By ABBEY KUNKLE
Special to the PRESS
The SPI Parks, Recreation and Beautification Committee met last week for their regular monthly meeting.
With the fiscal year nearing its end and budgets being submitted for the upcoming year, committee members addressed confusion regarding the financial responsibility of park maintenance. Recently, the committee began working on a list of repairs needed in existing parks to be submitted to the city council. After some inquiring, members were informed that the Public Works Department would perform the labor for repairs, however it was unclear where the monies would come from as a maintenance fund for parks had not been allocated in any budget.
The confusion stemmed from the idea that the responsibility of the Parks Committee is to make recommendations to the city council in regards to the parks rather than use their funds to make those repairs. Even enhancement projects were in question as some members felt there should be committee funds at their discretion to use on enhancements, while others disagreed maintaining that those should also be completed upon recommendation to the council.
On a positive note, members noted that Mayor Barry Patel has been extremely responsive when brought up to speed with maintenance issues. Committee member Kerry Schwartz said, “I think the mayor’s been very, very responsive to the needs of the Island itself, whether its sidewalk improvements, fixing potholes, whatever, when it’s pointed out to him. We’re the eyes, and he gets it done.”
Councilman Dennis Stahl was in attendance and added, “On the issue of maintenance, speaking as one council member and not speaking on behalf of the entire council, I don’t think we do an adequate job of maintaining many facilities or budgeting for the maintenance of many facilities.”
“It’s not just our parks, but it’s other things. I think the mayor has made it very clear that if we’ve got to fix it, let’s go get it fixed. And he’s very assertive in that,” he said.
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