Park and Rec Director Paul Dyer: "There's Not a Sheet in This Budget That Makes Me Smile."

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Park and Recreation Department Director Paul Dyer
If you've got the time this morning, you should check out the live feed of the city council's budget workshop, where, at the moment, the topic of discussion is the Park and Recreation cuts. Earlier, council member Ann Margolin told City Manager Mary Suhm she's concerned about the trims to park maintenance: "Eliminate contract and day labor impacting litter pickup and removal, mowing and trimming," per the briefing presentation. Said Margolin, she's got a number of parks in her district located near single-family homes, and she worries that parks will deteriorate and lead to a loss of quality of life. To which Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway suggested discussing the issue before the council's Public Safety Committee before the September 23 pass-by date.

After that, Pauline Medrano discussed a town hall meeting she held last week, where several parents said they were upset with proposed cuts to summer camps at recreation centers, which are having hours slashed. Said Medrano, this is "a very emotional meeting and emotional issue for the parents. When they talk about their kids, they talked about the organizations that the kids have at the recreation center -- the positive influence. ... I actually had a mother there crying. She said, 'I'm a single mom, I have two jobs, and that's one place I feel they're well cared for. The staff loves them.'"

Steve Salazar then asked Park and Rec director Paul Dyer about plans to "eliminate the youth development program which includes teen programs serving 1,700 youth and includes the staffing for the Youth Council." Wondered Salazar, who also mentioned proposed cuts that will eliminate most city-sponsored sports programs, what about those kids? "Odds are," he said, "some of these kids are going to get in trouble."

To which Dyer responded, "There are no good choices. ... There's not a sheet in this budget that makes me smile."

Update at 11:41 a.m.: Caraway suggested naming a "czar of naming rights" for Park and Rec, who could sell to corporations, oh, a park's name or a park bench. "We're leaving a lot of money on the table." Which reminds me: Whatever became of the attempt to sell the naming rights to the Cotton Bowl?

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