Financial troubles deepen for parks department

first_imgThe already beleaguered Vancouver-Clark Parks & Recreation Department is facing its biggest budget shortfall since the recession began, with a 10 percent budget cut, program reductions and layoffs on the horizon.A 20 percent drop in recreation center revenue, combined with a repurposing of Clark County funds away from the parks department, have combined to create a $1 million to $1.3 million shortfall in the department’s $10.5 million budget, city officials said Friday.All city employees were notified by email, and all of the department’s 65 employees (a number that goes up to more than 300 seasonal workers in the summer) have been warned of impending job losses. Just who and how many people will be lost isn’t yet clear, but will be in the next one to three months, Parks Director Pete Mayer said.“In terms of what we’ve experienced … this is more significant than other (budget shortfalls),” he said.Vancouver isn’t making the money it was from its recreation centers, Mayer said. The city has already instituted a 5 to 6 percent increase in monthly recreation center prices this year (it costs about $40 a month for a rec center pass), closed the Firstenburg Community Center an hour earlier, and also closed the Marshall Community Center on Sundays.Officials thought that losses may be due to typical ebbs and flows of revenue, but as the peak time of summer wound down, City Manager Eric Holmes said it became clear that the losses were ongoing. Cost recovery at the city’s recreation centers was above 80 percent in 2010; now it’s below 70 percent.last_img

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