Central Park, College Station, TX
State budget cuts have forced many county commissioners to reevaluate their budgets. Some have been searching for areas to cut and new ways to generate revenue. In Washington County, that could mean charging people to use public parks.
Washington County commissioners voted to draft a proposal that would charge people $40 a year to use the county's parks. The only commissioner against the issue was District 3 representative, Charles Brock.
"What else are people going to have to pay for, libraries? That's the only thing left in the County" Brock said.
Brock told us the board made a hasty decision before considering the impact the ordinance could have on people inside and outside of Washington County. He said many questions were left unanswered.
"What parks do you pay for? Parks with water connected to them or without [water] connected? I've just never heard of charging people to walk [in a park]" Brock said.
He also questioned how the county was going to enforce the fee's since many park users live outside of Washington County. Brock also argued out of town visitors would not be the only people officials would have trouble charging.
Brock told us, "I have a hard time charging kids to go swimming. I have a hard time charging kids to play basketball. It's keeping them off the streets"
Brock said commissioners planned to vote on the issue by August.