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ORANGE : Recreation Program Fee Hikes Considered

Because of continuing budget problems, the city soon may start charging higher fees for recreation programs.

City officials do not have a breakdown of potential increases yet but say the fee hikes will be designed to help the Recreation Department break even on some city-sponsored activities.

The city’s recreation activities and athletic programs cost about $850,000 a year to run but take in about $482,000. City programs that cannot recoup their large expenses--such as the summer playground project, which costs about $35,000 annually to operate--will be the most likely targets of increases, officials said.

This year, funding for the Recreation Department already has been cut by about $1 million. Despite those cuts and personnel layoffs, the city still faces a $2.1-million budget deficit this year.

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