Parks commissioner says sticker fees necessary to protect resources

Recently, residents have inquired as to why the Parks and Recreation Commission elected to implement a five dollar fee for park stickers in the Town of Trumbull. The genesis of this decision came through discussions that the Parks and Recreation Commission has had over the last several years concerning out-of-town residents who are using our parks. In some instances, they are not only utilizing our park system but also misusing the park system. The commission became concerned by the fact that residents were paying taxes to maintain a beautiful park system that was being misused by others.

The commission discussed various alternatives to better police the park system and prevent out-of-town residents from taking advantage of town resources and services at the expense of the Trumbull taxpayers. The commission previously requested line item expenditures that would allow for additional manpower to police the park system. This request for additional manpower would have come through more park rangers. This would have represented significant cost to the Trumbull taxpayers — much more than any $5 sticker fee. The commission is of the unanimous consensus that Trumbull residents should have the right of first refusal to use our park system and I am sure everyone can agree that Trumbull taxpayers should not be subsidizing, through increased property taxes, the cost of additional manpower to police our park system.

The commission concluded that the parking sticker fee was the least cost-inhibitive in allowing for appropriate policing. The commission and the department have determined that between 1,800 to 2,000 out-of-town residents use our park system between Memorial Day and Labor Day. It is also significant to note that many other neighboring municipalities have a fee for a park sticker and in many instances, those fees are much greater than the Town of Trumbull.

We can all agree that our parks system, like our school system, is a tremendous asset that makes Trumbull a community of choice in the State of Connecticut. Would Trumbull taxpayers rather spend $5 to make sure our parks are appropriately policed, or would they rather have their property taxes raised an additional $40 a year to make sure adequate manpower is in place to properly police our park system? Every resident in the Town of Trumbull pays property taxes, two thirds of which goes toward our public school system. Trumbull has generous tax relief program for our senior citizens, that is provided for in our annual operating budget and funded by Trumbull taxpayers. If we are willing to allow all of our residents to pay for a good public school system and senior citizen tax relief, we should all be willing to pay for a park system that we as residents use and enjoy on a regular basis.

The Parks and Recreation Commission welcomes any additional feedback from the residents of Trumbull as to how we can continue to maintain one of the best parks systems in Connecticut, for the benefit of our residents.

Robert Ferrigno

Chairman, Parks and Recreation Commission