At the Board of Finance meeting, a major issue discussed was the $200,000 deficit for Parks & Recreation. The total budget is $4 million, which funded mostly by user fees. Memorial Auditorium has a $125,000 loss due to less big events and more events being held at Flynn, UVM and Higher Ground. The budget was hit hard with higher fees for heat and electrical as well. The city should consider either selling the property to an individual or group that will run it better and maybe bring back more business to the city or at least consider contracting out the managment of the building to someone who will promote it and has experience in event planning and entertainment. It was mentioned at the meeting that it may not be well-marketed enough. Getting the building off our hands would wipe out a good portion of the budget shortfall as well as bringing in additional revenue since the building would become taxable if run by a private entity.
Suggestions for reducing the shortfall by the board of finance included cutting lifeguards at north beach, cutting the winter festival, kids fishing derby and Latino festival. Also suggested was reducing the # of paid city arborists. We currently have 4 arborists on staff.