Maricopa County considers raising park fees

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PHOENIX -- Maricopa County is considering raising some entrance fees at county parks as its parks and recreation department copes with significant budget cuts.

The department's general fund was cut by 60 percent for the 2009 fiscal year. That makes for the highest-percentage budget decrease of any county agency.

The department has reduced its staff, developed partnerships with private and public agencies and applied for grant funding to absorb costs. But director R.J. Cardin says those efforts haven't been enough and the department may face more cuts as a result of the state's budget trouble.

Most of the department's budget comes from entrance fees, concessions and cooperative agreements with cities and towns. Parks officials estimate increased entrance fees could generate an additional $425,000 a year.

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