3% increase in recreation budget request includes pool, lifeguard increases

Written by Administrator
 | Wednesday, 11 December 2013 16:33

The Recreation Department operating budget for the next fiscal year will increase approximately 3 percent; however the Percy Walker pool budget, which is part of the Recreation Department, will increase over 8 percent.

Recreation Director Gor- don Cushing presented his FY2015 operating budget to the board of selectmen Monday night. The recreation department oversees four budgets: recreation, the pool, the North Hill Country Club, and the beach and pool lifeguards. Cushing also discussed revenues and expenses for the recreation revolving fund, an account that takes in fees for programs. Expenses for these programs are funded from this account. The recreation department runs 45 programs, including many youth sports programs such as soccer, field hockey, basketball and tennis.

Cushing also detailed his capital projects, which total $106,500 and include $65,000 to change the water in the pool.

The Recreation Department oversees playgrounds, tennis courts, the pool, field use for town and school facilities, and two town buildings that are rented by various groups: the Tarkiln Community Center and the Girl Scout House. It also has contractual oversight of the town’s nine-hole public golf course at North Hill and is in charge of the pool and beach lifeguards. The Recreation Department has 110 employees – most of them part-time.

Cushing said he is looking for a 2.4 percent increase in the recreation department budget, which includes an extra $4,177 for salaries and $300 less for expenses. The total is $165,278.

At $392,367, the pool budget shows an 8.2 percent increase, “which is directly related to two things, compensation and utilities,” said Cushing

A reclassification and salary study conducted last year by the personnel board for all town departments has had an impact on the salary budgets for many of these departments. Cushing said the study showed the pool management and part-time employees were not being paid enough. The pool salary budget includes an extra $10,924, or a 5.6 percent increase, to cover pay raises for eligible employees.

The pool expenses line item is expected to rise by 5.6 percent, or $9,978. The major costs are an increase in electricity, natural gas and janitorial services at the pool, Cushing said. The pool’s electric bill for FY13 was over $43,600. The gas bills total $34,881. Janitors costs are expected to rise $2,000 to $18,000 for FY15.

Cushing said he was given utility cost estimates that were too low for the renovated pool and he can now see the trend of the actual costs since the pool re-opened in 2010.

The pool budget is an enterprise account, meaning that it is paid for through user fees. Revenues amounted to $378,000 this year, while the budget totaled $371,465.

The lifeguard budget is also expected to increase for a total of $19,850. $18,900 of that is for salaries. Cushing said an extra $1,400 in the budget “is directly related to raises.” Lifeguard hourly rates will rise 50 to 75 cents an hour to $11.25. Other local towns pay $12-$13 an hour. Cushing said this past summer the residents’ walk-on section of Duxbury beach was the busiest in years due to the closure of the drive-on section.

The North Hill country club budget will remain at $2,000 for FY15. This money is used only for emergencies at the golf course that are the town’s responsibility and usually most of the money is turned back at the year’s end, Cushing said.

As part of his capital budget, Cushing is hoping for $65,000 to fund the removal and replacement of the water

in the pool. While the actual new water only costs $8,000, the project also consists of acid washing the interior and re- grouting the tile, since the acid wash dissolves the grout. The filter sand is also removed.

Cushing said that this project is done once every five years because after that time the water is too old to be treated with chemicals and has reached the levels required by health codes. Cushing said the water builds up “total dissolved solids” that can no longer be filtered out.

The pool would be closed during cleaning, which would occur in April 2015. Cushing said the pool water has been removed five times before during his tenure.

Cushing is also looking for $30,000 to repair the tennis courts on Alden Street near the library. This would be done in the spring of 2015.

He is also requesting $5,500 to paint the exterior trim and power wash the shin- gles on the 13-year-old, town- owned North Hill clubhouse. Cushing said the paint on the wood trim is original and pret- ty much worn off. He is also seeking $6,000 to remove and replace the indoor carpet in the clubhouse, which is original and is torn and stained. These maintenance projects are the town’s responsibility, he said.