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HAMBURG BOARD VOTES TO INCREASE RECREATION FEES

It's going to cost a little bit more next year to play a round of golf on Boston State Road, skate around the ice rink at the former Nike base, or bask in the sun at Hamburg Town Beach.

A round of golf at the town course will cost 50 cents to $1 more in 2003. Public skating sessions will increase 50 cents. And resident parking permits for the beach will double in price, to $10.

At the suggestion of the Recreation Advisory Board, the Town Board voted Monday to raise many of the recreation fees for residents and nonresidents alike, citing shrinking resources elsewhere in the budget.

Plus, the time was ripe.

"In general, fees were raised just because they hadn't been raised in a number of years," said Martin Denecke, the town's recreation director.

Since 1993, for instance, golfers have been paying $16 to rent a cart to play 18 holes. Next year, that will increase to $18.

Among the fees to go up the most are those for the challenge level golf league, which began last year for kids who had progressed through the start smart, tee level, and green level golf lessons.

This year, residents and non-residents paid $10 for the challenge level golf league, which offers youth the chance to play matches with kids from other courses. Next year, town residents will pay $55, and nonresidents will pay $75.

"It was started as a pilot program, and then when we saw how much time went into it, we had to raise the rates," Denecke said.

Fees for start smart golf lessons, for 5- to 7-year-olds, will triple, to $30, for residents, and quadruple, to $40, for nonresidents. That program also began this year. Golf lessons for children at other levels will also increase by $10 to $25.

The $5 increase for a permit at the town beach -- which is open to residents use only because of deed restrictions -- is likely to affect the most people. This year, the town issued 3,359 beach permits. If that number stays the same next year, the town will collect nearly $17,000 more on beach fees alone.

Any extra money raised by the new fees will go back into the town's general fund, along with many of the other increased fees, Denecke said. Revenues from the golf course, though, can be earmarked for improvements at the golf course.

e-mail: mpasciak@buffnews.com

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