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Budget cuts may mean fewer recreational activities next year


October 20, 2010
The Parks and Recreation budget is down $46,000 or 17.3 percent, driven mostly by cuts in personnel.

The department's two part-time employees will lose 10 hours per week, as well as benefits.

Parks and Recreation Director Herb Greene is the only full-time employee. His pay has increased by $2,014, or 4.2 percent, because of a miscalculation in last year's pay. Otherwise, all department heads will not receive merit this year.

Greene said because of a 20 percent drop from last year in part-time employee hours and wages, the department will not be able to offer the same caliber of programs.

"This is a significant drop and will impact the number of programs. Specific programs may be affected. If they are not popular, they are usually pulled," said Greene.

He estimated that programs such as pick-up volleyball, adult softball and flag football, the family skate party, new programs at the ice rink and winter carnival activities, family hiking programs, some teen activities, swimming programs and lifeguarding lessons could be cut or reduced.

"The beach could be impacted as well. We could lose our higher trained person down there if facing part-time cuts. We are not necessarily saving on hiring more seasonal help," said Greene. "We feel we get a big bang for our buck with part-time hours. In my opinion, we are losing a lot for whatever the cut is. There is a benefit of having a part-time employee with all these certifications."

Budget Committee members suggested boosting program fees to help this case especially in more popular summer programs, such as the swimming program that brings in 100 kids a session. Instead of $25 per child or less, members suggested that Greene instead double these rates.

Professional development has decreased from $17,025 to $14,010 and Greene said it is used mainly for lifeguards in the summer and lifeguard saving certification, plus his professional purposes from time to time.

The Gilford Community Band's funds have been cut by 50 percent this year, and it is possible that the band may not be able to perform. Old Home Day still remains at a level funded $30,000 range, since the rest is matched by donations.

A cut in Capital Reserve Funds for maintenance projects brought the budget down as well, with many projects put on hold for now.

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