Camden Snow Bowl lodge rental fees increase
The select board approved an increase to rental rates charged for the lodge at Camden Snow Bowl during a regular meeting Sept. 18.
Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Kuller said rates have remained flat during his entire tenure of eight years and possibly 10 years or longer. Current rates will increase to $500 per day on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays but decrease to $300 per day Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays in an effort to encourage more weekday activity, particularly during summer months, Kuller said. Nonprofit organizations also will see an increase of $100 per day to $300 for weekends while the rate remains the same at $200 per day during the week. A refundable deposit of $100 toward heat and cleaning will remain in place, Kuller said.
Kuler also presented a proposal to create a 3-hour meeting rate to allow rental of the space for meetings without use of the kitchen for a fee of $100.
“It's light lifting for the staff,” he said, referring to setting up and cleaning after meeting-type events compared to larger events such as weddings.
Kuller said the increases are, in part, based on other area facility fees.
“I think the market should determine the fee,” he said, adding a higher price could turn away potential renters. “[And] it's a service for the community.”
Selectman Don White suggested future collection of numbers to show what it costs to staff each type and length of event as well as number of people served, information Kuller said he does not currently track. Selectman John French agreed and said fees for use of the lodge should, at the least, cover the costs of hosting.
“You have the hard costs,” he said. “Now all you've got to do is figure out the time and you could come up with an average.”
French encouraged consideration of a lower fee for Camden residents, pointing out taxpayers ultimately absorb costs at the town-owned facility; however, Kuller stressed the difficulty in enforcing such a rule. He implied groups of people may try to circumvent the residency requirement by sending a Camden resident to pay the bill, citing cases of a high school reunion. The suggestion did not gain traction with other selectmen and a motion to approve the increased fees for the next 12 months was approved on the condition staffing and equipment costs are tracked to allow for a more educated decision in the future.
“I don't have a problem with renting it, I just don't want to give it away,” French said.
Selectmen did not specify the date on which the increased fees will take effect.