Agendas and Minutes

Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Parks Commission Budget Session Minutes

Minutes
Wednesday, March 18, 2009

City of Ashland

PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION

 

STUDY SESSION
MINUTES

March 18, 2009

 

ATTENDANCE

Present:         Commissioners Eggers, Gardiner, Lewis, Rosenthal; Director Robertson; Superintendents Gies and Dials

Absent:       Commissioner Noraas; City Council Liaison Silbiger

CALL TO ORDER

Gardiner called the meeting to order at 6:35 p.m. at the Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer.

2009-2010 GOALS DISCUSSION

Robertson said the draft 2009-2010 budget goals were refined based on feedback received at the March 16 study session. He distributed the goals list and said comments or revisions appeared in bold lettering and some goals had been combined. He said Commissioner Noraas wrote an email about the proposed goals, which he distributed and read aloud at certain points in the discussion. He read the refined goals list, with commissioners and staff providing feedback.

§         Financial and Business Plan – Develop a long-term business, organizational, and financial plan that evaluates and identifies current and future funding sources.

o       General agreement about retaining this goal in FY 2009-2010.

o       Discussion about FY 2009-2010 goals being less measurable than previous year’s goals, with emphasis placed on strategizing and planning for the future.

§         Renew Food and Beverage Tax – Prepare a list of priorities for the expenditure of any new food and beverage funds.

o       General agreement about retaining this goal in FY 2009-2010.

o       Staff suggestion about developing a list of projects utilizing those funds—including purchasing land, constructing parks, and rehabilitating facilities and playgrounds—to foster public awareness about how funds could be spent.

o       Discussion about the viability of using the funds for maintenance of existing facilities and amenities.

§         Non-Native Vegetation Control Plan – Develop a prioritized plan for the removal and/or control of non-native vegetation in conjunction with a review of the current pesticide use policy. Projected budget: $20,000.

o       General agreement about retaining this goal in FY 2009-2010.

o       Discussion about ongoing efforts. Staff input regarding the treatment of hundreds of acres over ten years’ time / lists made / treatment methods undertaken.

o       Commissioner comment about making this a top priority and treating large areas first to allow for a visible result.

o       Staff comment about preparing annual progress reports for the commission.

§         Upper and Lower Clay Street Properties – Develop programs to guide the development of master plans for the two properties.

o       General agreement about retaining this goal in FY 2009-2010.

o       Staff comment about deciding whether or not to buy a portion of the lower Clay Street property utilizing Food and Beverage Tax funding.

§         Oak Knoll Golf Course – Identify and implement new programs and activities to increase the versatility of golf course use by both golfers and non-golfers. Treat the 73-acre course as a business enterprise with a goal of self-sufficiency. Projected budget: $10,000.

o       General agreement about retaining this goal in FY 2009-2010.

o       Commissioner comment about golf operations generating sufficient revenues to cover non-golfing amenities like walking paths or running meets.

o       Commissioner comment about the golf course serving as a city resource and becoming more accessible and appealing to non-golfers within community.

§         Nature Center – Evaluate the mission of the Nature Center utilizing the existing advisory group. Look at its future role in relation to Ashland School District finances and overall values of the community.

o       General agreement about retaining this goal in FY 2009-2010.

o       Commissioner comments:

§         Include on advisory panel representatives from the school district and other groups served by the resource.

§         Evaluate and redefine Nature Center staff structure.

§         Create contractual agreement with school district.

o       Staff comments:

§         Growth in program offerings not financially supported by school district (largest benefactor of Nature Center educational programs).

§         Suggestion to charge a $10 fee for each student / trip.

§         Community Communication – Seek new ways to communicate with the community by organizing neighborhood meetings and other methods of “direct communication.” Projected budget: $1,000.

o       General agreement about retaining this goal in FY 2009-2010.

o       Staff comment about implementing study sessions throughout community to allow commissioners to gain accurate “pulse” of values and needs within neighborhoods.

§         Environmental Evaluations and Audits – Provide evaluations of all facilities and operations within the department; evaluate reports from individual facilities and make recommendations for improvements, with implementation a high priority. Remain energy-consumption-neutral or reduce energy consumption from one year to the next. Projected budget: $2,000.

o       General agreement about retaining this goal in FY 2009-2010.

o       Specific questions to staff about departmental recycling and efforts to promote recycling by the public within parks system.

BUDGET DISCUSSION

Robertson said the ending fund balance for 2009 was $1.4M, not the traditional $1.5M, and staff was working on closing the gap. He said the school district wanted to reduce their grounds maintenance contract with Parks as they couldn’t afford the same level of service but were interested in retaining Parks for their large mowing projects. He said the contract would be reduced to $48,200 per year.

Dials reported that the Recreation Division personnel budget was higher than expected because temporary employees had been contracted through an agency. She said Parks would handle temps in-house in FY 2009-2010 to reduce spending in that category.

Robertson said the golf pro shop would also be managed in-house and proceeds from food and beverage sales, along with other amenities, would generate revenues for Parks.

Gies distributed a proposed staff reorganizational chart and discussed the need to reduce staffing levels due to a budget shortfall. He outlined five potential reduction scenarios.

Robertson reported meeting with the City Attorney and the City Personnel Director about staff reductions. He said the City Attorney indicated that reductions would be less problematic given that Parks was not a union shop. He talked about eliminating a specialized position and contracting out the work. He said another employee might be interested in retiring if he could be hired back as a contractor and several others were considering retiring in exchange for some benefits.

Gies suggested standardizing the layoff process and including an entry in the employee manual.

Staff was directed to work with any laid off employee to offer several months’ salary and/or an extension of benefits. Robertson said he would provide more information about FY 2009-2010 budget issues at the regular meeting on Monday, March 23.

ADJOURNMENT – By consensus, Gardiner adjourned the meeting at 8:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Susan Dyssegard, Ashland Parks and Recreation

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