Aldermen up rec. budget to help cover new projects

Published 5:00 am Friday, August 22, 2008

The Brookhaven Recreation Department is picking up several newprojects in the upcoming year.

With spray parks and regular parks and a walking trail allbringing additional expenditures to the department’s budget, theboard of aldermen is looking to provide a budget consistent withthe new expenditures.

“If you’re asking them to do more, you have to give them morefor it,” said Ward Six Alderman David Phillips. “You have tomaintain what you put out there.”

Recreation Department Director Terry Reid submitted a budgetrequest for $552,683.12 from the city, with an additional $8,167for the 4 percent raise that the city is implementing.

Reid had $384,726 figured into the budget for general salariesand benefits before the percentage raise, as well as $56,007 forgeneral operation expense. He scheduled $34,048 for the officebuilding and depot, as well as $264, 321 for program expenses,bringing the recreation department’s total expenditures to$739,103.59.

The difference would be made up in fees paid by participants inthe recreation department’s events.

“Bear in mind that it’s a quality of life issue,” Phillips said.”If you build it, you’ve got to maintain it.”

The board agreed to allow the recreation department $560,000 inthe light of the new projects it will be taking over.

Massengill said the spray parks will be bid out Sept. 3, andconstruction will start shortly thereafter, meanwhile the walkingtrail and Bethel Park will also be new expenditures for the year.Of the new budget, Reid estimated that $15,380 would go to the newprojects.

Reid said the spray park budget would include $4,000 forelectricity at the spray parks, and $1,200 in electricity for thewalking trail. In addition, he budgeted $900 for the chemicals towinterize the spray parks, as well as a combined budget of $7,400for maintenance for both spray parks, Bethel and the walkingtrail.

City Clerk Mike Jinks mentioned that the budget for therecreation and parks department was pretty reasonable. He mentionedhad recently seen budgets for cities of 8,000-9,000 people withparks budgets of as much as $600,000.

Alderman at-large Les Bumgarner mentioned that the depotdowntown needs more money in the budget for maintenance aswell.

Ward Four Alderwoman Shirley Estes also requested more money forlandscape maintenance, saying the budget had held steady at $18,000a year for several years.

“I’m open to suggestions on what the board would consider a goodamount,” she said.

The board agreed that a $6,000 increase would be a good raiseand would reflect the cost of expenses through the years. Thelandscape maintenance budget includes upkeeping the planters,mulching flowerbeds, pruning, and other sundry processes, Estessaid.

Aldermen also discussed the possibility of having a legislativeagenda, and putting together a list of ideas they would like to asklocal legislators to fight for when the state Legislature is insession each year.