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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

City Parks Board mulls 2010 budget

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Brazil City Parks Board had a full list of agenda items Wednesday, and one item garnered most of the attention.

Initially, the Brazil Parks Board was informed it had to work within a 2010 budget of $236,131, and it had made the necessary cuts to fit within that amount.

However, a mix-up in the numbers showed the Parks Board actually had to make due with an estimated budget of $208,000.

When working on the initial budget, a 2-percent salary increase was factored in, but the city ended up going with a 3-percent increase, which made things even tighter.

By the end of the meeting, the board was able to make enough cuts to finish with an estimated budget of $208,445, with the board members not wanting to make the cuts.

Some of the areas that took the largest hits included repair and maintenance supplies (building materials, electrical, pool paint, hardware and plumbing), which went from $8,550 to zero. A cut of $10,142 was made to personal services, which eliminated park security personnel -- all of which were part-time -- and $5,000 in pool salaries. In addition, a cut of $4,000 was made to the Brazil Rotary Celebration and Popcorn Festival line items, which takes them completely out of the budget, as well as $2,000 for the upkeep of the restrooms.

Because of the budget restrictions, there will have to be some reduction of park services.

"Experience has told us that having security in the parks has drastically reduced vandalism," Board President Ruth Ann Jeffries said. "The amount saved in the reduced vandalism nearly pays for the cost of the security guards."

The pool will only be open until 4 p.m., daily, during its season, with one less lifeguard on duty each day and there will be no open swimming on Sundays, only pool parties.

"The board admits the pool has never made enough money to be self supporting," Jeffries said. "We choose to supplement the pool with other park revenue in order to keep it open."

The board always believed it was providing a service to the community by providing the pool and absorbing the cost difference.

"The years we didn't have a pool, kids died swimming in the strip pits," Treasurer Linda Messmer said. "I'm not about to put a money amount on a child's life. We need to keep the pool open."

However, if any large repairs are needed to be made like there have been in the past, the board will not have the money to make those repairs and it's possible the pool would have to be closed.

Though the board believes every city employee deserves a raise, the difference in the 2- and 3-percent raises might have been enough to allow the pool to return to its original hours and to keep the security guards in the park.

In an economy where people are having a difficult time putting food on the table, Messmer believes the only outlet for some people is going to the parks.

"We try to provide cheap or free entertainment in the parks," she said.

The board is continuing to work with the city on the budget.

For more information, contact a parks board representative or a council member. The entire city budget will be voted on at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 13, in the Council Chambers at City Hall, during the Common Council of the City of Brazil meeting.

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I think everyone is going to regret letting the park security people go. We have a beautiful park for a town this size. I for one would like to see it stay that way.

-- Posted by hd80 on Thu, Oct 8, 2009, at 9:24 PM

Everone need to call their councilman and let their feelings be heard.This will be a downfall for our beautiful park.

-- Posted by donalde on Fri, Oct 9, 2009, at 4:51 AM

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