City to remove youth recreation from budget; director’s fate uncertain
City council members unanimously endorsed plans Monday to turn over youth recreation to Marion’s school district.
David Mayfield plans to draft a letter of understanding with the district for a plan of cooperation, which would include turning over the city’s ball fields to the school district.
The school district would take over most youth sports, but the city would continue to support Art in the Park, Chingawassa Days, holiday events, and similar celebrations.
“I think that is the best thing for everyone,” Mayfield said. “They would represent their school district, not just the city.”
The move would allow the city to do away with its recreation budget, Mayfield said, and would save the district money because it would not be charged to use baseball fields.
“I have drafted a letter of understanding, because I want everything in order, and I want to make sure they will take it over,” Mayfield said, “because we are going to have to create a budget really quick.”
The district has indicated it would like to take over East Park as well,. The city cannot deed it over to the district, but it can lease it to the district for several years.
Mayfield did not go into detail about the responsibilities of city staff, including current recreation director Margo Yates.
Originally a half-time recreation director and half-time chamber of commerce secretary, Yates took over supervising city parks and the cemetery after the chamber disbanded. Those additional duties recently were eliminated, and Yates seems to be focusing on tourism.
City administrator Roger Holter said city officials had not gone into specifics about how the plan might impact personnel because the plan still was being developed.
“As the mayor announced, it was just a preliminary conceptual agreement with the school district to possibly take over youth recreation activities,” Holter said, “and that’s as far as the conversations have gone at this point.”