Hiring Freeze Ices Morningside Rec Center Summer Camp
By Carl Wagenfohr
CLEARWATER – The effects of Clearwater's hiring freeze, implemented early this year in anticipation of a potential $7 to $13-million budget deficit in fiscal 2009/10, are starting to be felt.
Kevin Dunbar, Director of Parks and Recreation, explained at Monday's City Council worksession that the rumored closing of the Morningside recreation center is false. “We're adjusting the hours at the facility to be consistent with the hours that programming is currently happening,” he said.
Dunbar explained that there will be two changes at Morningside to compensate for the transfer of two employees to the understaffed Long Center. Its summer camp program will be eliminated, with the Long Center camp program to be expanded to “offset that.”
Secondly, the center's doors will not be open outside the hours that it currently provides programming “because it won't be staffed,” Dunbar said. There will be no impact on the Morningside pool operation.
“This is going to be a continuing trend everywhere,” said Mayor Frank Hibbard, “We're going to have to fish where the fish are more than ever, and there's going to be certain centers that are going to be more robust, and some that aren't.”
“We are going to less facilities and, hopefully, more robust facilities than numerous remote facilities that are much more expensive to operate. We simply don't have the funding to do that,” said Councilmember Paul Gibson.
“If we don't want to raise taxes significantly, there's going to be a reduction in services. And it's not just Libraries, it's Parks and Recreation and everything else. There's nothing that's going to be sacred this year,” said Hibbard.
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