Larry: A comment on your list:
We have a Parks & Rec Department who…
1.) Doesn’t bank anything for facilities depreciations and, when a local pool is deemed unrepairable, coerces the public to vote for funding a new facility through added taxes.
The voter approved tax to build the pools has some excess funds that could be programed for use in long term maintenance. The budget for P&R is not totally under the directors control. The buck stops at the Commission. The Commission could setup and demand a depreciation fund.
2.) Won’t keep the new pool open through the warmest part of the summer to maximize use by those paying for it.
I partially agree with this one. But it is not so much will not keep the pools open and more about the inability to get lifeguard for that time period. That inability goes back to budget. If you pay more you can hire the lifeguards. Keeping the pool open longer means more tax subsidy. You either have to raise up fees to use, or spend more tax dollars on support. I would like to see the pools open longer hours and longer in the season.
3.) Allows one private, privileged group to utilize the pool at no cost while charging ALL other groups.
The Marlins are charged, just like other groups.
4.) Hands e-mail and contact lists of P&R customers to a PRIVATE group for survey purposes.
I am not sure the details on this one. I do not agree with handing out email and contact list to private groups. I am not sure what or who was involved in the process.
5.) Supports that PRIVATE group when they want tax money to fund a $54 million upgrade to existing facilities
I am not sure that the P&R director supports the Field House project. He does support the concept that the city facilities could be upgraded. I tend to agree with the fact that the facilities could use upgrade. We need a CIP plan for that. The Capital Improvement Plan must however be in line with the budget and it cannot happen overnight.
6.) Presents fee structure for pool use that results in an even larger revenue short-fall that will be funded through additional property tax.
The buck on this one stops at the City Commission. The fee structure presented was the result of guidance from the Commission. The Commission as a whole voted for the structure. The reason was to make the pool more affordable for the citizens. The structure change may result in more revenue or less. Worse case the shortfall will be taken from the general fund. But that does not mean more property tax. It does mean that the pools will not operate as break even. So the subsidy must come from someplace else. A matter of priorities, we can fund this without raising property tax. It is all about allocation of the funds we have. If it came to the determination that we needed to raise property tax to run the pools, I would cast a negative vote.
7.) While requesting additional property tax for reduced revenue, still does not propose any fees for a single PRIVATE group’s use of the pool.
The Marlins pay a fee as of 2013.
8.) Enters the daycare business, subsidized by tax dollars, and in direct competition to existing small businesses.
I was never in favor of the Day Care Business. It came about as part of the vote for the Zoo Education Building. The concept on that building included a day care facility. The voters passed the bond issue to build the facility. I was not aware of the fine print, but it included the use of the facility or at least a part of it for day care. The Commission had a chance to change it and vote to not implement. It passed on a 3-2 vote as the majority believed the voters voted for and knew about the Day Care concept. The previous director at the time said that the Day Care run by the city would pay for itself and if the facility did not break even it would be shut down. So this is not a P&R effort. It is a voter effort and a Commission effort. Will monitor the Day Care numbers and cost this year as it will complete a year of operation when we get to the 2015 budget cycle sometime this summer.
9.) Supports installation of a retractable cover over City Park Pool so it can be used year-round. Can’t staff it for the public a full 90 days, but thinks constructing a cover so the pool can be used by a PRIVATE group at no cost 12 months is a good move.
I am not sure the P&R staff support the cover idea. It could be funded with the current bond that the voters approved for the pool construction. The reason is that the revenue from the tax is higher than projected. So the excess can be used for maintenance or for additions. In any case it has to be used for the pools in some fashion; it maybe could be used to cover the operation cost or subsidy. Some folks in town would like a year round swim facility and a cover would provide that upgraded. But it would incur operation cost and full time life guards. Upgrade of the pool would be a CIP effort or something that could be put to a vote. The voters did not approve the indoor facility concept last time around.
And the City Commission can’t understand why people don’t just fall all over themselves in support of removing the Memorial stage for new P&R offices!!!????!!!!
The issue of the offices will get resolved- options, proposals and costs are being outlined. Bottom line is that P&R will maybe finally get out of their 30 year temporary offices. It may or may not involve the stage and or basketball courts, those are secondary issues. The data though still shows that basketball courts are used more than the stage. I do not think the folks that want to save the stage are against the idea of P&R offices or are anti-basketball. They just believe that the stage should have a higher priority than basketball courts or the P&R offices. If we could finance all three, there would not be a problem. The problem is limited funds, and what are the priorities ….answer sometime in March.