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Parks Dept Request: Afterschool Programs, Rangers, And Pools


Part of the City of Sacramento Parks and Recreation Department budget proposal for next year includes money for after-school programs that are in the red.

Parks Director Chris Conlin says the START and 4th R program have a combined deficit of about a million-and-a-half dollars.

"4th R had a projected shortfall of approximately – because we don't know until all the parents sign up and everything – $1 million," Conlin says. "And the START program had a projected shortfall of $410,000."

According to Conlin, voter-approved Measure U sales tax revenue, grants, matching funds and general fund dollars would make up for the shortfall.

"We need to do some long-term thinking about how to remove those deficits," Conlin says. "But, in the interim, we're making sure we're supporting them."

The city council will consider the proposal during a special session  Tuesday afternoon.

"We've put in general funds in the proposed budget at $1.12 million to cover the shortfalls and the funds," Conlin says. "This is in addition to the ongoing $552,000 that we put in every year in the START programs for the match. Because it's grant-funded, so we have to do a match. And $340,000 that we put in of Measure U funds to bolster the 4th R program shortfalls."

Conlin says, to save money, about half of the program sites have been closed since the beginning of the Great Recession.

Voter-approved Measure U sales tax money would pay to open all 12 city pools and five wading pools for most of the summer.

It will be the first time since the Great Recession all of the pools would be open.

"We can't exactly match the Memorial to Labor Day just because the schools go back into session and that's who all our lifeguards are predominantly," Conlin says.

The Measure U funds would be used to repair aquatic buildings,  community centers and the softball complex.

The department's proposed budget also calls for the creation of three new full time and one part-time ranger position.

Conlin says an increase to staffing would allow the department to have a supervising ranger on duty.