View Mobile Site
 
Posted: December 5, 2010 12:30 a.m.

Recreation department cuts seven

The Newton Recreation Commission cut seven part-time employees this week to save about $35,000 during the rest of the fiscal year and prevent a budget deficit.

Recreation Director Tommy Hailey said revenues were not as high as expected for the first half of fiscal year 2011. The commission raised its fees for youth sports, pavilion rentals and Turner Lake Gym daily passes in July to help offset a $154,870 deficit, but the increases aren’t bringing in enough money.

The cuts included five part-time maintenance employees, one administration employee and one janitorial employee.

"It will hurt. We don’t like to lay off anybody this time of year, but we really didn’t have much of a choice," Hailey said Friday. "And the thing is, we don’t know if it will continue…We’re down in rentals for rooms and facilities. We’re seeing less and less Christmas parties and dinners; people can’t afford them."

The cuts leave the recreation with 12 part-time and 20 full-time employees. Hailey said he didn’t know how maintenance of parks would be affected, but he said the commission will shift around employees to cover needs, even if that means having office employees helping in the field.

"Nobody is beyond going out and doing anything. If need be, we won’t have as many office hours and go out and cut grass instead," Hailey said.

The commission will look at the possibility of outsourcing the maintenance of some of its satellite parks.

In addition to decreased revenues, the commission continues to take on responsibility for more facilities, including the heavily-used Denny Dobbs Park and the Nelson Heights Community

The Newton Recreation Commission cut seven part-time employees this week to save about $35,000 during the rest of the fiscal year and prevent a budget deficit.

Recreation Director Tommy Hailey said revenues were not as high as expected for the first half of fiscal year 2011. The commission raised its fees for youth sports, pavilion rentals and Turner Lake Gym daily passes in July to help offset a $154,870 deficit, but the increases aren’t bringing in enough money.

The cuts included five part-time maintenance employees, one administration employee and one janitorial employee.

"It will hurt. We don’t like to lay off anybody this time of year, but we really didn’t have much of a choice," Hailey said Friday. "And the thing is, we don’t know if it will continue…We’re down in rentals for rooms and facilities. We’re seeing less and less Christmas parties and dinners; people can’t afford them."

The cuts leave the recreation with 12 part-time and 20 full-time employees. Hailey said he didn’t know how maintenance of parks would be affected, but he said the commission will shift around employees to cover needs, even if that means having office employees helping in the field.

"Nobody is beyond going out and doing anything. If need be, we won’t have as many office hours and go out and cut grass instead," Hailey said.

The commission will look at the possibility of outsourcing the maintenance of some of its satellite parks.

In addition to decreased revenues, the commission continues to take on responsibility for more facilities, including the heavily-used Denny Dobbs Park and the Nelson Heights Community Center. 

"The park has more than exceeded the number of people who (we expected) to utilize it. That means more people using restrooms, toilet paper, the necessities you have to provide," Hailey said.

The renovation of old Cousins High School gymnasium is nearly complete and that facility will open in early 2011. The commission is not expected to raise fees further.

"We can’t throw the burden back on taxpayers and participants. We’re down in (youth) basketball about 25 kids. The upcoming season in baseball will be our telltale sign as to how the cost increases affect participation," he said, noting that various travel baseball teams may attract children.

Finally, Hailey said he will do everything in his power to prevent further personnel cuts.

"My people are good people, loyal people. We’ll look at every angle, save a penny wherever we can to keep our jobs," he said.

The recreation commission’s budget heading into this fiscal year was $1.8 million.

 

Commenting is not available.

Commenting not available.

Please wait ...