Galt wants non-residents to come here and spend money.
That was the sentiment following a staff report at last Tuesday's City Council meeting.
The city has been looking at ways to raise Parks and Recreation Department revenue and attract more customers to Galt businesses. An outside consultant was hired to look at trends and make recommendations to retain existing customers, attract new ones and increase operational efficiency.
Based on this, trustees voted to eliminated non-resident fees for recreational programs and services such as facility rentals. The thinking is, why should people who live outside city limits pay more for a program already valued at a set price?
Additionally, the task of determining residency can be tedious for staff, according to consultant Barry Weis.
Without this requirement, the Parks and Recreation Department can instead focus on marketing its current programs and developing new ones, he said.
The city currently offers classes such as youth T-ball and adult volleyball.
"Wow, what a great strategy regarding the non-resident fees," Councilman Mike Singleton said at the meeting. "That's like putting up a big stop sign saying, 'We don't want you here.' How come we didn't do this before?"
Another way the department is enhancing Parks and Recreation service is the launch of online course registration. That effort was detailed in a council report last month, and is now available on the city's website.
On Tuesday, the council also voted to create a scholarship program to ensure residents can afford to participate in local programs, and decrease the cost of some facility rentals with hopes of drawing more interest.
The primary goal of the study was to increase participation in the city recreation programs and potentially increase revenues, according to City Manager Jason Behrmann.
"Non-resident fees create an obstacle to participation," he said in an email.
"We are also reducing our fees for the rental of the sports complex to get more tournaments which will help support our local businesses."
Participants in softball tournaments, for example, bring their entire families who might require not only a meal or two and a hotel room, but could patronize other businesses which boosts revenue citywide, according to Weiss.
Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.