Proposed 2013 budget could axe $1 million from Parks department | News
The City of Spokane’s Park and Recreation Department could have about $1 million cut from next year's budget based on a proposal set for a vote by the Park Board in September. That cut would eliminate seven positions primarily from the department’s administration and decrease the number of classes, and funds into senior and youth programs.
The department has faced some cuts over the past couple of years. The director of Parks and Recreation, Leroy Eadie, says this is the most significant reduction he’s had to do in the three years he’s been with Parks and Recreation because it means position elimination.
Though seven positions will be cut, some of the positions are already vacant. Eadie says he’s kept them vacant in anticipation for the budget cuts. Only three of the positions are currently filled. The eliminated positions are based in the include an administrative secretary, two division managers, a clerk, a golf manager/parks administrator, two marketing assistants, one recreation supervisor and a craft specialist.
Even with position cuts, the proposed budget would fund a new position in the department. Eadie hopes to add a landscape architect.
The cuts would also reduce pool hours at the city’s various aquatic facilities. Eadie says there will be some savings there, but they’ll also need to cut $80,000 from the senior and youth programs. It was proposed last year that the two programs also lose funding, but the reductions were not approved by the Park Board when they adopted the 2012 budget.
A four percent cut comes from the Parks and Recreation Fund which Craig Butz, the recreation manager for the department, says would affect the special interest classes the department offers from outdoor personal interest to art classes at the Corbin Art Center. He says those are most likely to be impacted, but to make up for it, they’ll focus on programs that offer the most return on their investment.
“They would all be pulled into one general recreation budget and there would be less supervising staff to operate those activities. It’s kind of like take a box store and creating a boutique. We’re trying to figure out which recreation activities would provide the best cost recovery,” Butz said.
Some courses offered in the 2012 recreation guide offered trips outside the major vicinity of Spokane, but Butz added that they’re going to strive to keep activities local.
“We might not be offering rafting trips that go into Montana. We go through a third party contractor, but we want to focus on our own backyard,” Butz said. “We would not conduct any trips farther than a half-day from Spokane. That would save us some expenses, travel and focus on a cost recovery side.”
Since the proposed budget is not set in stone yet, Butz says they won’t know for certain 2013 operations is going to work with the new budget until it’s implemented. In order to adopt the 2013 budget, the Park Board needs input from the community to address these shortfalls. The meetings are intended for the general public and stakeholders to share their thoughts.
Here are the following dates for three community meetings to take public comment:
- Thursday, June 21st, 5:30-8:00 p.m. at West Central Community Center in the Newton Room at 1603 N. Belt
- Tuesday, June 26th, 5:30-8:00 p.m. at Southside Community Center, 3151 E. 27th in the Newton Room
- Thursday, June 28th, 5:30-8:00 p.m. at Northeast Community Center, 4001 N. Cook in the Hillyard Senior Center, Conference Room.