Change is not always appreciated or wanted by everyone. You can multiply that sentiment by a significant amount when that change is a raise in prices for something you do or somewhere you go on a regular basis.
We understand that some people will probably feel this way about the fees to enter Jekyll Island going up. Nobody really likes to pay more, especially when you are accustomed to paying a certain amount.
But we feel the Jekyll Island Authority isn’t just arbitrarily raising the price, they are doing so with reason and planning to put the money to good use.
With approval from the full JIA board at its meeting Tuesday, the parking fee at Jekyll Island will increase from $6 daily to $8 with the annual parking pass renewal fee going up from $45 to $55. The JIA will also be raising water and sewer rates 13.6 percent.
The changes stem from a 2018 carrying capacity study that suggested Jekyll is moving from a phase of improvements to a phase of managements. The thing is the improvements that Jekyll has been undergoing in recent years, like new parks and facilities, now have to be maintained. That need is reflected in the way the JIA’s budget has grown in certain areas.
The JIA’s conservation budget has gone from $190,000 five years ago to $483,000 in this year’s budget. The landscaping budget was at $1.35 million five years ago and is set to rise to $1.59 million. The roads and grounds budget has grown from $800,000 five years ago to $1.4 million.
The water and sewer rate increase will help the JIA upgrade its system. Older and obsolete water and sewer lines will need to be replaced, lest Jekyll run into the same problem the Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water and Sewer Commission is running into. It’s better to tackle that issue now than wait for the system to become truly compromised.
It’s the first time in seven years that the daily pass has seen a price increase, with the exception of four annual special event days. It’s been even longer since the annual pass was increased, with the last one happening 10 years ago.
Compared to other state parks, Jekyll is still a bargain. A day pass for Stone Mountain cost $20 and Lake Lanier Island will set you back $15. Even with a price increase, Jekyll’s daily fees still offer plenty to do at a reasonable price.
We applaud the JIA executive director Jones Hooks and the entire staff of the JIA who have helped turn the island into a triumph in recent years. If paying a couple of extra bucks at the gate is needed to help keep that momentum going, the fee increases will be worth it.