Council approves second reading of Parks and Recreation ordinance amendments

By Ben Holbrook | Jan 10, 2013

Belfast — City councilors approved the second reading of amendments to the Parks and Recreation ordinance following lengthy discussion at their Jan. 2 meeting regarding whether to change who is responsible for the maintenance and management of the range ways.

Under the city ordinance, the Parks and Recreation Commission was responsible for the care and maintenance of the range ways. However, councilors were split on whether the ordinance should continue to list range ways under the duties of the commission.

Carol Good, chair of the Parks and Recreation Commission, recommended that the commission be responsible for the range ways, while the City Council would have the final say on how they are used.

Councilor Mike Hurley agreed with Good that range ways should the responsibility of the commission, and later suggested modifying the ordinance to state that any “serious issues” that involve the range ways would require the involvement of the city manager.

A suggestion was made by Councilor Roger Lee to further amend the ordinance language to read that the Parks and Recreation Commission serves in an advisory capacity for issues relating to range ways and rights-of-way.

Lee’s suggestion was preceded by concerns raised by Councilor Nancy Hamilton, who cited a need to have the city manager be the one responsible for handling any issues regarding the use of the range ways. Hamilton said her concerns were the result of issues in the past where questions regarding the use of range ways received different answers from different city employees.

Hamilton suggested that by having information coming from one source –- such as the city manager –– any potential communication issues would be avoided.

Parks and Recreation director

Councilors considered amending the job description for the Parks and Recreation director position with a focus on finding a candidate who is trained and experienced in creating and operating recreational activities.

Part of the effort to enhance the recreational activities offered by the city would be to work with outside groups, such as the Waldo County YMCA, to assist with enhancing programs. However, Mayor Walter Ash Jr. cautioned that such an arrangement should be considered carefully to avoid the duplication of activities.

Ash explained that the city provides $50,000 in funding each year to the YMCA and said he didn’t want to see the city and the YMCA provide the same programs. To that effect, Ash said he would be open to putting money aside specifically for recreational activities.

Councilors unanimously approved the second reading of the proposed Parks and Recreation ordinance amendments.

Republican Journal reporter Ben Holbrook can be reached at 338-3333 or at bholbrook@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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