Friday, February 5, 1999
RecCom requests $40K over guideline
Carol Peters, chair of the recreation commission, raised a few eyebrows with a proposed $63,000 budget, since the three-percent FinCom guideline targeted only $22,860. "RecCom is asking for increases in its yearly budget for FY00 due to new fields to maintain, more programs, and growing enrollments," Peters explained at the January 27 FinCom hearing.
"Field maintenance costs will double next year due to a doubling of the area of fields to be maintained," Peters predicted. "These costs were presented at Town Meeting last spring when the town voted the funds to build the Banta-Davis fields." A chart showed that FY99 maintenance costs of $16,000 were projected to reach $33,600 in FY00.
More programs, less volunteers
The other costs are for two items: a new recreation director and a weekend custodian for the school. "The workload of RecCom has been growing steadily over the past several years," said Peters. "This is due to increased programming, increased enrollment, and decreasing volunteerism." RecCom has added many new programs in the past two years, including a year-round enrichment program, skiing and snow boarding, fencing, flag football, chess club, and indoor soccer. Their summer program is growing in both offerings and enrollment.
"The extent of our programs requires professional management," asserted Peters. "The summer program requires about 20 hours per week from February to July." A recreation director would be expected to recruit key program organizers, hire about 30 people, contract for rental space, oversee registration, and prepare payrolls. Over 1,800 registrations were processed last year and over $120,000 in fees were collected. "A job of this size is more than most volunteers are able to undertake," she concluded.
One of the items in the 1994 Carlisle Open Space and Recreation Plan was to add a year-round part-time recreation director within three years, so this was foreseen. Peters displayed a chart of seven comparable towns, including Lincoln, Dover, Concord, and Stow. Five of the seven employ a full-time or part-time recreation director. She estimates the cost of the director to be $21,000 for FY00.
"When the town voted funding to build the Corey Building, the town's intent was that the building be available to the community when not used by the schools," said Peters, moving on to the next added cost. "However, there's no money in the school budget to cover custodial costs for weekend use." The current rate of rental of any school space on weekends is three times the custodial rate for the first two hours ($30 per hour) and one-and-a-half times the custodial rate ($15 per hour) for any additional hours. This cost is prohibitive for regularly scheduled town recreation programs unless they have very large enrollments. Peters estimates that a weekend custodian will cost $5,000 in FY00.
FinCom chair Charlie Parker was still dismayed by the $40,000 increase of the RecCom budget over guidelines. Member Simon Platt suggested RecCom use a more positive approach at Town Meeting. "Show the revenue side. Otherwise, it appears like you're just spending," said Platt. Parker advised Peters to be prepared to defend her budget at Town Meeting.
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito