Faced with a cutback in staff and meetings, members of the Park, Recreation, Marina and Cultural Commission are preparing to rally the community to come to their assistance and convince the City Council to keep the panel intact. Members reacted Tuesday night to a proposal to cut PRMCC meetings from monthly to every other month, and to have a rotating staff member serve the panel.
The issue will be discussed Feb. 1 at a joint City Council/PRMCC meeting, which begins at 5:30 in the City Hall Council Chambers.
The city is reeling from budget and staff cuts, and Mitch Austin, who presently staffs the PRMCC, is a contract employee. City manager Phil Vince wants Austin to devote his allotted hours specifically to the Marina. The proposal is for Public Works Director Dave Scola and City Engineer Tim Tucker to rotate staffing duties with Assistant City Manager Alan Shear, and to cut the PRMCC meetings to either every other month, or quarterly.
But those proposals are not sitting well with commissioners.
“We’re a forum to discuss issues that the council has essentially delegated to us,” said PRMCC chairman Dylan Radke. If (the council) wants longer meetings, they can cut us to every other month.
“Measure H (a $30 million bond approved by voters in 2008 for park and recreation improvements) is spending a lot of money to keep this city going,” said commissioner Richard Patchin. “Is this a way to circumvent this commission and the oversight it provides with the expenditure of Measure H funds? I don’t understand how you can limit a commission that is overseeing these (park improvement) projects.”
“I worked on Measure H committee,” said commissioner Gay Gerlack. “One of the arguments we had against Measure H was that if the city gets its hands on the money it will disappear. We promised that the PRMCC will make sure the money would be used as written in the bond. If the council cuts our meetings to every other month or quarterly, I will use all my contacts to rally the community. The citizens have shown so much confidence in this commission. It’s an insult to the community to cut back on what we’re trying to do. A couple of (the councilmembers) are up for re-election. If they want to put some nails in their coffin, that’s a good way to do it.”