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Parks & Rec Budget On Deck

Ocker outlines re-allocation and deferment plan

Despite several significant budget revisions, the Garden City Board of Trustees took no action to adopt the proposed 2014-15 budgets presented at a recent study session. Kevin E. Ocker, the chairman of the Board of Commissioners of Cultural and Recreational Affairs, outlined modifications made to the proposed parks and recreation budget since it was last presented.

“Since Feb. 8, our budget requests for the recreation and parks operations and the capital have been modified,” Ocker said. “I want to confirm that our amended requests sustain our diverse level of service in every area. In addition, our general revenue centers, including program revenues, St. Paul’s field house rentals and the St. Paul’s field rentals now project a 5.5 percent increase raised from our original projection of $464,000 in general revenues to now internal revenues to $492,000.”

One of the major proposed changes to the parks and recreation budget is reallocation of capital projects to contractual-service line items. The original capital request was $761,000, but Ocker proposed moving $105,000 of that to contractual services. “Our capital plan had a number of small funding requests, and several of them have been for years now just infrastructure maintenance items that ended up in this capital plan,” he said.

If all of the athletic courts and fields across the village needed to be replaced, that would be a capital expense, Ocker suggested. However, many of the courts and fields just need to be resurfaced from year-to-year. Other items formerly listed as capital requests include repair to the irrigation system at St. Paul’s, estimated at $35,000, and minor heating and ventilating projects, such as small boiler replacement. Projects such as those total about $105,000, which Ocker recommended be re-allocated from capital to contractual services. “Projects that we can handle with contractors by getting quotes [that] are under the $35,000 threshold allows us to keep ahead on repairs of existing structures,” he said.

Ocker also recommended deferring playground equipment replacement apparatus and safety surface at Grove Park, a $75,000 line item, for one more year. Along similar lines, he proposed deferring playground building rehabilitation, specifically upgrading the exteriors, and “take steps accordingly with our in-house people to do the most important repairs,” including minor painting and soffit work, he said.

Ocker’s plan to defer streetscape improvement was met with opposition from some board members. “I really don’t want to defer [streetscape improvements] but in order to meet the budget demands that we are all faced with, we’re going to defer … hardscape improvements to the 7th Street and Franklin Avenue business district,” he said, admitting, “Improvements like that attract people to our community [and] those areas are tired.”

Projects he suggested that need to be addressed but should be deferred include replacement of pavers, many of which are undulating, installation of raised planters and flowering baskets on light poles, increased seeded areas, addition of small white lights to trees, and replacement of benches and waste receptacles.

“Since I’ve been on the board, and this is the sixth budget I’ve sat through, this project gets pushed off each year,” Trustee Dennis C. Donnelly said. “The pavers on 7th Street, [which] get the most wear and foot traffic, are in bad shape­—they are up and down. I’d like for us to take a look at what we get in lawsuits on trip and falls on 7th Street.” He also suggested installation of small white lights on trees be a priority. “I realize the budget is tight, but I think the board should consider this has to get done some point in time.”

Trustee Nicholas P. Episcopia questioned whether enhancements to the village’s business districts could be done gradually. “Yes, it could be phased,” Ocker replied, for example, allocating money for benches one year.

To sum up, Ocker’s revised capital budget request is $256,000, down from $761,000: $100,000 for trees and $156,000 for equipment, including trucks, mowers and a brush chipper.

Trustee Robert A. Bolebruch suggested chopping trees from the proposed capital budget. “I would much rather take $100,000 and plant trees and plant trees next fall or a year from now and deal with the safety of the parks and the safety on 7th Street,” he said. “To me, that is money much better spent.”

News

Village hosts internship pilot program

The Village of Garden City is currently hosting a pilot internship program this summer for four Adelphi University students. The eight-to-10-week test run is also the first time the school has partnered with a municipality, according to its Center for Career Services.

Planning started in May when Mayor John Watras approached Village Administrator Ralph Suozzi about the possibility of hiring interns during July and August. Suozzi, who said he had student interns at his last job, said the program helps provide college students with experience in exchange for a new perspective for village officials.

Ozzie

Ozzie is a playful pup looking for a new friend to match his exuberance. He has begun basic obedience training at the shelter and so far has proven to be an “A” student. Ozzie is friendly and gets along well with other dogs. He needs an experienced companion dedicated to continuing his training.


Sports

Summer Concert Schedule

Garden City’s Department of Recreation and Parks is happy to announce the schedule of its concert series “Summer Music on the Village Green.” The concert series will be held at the gazebo on the corner of Stewart and Hilton Avenues. Concerts are held on Thursdays beginning at 7:15 pm. The schedule is as follows:

July 24    Six Gun

July 31     Tangerine

August 7    The Terry Nova Little Big Band

August 14    Vintage Bliss

To register for any of the above programs for find out further information about openings, please visit www.gardencityrecreation.org for an application or the recreation office at 108 Rockaway Ave.

The Best Secret In Town!

Did you know that each of our neighbor hood parks runs a playground program every summer? Children entering 1st through 8th grades who are residents of the Village are invited to come to the park during the summer to find out what activities are taking place.

Each park has its own “flavor” and “favorite” activities. The park directors and their staff run games, sports, tournaments, and arts and crafts activities during the day and into the evening. Trips are also run through the parks.  


Calendar

Summer Concert: Tangerine

Thursday, July 31

Friday Night Promenade Continues

Friday, August 1

Marvelous Movie Matinee

Monday, August 4



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
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Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
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