Park Board, Oct. 3, 2013

PARKSIn a 30 minute meeting the board voted to accept the council’s Park & Rec budget, passed Monday, which had cut $146,673 from the director’s capital request and $115,000+ in requested operations expenses. The total budgeted for P&R is $3.8 million (link to the city’s FY2014 budget).  The board elected officers and also rubber-stamped a complex department reorganization and several promotions that placed director Berkley Squires over a consolidated Parks and Streets and Sanitation Department and raised Rec Center Director Rusty Holley to Park and Recreation Superintendent.  (The city’s separate landscaping department had already been folded into Parks and Rec last year.)

Members present:  Board chairman Chris Mason, Don Little, Paula Smalley, Keith Stansell, Tim Baggett and Tom Blake.

Members absent: Chris Meeks, vice chairman, Tom Walker, programs chairman, and Becky Morton. Also absent was council liaison Richard Laws.

Staff present: Berkely Squires, director of public services, Dianne Rice, board secretary.

Audience attendance:  4

Approved:  Minutes of the Sept. 5, 2013.

Approved: The board approved as a formality a series of promotions and a reorganization that merged the Parks & Recreation Department with the Department of Streets and Sanitation, putting director Berkley Squires over both as the new Director of Public Services. Mr. Squires explained before the meeting that he would continue to oversee parks and recreation and to answer to the park board on park and rec. issues. The newly created positions had been approved beforehand through the Jefferson County Personnel Board and ratified Sept. 30 by the city council, effective Oct. 1. Dr. Little asked if the promotions were subject to change if there were a different mayor and Mr. Squires said the new positions were no different from any others, and could be changed through the same mayor/council process that created them. Mr. Baggett added that the reorganization didn’t change any of the park board’s policies and procedures.

Programs report on new rec center rates: Mr. Baggett said he wanted to set up a full board work session on rates, policies and procedures so everyone would understand them. The discussion will be held on an upcoming Sunday, time and date to be announced.

Approved two events for next spring: On the recommendation of the Facilities Committee, the board approved the use of Central Park for the MS Walk, on April 5, and for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation Walk on May 17.

Voted to accept the council’s FY2014 budget for Parks and Recreation:  Mr. Squires said the budget reduced his operations request by about $115,000, of which the majority was an eliminated spray contract for Green Springs Highway, and an arborist position. The cuts included $7,000 for conference travel since the next conference will be in town. The requested $357,109 capital request was cut to $210,436, which had included $95,000 for a landscaping truck and $18,000 for new bleachers. A request for a $19,000 sun shade over the Patriot Park playground was rejected, but $8,000 for a drinking fountain was retained.  Mr. Squires said the Senior Center‘s 25-seat passenger bus stayed in the budget. The vehicle will be ordered Nov. 1. Here’s a link to the city’s FY2014 budget.

Voted in new officers/made appointments: On the recommendation of a nominating committee of Ms. Smalley and Mr. Walker (absent), the board approved the re-election of Chris Mason as chairman and Chris Meeks (absent) as vice chairman. Mr. Mason then appointed Ms. Smalley as chair of the Programs Committee, with Mr. Baggett, Mr. Blake and Mr. Meeks serving; and Dr. Stansell as Chair of the Facilities Committee, with Dr. Little, Mr. Walker and Ms. Morton serving. The appointments last two years and board terms are limited to two 5-year terms. Under that rule, Mr. Baggett’s (at large) and Dr. Little’s (Ward 2) terms will end Dec. 31.

There being no further business, the board adjourned at 6:20.

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