If there’s a spring in your step — or a lob awaiting your tennis ball — then there’s a good chance that the budget of the matters to you. In the FY 2012-13 budget and taking into account a transfer of utility costs to public works, the department’s budget increased by $66,679, or just more than three percent.
The overall departmental budget rose from $2.192 million to $2.196 million.
“We have a beach. We have a pool. We have nature centers. It’s not like it’s one facility. alone is 60 acres,” said Amy Mangold, who directs the department, when asked to summarize its activities. “We have nine tennis courts. We have a skate board park. We have a . . . We mow all the athletic fields. We paint and line all the athletic fields. We have a teen center. We maintain , Treadwell Park, Oak View. We have a . We plow the schools in the winter.”
“It’s astronomical,” said Mangold, pausing, albeit briefly, to catch her breath. “The benefits we provide to this town are endless.”
The capital line in the department’s budget for fiscal year 2012-13 increased by slightly more than $25,000 — a sum that includes monies toward the replacement of a 2001 Chevy pick-up truck the department uses.
Mangold said the department had sustained a large cut in lifeguard funding during the last budget year and, as a result, had to reduce its swimming services.
“We were really unhappy we had to do that,” she said. “We don’t want to cut services.”
In this year’s budget, the department gained a partial restoration of that sum.
In addition, the department is moving its summer day camp to Dickinson Park. To accommodate what is projected to be increased enrollment, the department also received a modest increase for additional staff hours there.
Mangold said the department does a lot of labor-sharing with the as it tries to find ways to reduce project costs.
She cited the ongoing work at Oak View Field as an example. There, the department is refurbishing soccer fields and, in the process, opening up additional recreational space for other sports, such as lacrosse.
Between the use of a used bulldozer the department had purchased with funds from the last budget cycle and labor it shared with Public Works, the department is completing the project in-house. That brought the $68,000 cost of the project down to $48,000. Then, the Parks & Recreation Commission approved the use of the department’s surcharge fund — a fund to which sports organizations that use its facilities contribute — for the remaining $48,000.
She also cited Newtown’s , which opened last December, as an example of a project the department completed that cost the taxpayer a reduced sum. The entire project, she said, cost $120,000. Of that, a total of $25,000 came from Newtown's budget because the town did the bulk of the groundwork for the park in-house. Fundraising and donations covered the remaining expenditures.
Similarly, for the Park and Bark Dog Park, the department served as a catalyst for fundraising that met half of the $50,000 it cost to create the park.
Said Mangold: “We really try to look at ways we can save money.”