Orem's new policy of charging outside groups for use of the City Center facility has caught local Parent Teacher Associations by surprise.

They don't like it.But city officials say parking at the City Center has become a scarce commodity for employees and visitors.

Besides that, Orem has been charged fees for holding town meetings and such in schools for years.

Lori Neusome, Orem Council PTA president, said she was not notified of the change in policy and was dismayed to find a $20-an-hour fee in place. The Orem Council represents 21 schools throughout the community and generally draws about 50 people to its meetings.

The City Council approved a fee policy in December charging groups a rate ranging from $20 to $40 an hour (with a two-hour minimum) for the rotunda or council chambers to $30 to $50 an hour for the multipurpose room, depending on whether the group is nonprofit, nonresident and/or associated with a commercial enterprise.

The PTA currently falls under political, nonprofit and governmental groups.

"That's ridiculous," said Neusome. "We've never been charged and we've been meeting there for years."

Neusome complained at one of the town meetings in March and has heard nothing since from city officials.

John Park, assistant city manager, said the council intends to talk about the policy as part of the budget discussions now going on.