fee for diners because he had received many complaints about it. But Eric Worley, another board member, said the fee was established as a way to protect both taxpayers and taxpayers' dollars.
"Too many people come in and go all over the park and enjoy it," Worley said.
Worley said when he explains to people why the fee is in place, they are understanding. He also said the board needs to stand by the decisions it makes and questioned whether the people making the complaints even visited the park.
"We don't make decisions based on a handful of people jumping up and down, we're here to make decisions about what's best for the park," Worley said. "We make decisions to protect the park and protect tax dollars."
Worley pointed out if the fee was of concern to the person leasing the restaurant, he would be complaining to the board.
"He's not jumping up and down . . . here's not here and he's not complaining . . . I don't think we have an issue," Worley said.
Board member Scott Vannoy agreed, noting that different options regarding the fee had been discussed.
"We made a decision and we need to stick to it," Vannoy said.
Several board members mentioned that a gate fee is charged at state parks with restaurants, such as Spring Mill.
Jerome Losson, manager of the park, said he had no issues with the fee.
Bobby Martin, a candidate for county commissioner, asked about a refund policy for people who documented visiting the restaurant. Board members explained the regulations of the State Board of Accounts prohibit refunds from being paid out.
Sowder made a motion to eliminate the fee, but it died for lack of a second.
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