After-school program fees at the Warford Center may soon be increasing.
On Tuesday, the Amarillo City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance raising the fees for after-school programs at the Charles E. Warford Activity Center in North Amarillo. For members, the increase will start at the current rate of $20 per month and will eventually reach $170 by August 1, 2020. Non-members will see their current $30 per month rate increase to $190. Both increases will be two-part, with a first increase planned for January of 2020.
With the vote to approve the fee increases, some residents expressed their disappointment and disapproval. Brad Torch, a former candidate for the Amarillo City Council, was one of a number of citizens who said they opposed the increases.
“It disproportionately hurts families who are already struggling financially,” Torch said. “There are other ways to offset costs that doesn't affect those who need the assistance the most.”
However, Mayor Ginger Nelson said she supported the fee increases, citing what she says is the City Council seeing the “writing on the wall.”
"The City cannot provide the services at this great of a subsidy across the board," Nelson said.
The approval of the ordinance comes just weeks after the City Council tabled the original version of the ordinance on the motion of Councilwoman Freda Powell. That ordinance called for the full increase to take place in August of this year. City staff recommended approval of both versions of the ordinance.
A final vote is expected by the City Council within the next week.