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CSD board discusses community center budget woes

Ideas for closing the budget shortfall continue to dominate the meetings of the Cameron Park Community Service District and the most recent meeting was no exception.

Board President Shiva Frentzen proposed cutting the budgets for the community center and for parks and recreation by 10 percent because they are in the red. As of the end of March, the community center showed a $170,000 deficit and parks a $73,000 deficit. However that motion was delayed until next month.

Resident Barbara Rogers complained that the board was not serious about the issue. “This should have been discussed in December,” she said. “Every agency in the county and in the state have made cuts but not this district.”

CPCSD General Manager Mary Cahill responded by saying that when the current year’s budget was originally adopted, they had anticipated a shortfall of $200,000. But with savings from the fire department, they expect to end the year with a surplus of almost $300,000. Cal Fire saved money by not filling a position and by implementing other cost saving measures.

Board member Greg Stanton said that while he applauded the work of the fire department, perhaps a more accurate budget for fire should be $200,000 less.

“We are falsely budgeting more for the fire contract than we need,” he said. He claimed that the district has been balancing its budget off the fire department for several years. “Maybe it’s unrealistic to think the community center can be self-supporting,” Stanton added.

Rogers countered Stanton’s statement, saying that the community had been sold on the idea of the community center as being revenue neutral. “It was supposed to be self-supporting.”

Frentzen later offered a motion to implement a hiring freeze of all new full-time employees with benefits until the 2013 budget was approved and labor negotiations completed. Cal Fire would be exempt from the motion.

But Cahill said the district is currently in the process of interviewing to fill the position of recreation coordinator and they needed the position filled because of all the planned summer activities.

Cameron Park resident Gerald Lillpop suggested the district use interns or welfare-to-work clients to fill positions. “Placerville is closed on Fridays. El Dorado Hills is laying off people. But here we aren’t cutting.”

That suggestion didn’t gain any traction, and when a vote was taken on Frentzen’s motion it failed with only Frentzen and Sean Tucker voting for it.

The seriousness of the budget issue was addressed in a different way when board members suggested suspending the regular stipend they receive for attending meetings.

Tucker suggested the stipend be suspended for a year starting next month. “This is something we can do on our part.”

Stanton recommended instead that the stipend should be suspended beginning in April and continue through June 30 of next year. “None of us are doing this for the money,” he said. “You’d have to be out of your mind to think that.”

Currently one board member is already not accepting the stipend and another said he is donating his to charity. Board members can receive up to $600 a month depending upon how many board meetings and subcommittee meetings they attend.

When the vote was called, everyone on the board voted not to accept any stipend from the district beginning in April and continuing through June of next year.

The board also picked a date for their next budget workshop — May 2 at 5:30 pm.

Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or dhodson@mtdemocrat.net. Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.

Short URL: http://www.villagelife.com/?p=20358

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Posted by on Apr 27 2012.
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