Fewer parks workers may mean cuts for local sports teams
Carson City youth sports officials say they strongly oppose a proposal that will go before the Board of Supervisors Thursday that could result in a major loss of field time and services.
Supervisors asked staff in early March to determine if they could reduce the number of seasonal positions this year as a way to save money. For parks, cutting three to five workers would mean local sports leagues would be asked to reduce field use by 25 percent — cutting 25 out of 100 games, for example, said parks Director of Operations Scott Fahrenbruch.
The city is facing a budget deficit this year of up to $1 million, officials said in March, and a $2.2 million shortfall next year.
The parks department will ask supervisors Thursday not to make any cuts to temporary staffing to avoid the loss of service, Fahrenbruch said. However, supervisors do have the authority to eliminate any or all of the jobs.
Carson City Youth Sports Association, which serves 4,000 players each year, unanimously rejected the proposal at its meeting last week after a presentation by Fahrenbruch.
“I think it’s horrendous,” said Dave Young, president of Carson City Girl’s Softball. “It’s quite possible our program may fall apart.”
Young is already struggling to provide more for the 400 players in the league. It is trying to keep up with competing Douglas County and Reno programs that offer more activities to players, Young said.
The Youth Sports Association pays for the use of Edmonds Sports Complex and Governors Field. Spring means the start of play for Carson City Little League, Babe Ruth, softball, BMX bikes and soccer clubs. In the fall, soccer, football and baseball teams pay to use the parks.
The parks department usually hires 12 seasonal employees from April 1 to Oct. 1 to assist with maintaining and servicing sports fields and parks. Fahrenbruch estimates a total savings of $60,000 if six of those temporary employees were cut.
“Basically, what we’re going to do is put it on the table and show them what the impacts would be,” Fahrenbruch said.
Currently, the parks department provides the highest level of landscaping and maintenance service to sports fields and city buildings. If one or two positions were cut, the public would see a minimal difference, Fahrenbruch said.
If three to five positions were not filled, all sites would see a reduction in service and sports groups would be asked to reduce usage.
The elimination of six or more seasonal positions would decrease the ability parks maintenance services, and work would focus mainly on safety.
“We would look at safety, and aesthetics would basically have to take a back seat,” Fahrenbruch said.
Supervisor Pete Livermore, who is also president of the Youth Sports Association, strongly opposes the cuts.
“I’m definitely not going to support that recommendation,” he said. “I’ll always have a sensitivity towards kids.”
In other matters scheduled for Thursday, supervisors plan to take action on a proposal to change zoning of a parcel owned by the Boys & Girls Club of Western Nevada in the Silver Oak neighborhood.
The change would allow the land to be developed into neighborhood businesses. Discussion is expected to begin at 4 p.m.
IF YOU GO
What: Board of Supervisors regular meeting
When: 8:30 a.m. Thursday
Where: Sierra Room, Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.