When they meet at 5:30 this evening, members of the City Council and the Park, Recreation, Marina and Cultural Commission will not be exchanging hearts and flowers. The PRMCC is expected to insist that its meeting schedule be monthly, and the council is almost certain to equally insist that the panel meet less often.
At issue is money. The city is cutting back on the number of meetings of the Planning Commission, and wants to cut the PRMCC down to every other month, or quarterly. Staffing the panels is expensive; staff is expected to do research, prepare agendas and staff reports, and follow up on sometimes complex decisions.
So far, the Planning Commission has been silent on the matter. But the PRMCC members have been reaching out to the public, through Facebook and other methods, hoping that the council will be convinced to let them keep their regular monthly meeting schedule.
A letter to the council from PRMCC chair Dylan Radke pleads the case, stating that after the passage of Measure H, the bond that funded the rebuilding of Rankin Pool, the library, and park upgrades, the commission is more important than ever in serving as a “bridge” between the public and the council.
“Since its creation, the PRMCC has been instrumental in providing a forum for the creation of public art, library use, boater and berther concerns at the marina, community concerns regarding city parks, the use of parks by the community for special events, use of the playing fields by the various youth organizations, park and aquatic center use fees, playing field use policies, and improvements to the amenities that the city facilities and parks offer,” said Radke in the letter. “There is no indication that the reduction will result in an actual cost savings to the city,” he continues, “but runs the significant risk of harming the PRMCC’s ability to address issues that it has been charged with overseeing.”
The PRMCC was created in 2009 from three separate panels – the Marina Commission, the Parks and Recreation Commission, and the Library and Cultural Commission. The council felt that much of the work of those three commissions overlapped, and combined the groups to achieve greater efficiency.
The 5:30 p.m. meeting this evening will focus on city budget issues, and the role of the PRMCC in supporting the council. An item discussing the possibility of keeping Rankin Pool open longer throughout the year was removed from the agenda.
The panel meets at 5:30 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chambers, 525 Henrietta Street.