The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, March 26, 1999

Why support recreation?

To the Editor:

The recreation commission is asking the town to fund a permanent, part-time recreation director for the Town of Carlisle.

Carlisle recreation programs are currently self-funding. Our fees are comparable to nearby towns like Concord and Bedford. We do break even on the programs, but they require a large organizational effort which is being done by a handful of recreation commissioners and other volunteers. The effort involved in running these programs is large. We offer programs which generate about 1,500 registrations per year with fees totalling $120,000. Organizing this growing recreation program falls entirely on our volunteers, and we cannot sustain it in this way.

Raising fees is not the answer. Anyone who sets prices in business knows increasing fees by 20 percent does not mean you get 20 percent more money. Registrations will be lost, but classes don't cost less when you have fewer students. We could easily destroy our programs by increasing fees.

In 1994 the Carlisle Open Space and Recreation Plan recommended a recreation director be hired in one to three years. In our recent survey of surrounding towns and comparable towns in Massachusetts, we found the vast majority have recreation directors paid for by the town funds.

Our recreation programs bring people together. They benefit townspeople of all ages. They build community. They help define the character of our town. We decide what we want for Carlisle. Help us keep our recreation program on firm ground.

Carol Peters
Carleton Road

Ballantine seeks three-year term

To the Editor:

I wish to announce that I am running for a three-year term as selectman. Last year I was elected to a one-year term as the board of selectmen expanded from three to five members. After a year of learning the ropes, I would like to extend my commitment.

I came to the board of selectmen with a broad range of town volunteer experience: five years on the housing authority, four years on the finance committee, one year on the school council, nine years as a board member of Carlisle Communications Inc., and one year as a citizen building a home in Carlisle. I also bring a professional background in economics (Ph.D.), education (teaching at Brandeis University and Babson College), financial and economic research, business consulting, and banking.

This experience has served me well on the board. Besides the normal duties of the selectmen, I have been actively involved in the initial review of the town's legal counsel, the acquisition of the Wang-Coombs land, and the re-activization of the town's affordable housing efforts. I have also been part of a group of former finance committee chairs writing a report, which will be released next week, on the costs of town growth.

Besides these activities, what have I learned over the past year? First, how important it is to listen, and as always, how hard it is not to let your own thoughts intrude before really hearing the other party out. And second, how difficult it is to keep perspective. Citizens outside the volunteer loop often have a very different take on various town issues.

What do I want to help accomplish over the next three years? One, to preserve and maintain our town values: excellent schools, open space, and responsive town services; two, to find ways to slow the pace of town growth so that we can contain our costs and taxes; three, to manage the process of town government and communication more smoothly. Finally, to enjoy the privilege of being part of town government, a unique and special New England tradition.

John Ballantine
Fiske Street

1999 The Carlisle Mosquito