Moorabool council will raise court fees for the Bacchus Marsh Basketball Association, to bring it in line with fees charged to other groups using the Bacchus Marsh Leisure Centre.

The current fee of $25 per court per hour will remain in place until December 30, and raised to $35 per hour for competition use and $21 for training until June 30, 2019.

The fees will then be raised to $39 per hour per court for the 2019-20 year, “bringing the BMBA [Bacchus Marsh Basketball Association] fees closer to parity with other users”, according to officers who presented a report at last week’s council meeting.

Councillors also agreed to remove the out-of-hours fees for all users at the centre.

“Other centre users are currently paying higher fees than the BMBA; returning a greater proportion of operational costs [cost recovery per cent]; [and] receiving a lower level of council subsidy,” the council report stated.

“This is clearly inequitable if the current fees charged to other users are not reduced to the same level as BMBA. Following this course of action would result in increased subsidy [cost] provided by council.”

According to a Moorabool council analysis, the BMBA occupied the Bacchus Marsh Leisure Centre 86 per cent of its opening hours during the 2017-18 year.

However, fees paid by the association covered 33 per cent of operating costs, with council subsidising 67 per cent of BMBA’s use.

But the association’s treasurer Johanna Blain disputed these figures.

“Bacchus Marsh College is there all day Monday to Friday, so how can it be possible that we’re using the centre 86 per cent of the time?” Ms Blain told Star Weekly.

The association and Moorabool council have been in talks for the past 18 months trying to draft a new lease agreement.

Ms Blain said the association accepted the council’s decision to lift the court hire fees, but had concerns with some of the restrictions – such as not being able to use the foyer – proposed in the previous draft lease agreement.

“We have to wait to see the full agreement to decide if we’re happy with what’s proposed,” Ms Blain said.