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Park district imposes fee to recoup credit card charges

Starting Aug. 1, guests using a credit card at Wiley’s Grill in Flossmoor will be charged a 3% fee to help the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District recoup a portion of the $200,000 paid annually to credit card companies for transactions.

Park commissioners voted unanimously on Tuesday, June 18, to impose a 3% fee on credit card purchases. Transactions paid with cash will not be charged the additional fee.

Wiley’s Grill is the restaurant at the clubhouse at the park district’s Coyote Run Golf Course in Flossmoor.

The park board has been examining the issue for several months. Every time someone uses a credit card for a transaction, whether it’s purchasing food at Wiley’s, reserving a tee time at Coyote Run, or registering a child for summer programs, the park district is socked with a fee by the credit card companies to cover the cost of the transaction.

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It can appear that this is a vicious cycle: businesses and organizations encourage credit cards, but at the same time, that method is costing them money. While 3% may seem like a small amount, staff recently told park commissioners that approximately $85,000 of the fees, or nearly 50% of the park district’s credit card charges, originate at Coyote Run and Wiley’s.

In discussions, park commissioners decided against imposing a charge on park programs.

Raising the golf fee to cover the 3% was discussed, but Golf Manager Tom Denklau said it doesn’t solve the problem because the 3% applies to the new amount as well. “And let’s remember, (using a credit card) is my ultimate goal,” especially for advanced booking, he told commissioners.

“That $200,000, I think we have to find a way to at least recuperate some of it,” said Commissioner Steve Johnson.

Commissioner Debbie Dennison said guests she’s talked to consider the 3% charge an administration fee in today’s world. 

“It’s an accepted fact. They are more upset with a request for a tip when swiping a credit card,” she said.

Denklau, who also manages Wiley’s, said there too, he’s pushing credit card payments through a Toast, Inc. transaction system.  Information provided by the park district said that “depending on the credit card used, fees to the park district ranks from 2.34% plus 15-cents, up to 3.89% plus 15-cents per transaction.”  More than three-quarters of the transactions carried a 2.45% fee plus 15-cents charge.

In May, $84, 668.98 of sales used a credit card, costing the park district $2,697.96 in fees.

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