Citizens For A Better Norwood

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Norwood Recreation's letter re 15% budget reduction

Following is Norwood Recreation Director Jenny Wallace’s letter defending Recreation’s budget in response to Finance Committee Chairman Victor Schneider’s 10/21/10 letter (see below) asking City department heads to reduce expenses by 15%. We obtained copies of both letters from the Clerk of Council’s office via a public document request following the 11/9/10 council meeting when Mr. Schneider made the public aware of Recreation’s letter by voicing strong objection to it.

We welcome comments that advance discussion about the letters and the City’s budget issues. As always, we will moderate unpleasant, uncivil, over-the-top comments we deem inappropriate for our blog.

November 5, 2010

Dear Mr. Schneider:

This letter is in response to the City’s request to the Recreation Commission to cut our funds received by the City by 15% for 2011. This Commission has been very diligent and active in working with the City to help create our budget, and have met our budget year after year. As you are aware, the recreation budget is only .004 of 1% of the City’s overall operating budget. A 15% cut is approximately $13,500, which we believe, to the City, is not a significant amount, but to the commission is a very significant amount.

Over the last several, the Commission has worked very hard to maintain and even increase programs to our residents. We have actively pursued grand funding and private sponsor donations to keep the activities available. Given the current economic situation, the available grants and our sponsors have made cut backs. Therefore, we will be receiving at least $19,000 below what we have received in the past in grants and sponsorship funds. We were very aware of this decline and have considering our alternatives to meet our budget restrains. Even before being notified of the request to cut funding from the City, we were considering options such as closing one if not two of the City’s pools. If the City cuts our budget, pool closings in addition to other cuts will have to be made in our programs. We believe that the recreation programs are vital to the continued growth of our City. Families want to live in areas that provide community activities and offer family oriented programs. Many of our surrounding communities dedicate a much larger portion of their operating budgets to their park and creation facilities. These communities continue to draw in new families from other communities as well as keep the current population. As a commission, we would like to offer more community events and activities, but without at least maintaining the current budget that will not be possible. We would like to proposes an increase in our budget to enable us to continue, as well as, expand our programs. We would be happy to discuss our ideas with you about the future of our programs and facilities. Attached please find our current budget with no cuts and our recommended budget for 2011.

In closing, we feel that a decrease in our budget will be detrimental to the continued progress of recreation programming. Thank you for your time and consideration or our request.


Jennifer Wallace
Executive Director
Norwood Recreation Commission

Cc: Norwood City Council, Jim Stith

Attached to the letter were copies of the 2011 Recreation Budget (same as the 2010 budget with no cuts) and the 2011 Recommended Budget, which has 4 increases totaling $4,500:

2010 Budget: Youth Athletics’ youth classes: -0-
2011 Recommended Budget: Youth Athletics’ youth classes - $1,500

2010 Budget: Victory Pool Salaries - $6,000
2011 Recommended Budget: Victory Pool Salaries - $7,000

2010 Budget: Burwood Pool Salaries - $6,000
2011 Recommended Budget: Burwood Pool Salaries - $7,000

2010 Budget: Office: Seniors Classes - $100
2011 Recommended Budget: Office: Adult/Seniors Classes - $1,000

Total 2010 Recreation Budget: $199,120
Total 2011 Recommended Budget: $204,120
Recommended increase: $4,500