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Our View: Mohave County is raising fees at its county parks. Good.

November 20, 2018

A day out at the Hualapais or Davis Camp is going to cost you a little extra. And that’s a good thing. Hualapai Mountain Park, near Kingman, and Davis Camp, near Bullhead, are showing their age — 80 and 70 years old, respectively — and county officials say the costs of park maintenance are straining their budgets.

Furthermore, while the two parks are operated by Mohave County, they’re both heavily used by visitors who don’t pay the taxes used to support these aging parks.

According to county officials, Mohave County parks have seen annual increases in total visitors from Arizona and out of state.

The increase has caused added wear on restrooms, overnight sites, lodging and trails, while subsequently raising the cost of utilities for parks including trash collection and electricity.

The county hopes the increased fees will fund an effort to modernize park grounds and infrastructure, and to provide additional amenities for visitors.

That’s why Mohave County Supervisors approved a fee increase earlier this month raising the day use fee from $7 to $10 per vehicle. That would cover up to four people per visit. Launch fees at Davis Camp will rise from $12 to $15. Camping fees at both locations will be raised from $17 to $20, and from $25 to $30 for RVs.

Importantly, the new fee schedule will not change the cost of county resident annual passes, but will eliminate the non-county resident annual pass. Non-residents who want to visit the parks instead will have to buy a day pass or a new summer weekend pass if they visit between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

The fees would allow the county to build a maintenance reserve and modernize infrastructure at the parks, improve customer service and increase capacity to accommodate more visitors.

Increased fees and taxes usually get plenty of skepticism in this space, but this is a case where the largest users of these facilities, and not local taxpayers in general, will pay the bulk of the costs of maintaining them. That’s just smart governance.

— Today’s News-Herald

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