Park and Recreation CommissionMinutes
Regular meeting: Monday, April 14, 2003 in the Aldermanic Chambers of City Hall.
Meeting was called to order at 7:05 p.m.
By roll call, members present: John Walsh, Edward Handi, Karen Izzo and Matt Cripps. Al Felice and David Mikos arrived directly after roll call. Robert Bell was excused.
Parks and Recreation Director Dennis O’Connell was present. Athletic Director Kenneth Marcucio was absent.
Additions or deletions to the agenda:
Without objection, the agenda was accepted.
Approval of minutes:
A motion was made by Edward Handi and second by Karen Izzo. Move to accept the minutes of the meeting on March 10, 2003. Motion carried unanimously.
No one was present and the public portion was closed.
Little League has requested help from Public Works for some special projects. Mr. O'Connell will speak with Public Works to coordinate the request subject to their availability.
Chairman Walsh received communication that the State is intending to change the use of Osbornedale State Park to a walk-in park. Parking area gates would be closed and the attendant’s maintenance duties would be reduced. The reason for this change was due to State budgetary reductions. It was noted that this change would effect the recreational programs as the lower parking lot is utilized during activities at Ryan Field Complex.
A motion was made by Karen Izzo and second by David Mikos. Move that a letter be sent to the DEP expressing opposition to this change at Osbornedale State Park and offering increased local commitment to the facility. Motion carried unanimously.
NEW or OTHER BUSINESS:
Cultural Commission request to use Ryan Field Complex for Derby Days: Mr. O'Connell indicated that plans are going forward. The vendor visited the site and saw no problems with the arrangements of utilizing the track area and the upper area by the scoreboard for the rides. The booths and the stage will be on the softball field.
Parks & Recreation Director’s Report: Mr. O'Connell noted that the High School Girl’s softball will be using the softball field for nighttime games. This created a burden to the scheduling as plans were to have Little League use the facility at that time. Generally, the High School uses the fields in the afternoon. Also, soccer is seeking to have use of the picnic grove and this complicates the scheduling. Members expressed concern for these difficulties and felt it would be appropriate to meet with the Board of Education to apprise them of the ongoing difficulties. The Board of Education has no fields under their jurisdiction and it has been customary practice for the recreational programs to accommodate their scheduling needs.
Mr. O'Connell noted the recreation department budget for fiscal year 2003-2004 has been submitted to the Board of Apportionment and Taxation with no net increase. There have been some changes within the line items. Playground wages have been reduced by one counselor to accommodate the merging of the programs to the Bradley School facility with the transportation costs being included in the program costs. He noted that he has made arrangements with Valley Transit for transportation for the Summer playground program. Another change was with equipment maintenance, which was reduced and supplies, which was increased. Mr. O'Connell noted that repairs have been made in the last two years that has resulted in a decrease in maintenance needs. The boy’s and girls basketball programs were merged so as to express better equality between the two programs.
Members discussed whether raises for the employees should have been proposed. It was felt that there should be a performance appraisal process in place to provide for timely increases. As the budget was already submitted, members decided to discuss this further and approach the Board of Apportionment and Taxation for a possible increase but it was understood that being that it is late in the year, this may not be accomplished for this fiscal year.
Members discussed the revenues received each year. The last two years have far exceeded the estimated amount. It was questioned if this excess surplus revenue could be applied to the recreation department or at least to validate the request for raises for the employees. It was noted that all revenues go into the general fund and the department has no control over said funds. Mr. O'Connell noted that a dance was held recently that raised $800 which will go towards buying a new curtain for the stage. Members discussed how such special fundraising should be handled being that the department has no checking account specific to the department. This will be explored.
A motion was made by Al Felice and second by Edward Handi. Move to approve the 2003-2004 Recreation Department budget, as presented. Motion carried unanimously.
Athletic Director’s Report: Mr. Marcucio was not present.
Programs Committee – Ms. Izzo stated that Little League will be using the State’s sex offender registry on the internet to satisfy the National League’s requirement for background checks. The Committee continues to look at the cost of performing more extensive background checks for all the coaching staff. The Committee is working on a formal application form. There was discussion on a database for the programs and the directors were enthusiastic about the idea. This would help in defining field use needs, budgetary needs and tally the number of participants in each of the programs as well as track staff information. It was expressed that if this database is implemented that there will be a need for a central location for the information. Security of the information is paramount and there will be a need for a dedicated person(s) for this task.
Plans for the Golf Tournament are continuing. Members are communicating with the Board of Apportionment and Taxation and will communicate with the Board of Alderman to address the financial aspects of this venture. It is anticipated that revenues will balance against expenses with no foreseeable profit this year.
Facilities Committee –The Committee has not met and is awaiting a decision on the soccer plan.
Members have been touring the facilities to determine maintenance needs. It was questioned why the fallen tree remains on the slope by the football field. This will be investigated for safety concerns. Also, Mr. Handi expressed the need for bleachers at the softball field. He pointed out that bathrooms at the facilities are locked while events are going on and he asked if this could be remedied. Mr. O'Connell will advise Public Works.
Mr. Felice noted the accomplishments of Maria Conlon and suggested that the basketball courts at the picnic grove could be dedicated to her. This idea will be forwarded to the Board of Alderman or the committee being formed to acknowledge her accomplishments.
A motion was made by Edward Handi and second by Matt Cripps. Move to adjourn this meeting at 8:32 p.m. Motion carried unanimously.
The next Parks & Recreation Commission meeting will be Monday, May 12, 2003 at 7:00 p.m. at City Hall. If the Aldermanic Chambers are unavailable then the Veteran’s room will be requested.
Karen Kemmesies, secretary
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