NEW BEDFORD — Mayor Jon Mitchell has established a Task Force on Facilities Fees that will examine the schedule of fees for the use of parks and city-owned facilities by private organizations, as well as city services that support private events.

The city has a proud history of supporting private organizations that perform important public services. This includes offering city buildings and park space at below market rates, and providing a variety of support services by city employees. These services are of course funded by city tax dollars. The mission of the Task Force will be to determine how the cost of providing these services should be apportioned between city taxpayers and the organizations that benefit from the services.

Mayor Mitchell said, “I am grateful for the willingness of the Task Force members to delve into these complex issues so that the costs of providing services is fair to both taxpayers and the organizations that provide important services to the community.”

The Task Force on Facilities Fees will be chaired by City Councillor James Oliveira. Also named to the Task Force are City Councillor Brian K. Gomes; Park Board member Elaine Safioleas; Director of Facilities and Fleet Management Kenneth Blanchard; Commissioner of Public Infrastructure Zeb Arruda; Director of Parks, Recreation and Beaches Mary Rapoza; Chief Financial Officer Ari Sky; Celine Saraiva, president of the Clark’s Cove Neighborhood Association; and Helena DaSilva Hughes, executive director of the Immigrants’ Assistance Center. This group includes input from the city agencies involved in use of facilities, members of the City Council and Park Board, as well as community groups who utilize city-owned space.

The Task Force will offer the opportunity for public input at a time to be scheduled. The Mayor encourages taxpayers and organizations alike to participate so that the Task Force can arrive at the fairest possible recommendation.

The Task Force will provide its findings and recommendation to the Park Board and to the city departments involved.

--City of New Bedford

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