City budget does not include extra $50,000 for parks, rec

Published 9:30 am Wednesday, June 15, 2011

FRANKLIN—The Franklin City Council voted 5-2 Monday night to adopt a $52 million budget that will not include an extra $50,000 for the city’s Parks & Recreation Department.

Despite a call from citizens and a push from members of council, a motion to fund more programs within the department to help youth by going “back to find money” was voted down 5-2.

Councilman Greg McLemore, who made the motion to increase the parks and recreation budget, said the additional money, which would be used to provide more youth programs, could come from waste within the current budget and would not need to be taken out of any reserve funds.

“Unless it’s changed, I cannot approve this budget because it has too much waste,” McLemore said.

Council members Barry Cheatham, Mary Hilliard and Benny Burgess supported the budget.

“I’m not willing to just write a blank check to Parks and Recreation because I’m sure they could spend it,” Burgess said.

Vice Mayor Raystine Johnson said she didn’t see where the money would come from to give additional funding to the department.

Councilman Don Blythe said he would like to see money in the budget provided for a full-time information technology person. Blythe said he had a lot of questions about the performance of the person currently contracted to do the job.

“I think I have a legitimate complaint here and it’s falling on deaf ears,” he said. “I’m going to get my answers.”

Finance Director Shelia Minor said the Parks & Recreation Department proffered up $5,000 from its operating budget this year to help balance the overall budget, but “every department gave up something.”

The operating budget for Parks & Recreation this year is $392,078 compared to an operating budget of $393,900 last year.

In addition, the police department gave up two grant-funded positions to help balance the budget. Although funded by a COPS grant, the positions would have required an additional year’s pay from the city plus operating costs.

The budget provides for a 1.5 percent pay increase for all city employees and will not result in a tax increase.