MLT City Council discusses proposed fee increases for child care, recreation programs

Ballet II, the “Fireworks,” take a break during a rehearsal for the Mountlake Terrace Dance Academy’s spring recital in 2022. The city is proposing an increase in its dance and fitness rates for 2024-2028.

Among the items discussed at the Thursday, Oct. 12 study session was an increase in Mountlake Terrace Recreation and Parks fees for 2024-2028.

Recreation and Parks Director Jeff Betz co-presented with Support Services Supervisor Renee Norton, Aquatics Supervisor Rose Ploeg and Recreation Supervisor Danielle Ladd.


A cost comparison shows child care rates in nearby cities.

Price adjustments to the Kids Krew, a before- and after-school child care program, are proposed. The suggested changes include before care increasing from $4.63 per hour to $4.85 per hour with a reservation and $5.09 per hour to $5.38 per hour without a reservation. After-care rates are proposed to increase from $4.17 to $4.46 an hour with a reservation and from $4.58 to $4.91 without a reservation. Before- and after-school rates would adjust from $3.92 per hour to $4.12 per hour with a reservation and $4.32 to $4.53 per hour without.

Non-school-day and day camps have a proposed adjustment of $3.83 per hour to $4.12 with a reservation. It will be adjusted from $4.21 to $4.53 per hour without. Early release schedules have a proposed adjustment of $4.11 per hour to $4.46 with a reservation and from $4.52 to $4.91 without. The proposed increase in drop-in rates is from $8.51 per hour to $8.94 with a reservation and from $9.36 to $9.83 without.

The previously proposed aquatics fees remain as is, except for an increase in family swim fees, going from $14 to $16.75 with a reservation and from $15.25 to $18.50 without. Therapy pool rental per half hour would increase by $1.

Other fee adjustments in the proposal included the Mambo/Twilight Dance rehearsal changing from $16 to $18 for reserved space and $18 to $20 without. Dance party rentals for a party of 12 people are proposed to change from $175 to $185 with a reservation and from $185 to $195 without. Dance party rentals for 24 people are proposed to go from $245 to $265 with reservation and $255 to $275 without.

The proposal also requests a fee change for dance and fitness classes:

– 45-minute classes: from $9.75 to $11 with a reservation/from $10.75 to $12 without. 

– 50-minute classes: from $10 to $11.25 with a reservation/from $11 to $12.50 without.

– 60-minute class:  from $11 to $11.50 with a reservation/ from $12 to $12.50 without. 

– 75-minute class: from $13.50 to $14.50 with a reservation/from $14.75 to $15.50. 

– 90-minute class: from $16 to $17.25 with a reservation/from $17.50 to $18.75 without.

Basketball and volleyball leagues also have proposed fee increases: Basketball from $62 to $64 per game and volleyball from $33 a game to $36.

Annual passes to the aquatic center, instructions and American Red Cross courses will remain the same. There are no changes to youth programs.

Councilmember Erin Murray mentioned that Lynnwood is Mountlake Terrace’s main competition for pools and swimming lessons.

“Most of those other pools are not realistic alternatives for folks who are looking for pool services, given their location,” Murray said.

“I don’t know if that’s necessarily true,” Betz replied. “I have neighbors in Lake Stevens tell me they come down to swim and take lessons in Mountlake Terrace.”

Betz also gave an anecdote of locals who travel to the Snohomish Aquatic Center, preferring it to the Mountlake Terrace facility.

“So, I think that it’s much more of a regional competition than you would imagine,” he said.

The Recreation and Parks Department conducts a yearly analysis to ensure the following year’s fees are comparable to current market conditions and reflect the city’s financial goals and policies. The assessment also considers current economic conditions, program demand, costs and competition. In addition, the review examines the potential impacts of the fee adjustments.   

Also reviewed during Thursday’s study session were proposed pay and benefit adjustments from information gathered during the city’s 2023 salary survey.

A recalculated wage increase progression shows increments of 3.5% rather than 5% to help spread costs over time.

Assistant City Manager Carolyn Hope explained that the suggested pay rate increase had been recalculated to a 3.5% step increase over time rather than 5%. This change will help spread out the cost of the salary adjustments over time.

The salary step an employee starts at is calculated by their current salary not by the averages found by the survey.

“If someone was making between $90,000 and $100,000 a year and right now, they were at $93,000, they basically are at 30% of the range of their pay,” Hope said. “So, they would move into step 3 on the table…because that’s between 28% and 42%.”

Management leave, also known as study leave, was also proposed. The levels of seniority are broken into bands with leave time ranging from 32 hours to 80 hours of time off.

Vacation time would be capped at 320 hours and will not roll over into the following year.

Discussion of the salary survey will continue at the Nov. 2 city council meeting.

The next city council meeting is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 16.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in Mountlake Terrace City Hall, 23204 58th Ave. W., Mountlake Terrace. To attend the meeting online, visit and enter meeting ID 897 2790 9105 and passcode 98043.

To listen via telephone, call 1-253-215-8782 and enter the same meeting ID and passcode.

You also can view livestreamed meetings and past video recordings at

You can see the complete agenda here.

— By Rick Sinnett

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