Eliminating adult recreational leagues, reducing seasonal employees, cutting "extras" from some
programs, and fee increases for non residents are among the ways Bowling Green’s Department of Parks and
Recreation may balance its 2010 budget.
BG’s Parks and Recreation Board spent most of its 75-minute meeting Tuesday night talking about proposals
by Director Michelle Grigore to cover an expected $160,000 shortfall. Grigore said the shortfall amounts
to about 9 percent of the $1.8 million parks and recreation budget.
Based on Tuesday’s discussions and other information Grigore will gather in the next month, the board
will probably make recommendations on changes at its Aug. 25 meeting.
"We just can’t do everything we have been doing," she said.
Cuts in full-time staff are not being proposed. The 2009 budget shows funding for 17 full-time staffers.
The shortfall is caused by loss of $60,000 the department has received annually from the city’s general
fund to pay utility costs at the Community Center; $62,000 that is being lost by the end of the
intangible personal property tax (by state law) and an estimated $25,000 less from the portion of city
income tax receipts dedicated to parks and recreation. Grigore said the $25,000 could increase if city
tax receipts drop off more than the six percent city officials have indicated to this point.
"We’ve been cutting maintenance and capital improvements, now the cuts are going to have to impact
services," Grigore said. "In talking with supervisors it seems the focus needs to be on youth,
along with the pool. Those are services the community uses and for which there is no other
provider," she said.
Board Member Hobart Johnson urged caution when making cuts and raising fees. "In any business when
you affect your clients in a negative manner, you often never get them back. They go find the service
someplace else. This is serious business." Johnson said he understands the problem but wanted to
point out long-term consequences.
"We won’t hire as many seasonals and the professional staff will have to help staff more of the
programs," she said.
Grigore proposed a $3 fee for non-resident youth who attend camps and nature programs and an $8 fee for
non-resident youth who take part in multi-week sports programs. "I fell that is conservative but I
realize it may also discourage participation," she said.
Also proposed is a $10 increase in picnic shelter rentals and a $25 increase in building rentals, both
for non-residents. All the proposed fee hikes would raise an estimated $5,000.
Much of the $16,000 marketing budget would be eliminated by ending most printing and making the material
available on-line. Advertising would be eliminated. Staff clothing ($3,000) would no longer be purchased
and pool staff would have to provide their own suits and clothing ($2,500). About $14,000 would be saved
by changing the way personnel are used
to lock and unlock buildings after hours and on weekends.
Grigore wants to keep as many youth camps, sports and environmental programs as participation supports,
along with the swim lessons and the pool operation. The key to pool operation is avoiding large
maintenance expenses. One pump was replaced this season at a cost of $2,500. That expense will keep the
pool from breaking even this year, she said.
Although the Community Center continues to see increases in pass sales, Grigore said there may have to be
some adjustment in hours, likely based on usage.
Citing a 57 percent drop in adult softball leagues since 1999, she said the program will lose an
estimated $20,000 this summer. Recreation Coordinator Kristin Otley said the softball decline is a
national trend and noted that BG dropped its women’s softball leagues a year ago.
Men’s softball leagues were consolidated into three nights this summer. For many years games were played
five nights a week.
Basketball leagues have shown a 47 percent drop in participation, Otley said.
Other possibilities are dropping all concession operations, which Grigore said "barely break
The popular Friday Lunch in the Park program will remain but without entertainment, unless it is donated
or a sponsor comes forward.
Among other likely cuts: All entertainment programs, $4,000; eliminate cell phones, $5,500; drop Wood
Lane contract employee, $4,500; eliminate travel and training funds, $6,700; and eliminate T-shirts for
youth sports, $3,700.