March 05, 2014

Reorganization pitched for Recreation

As published in The Erin Advocate

A plan to trim costs while providing better service in the Town of Erin Recreation Department was to be presented to councillors this week, as part of the 2014 budget.

CAO Kathryn Ironmonger had asked Facility Managers Graham Smith in Erin and John Cunningham in Hillsburgh to come up with ways to improve operations.

The proposal includes having Town staff take over grass-cutting and maintenance at parks and playgrounds, with twice a week garbage pickup that could include the street bins in both Hillsburgh and Erin.

There would be a penalty to cancel current contracted-out services, and a capital cost for a landscape trailer and lawn equipment. 

“We will utilize the staff we currently have and work on staff scheduling to lessen the financial impact of wages to take on the extra duties,” the report says. “Our main goal is to improve service and facility levels and decrease complaints.”

Other plans include improvements to soccer fields, ball diamonds and other grounds, beyond the normal day-to-day operations.

They will be cross-training staff to work in different areas as needed, including other Town departments, to cut overtime costs.

The first draft of the Recreation Budget being presented this week shows staff costs rising 4.2% to $714,000. But lower costs in other areas, especially for Supplies, Materials and Equipment, would mean operating expenditures totalling $1.5 million, a reduction of 1.92% from last year.

Recreation revenues are expected to drop by $75,000 (8.7%) to $789,000, which means net operating costs would rise by 6.8%. When combined with an increase in capital expenditures, the overall department budget would be up 9.8%.