MIDDLEBURY — The Board of Finance, meeting Wednesday, February 5, discussed the upcoming budget for the Parks and Recreation Department, an expense of $315,694.
Parks and Recreation Director Betty Proulx explained that she’d worked with Chief Financial Officer Robin Stanziale to prepare the numbers, including the self-sustaining account, which has an anticipated revenue of $111,190.
Expected revenue for the department is $51,000 from admissions and passes, gate receipts, boat racks and storage, and recreational programs.
Temporary salaries were increased due to an expected increase in minimum wages that will take place September 1.
Advertising increased due to an increase in pricing for the program brochure published three times per year and there is a new line item in her budget to cover the annual maintenance for the RecTrac computer program and online registration.
The program has information stored for 3,353 families.
Ms. Proulx also provided an overview of the department, noting that the staff includes a secretary in addition to herself.
They maintain phone, register participants for programs, take reservations for rooms in Shepardson Community Center and schedule the gyms in three schools.
During summer months, the staff increases to include 48 seasonal employees, not including instructors and volunteers.
There were 124 programs offered in the 2018-19 fiscal year with 1,128 participants and 233 online registrations.
The department also coordinates holiday décor in town and the volunteer garden at Route 64 and Tucker Hill Road.
Special events include the Memorial Day parade, Middlebury Night at Quassy, the tree lighting on the Green, Easter egg hunt, Trick or Trunk, Basketball Turkey Shoot, Celebrate Middlebury, Fourth of July at the Middlebury Recreation Area, summer playground, teen camp, Skyhawks sports camp and LEGO camps.
The department maintains Ledgewood, Meadowview, Bristol and School House parks, and the greenway.
Ms. Stanziale pointed out that expenses related to town wells were shifted to the Public Works Department as that group takes on responsibilities for maintenance, reducing the Parks and Recreation Department budget by $6,000.
As the finance board examined the budget, Ms. Proulx explained that programs have been cancelled due to lack of registration, but not because of budget restraints.
Chair William Stowell said he’d like to review the protocol for programs that might run in Shepardson Community Center.
He added that, in the past, the finance board had looked at fees and the needs of groups who wanted to rent the center for use, but he would like to review the department needs.
Ms. Proulx said that review would be very helpful.
Acknowledging that she is about to retire, Mr. Stowell said, “Sorry to see that you’re leaving us.”
She responded, “Thank you for all your support over the years.”
In his report to the board, First Selectman Ed St. John shared a draft copy of the proposed 2020-21 budget.
He pointed to wage increases at an average of 2.5 percent, with a 2 percent increase for elected officials, except for the selectmen.
He expects to share an official copy of the budget at the next meeting, after working with the CFO to make sure numbers are correct.
Mr. Stowell announced the finance board would reconvene in three weeks, Wednesday, February 26, to continue discussions with department heads and review the budget.
He asked board members to review the budget carefully in order to prepare for that meeting.