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Commissioners to weigh Briscoe purchase, Senior Program plans

The Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission meets Monday to vote on recommendations on the Senior Program, budget modifications to fund a new superintendent position and the purchase of Briscoe School.

The ad hoc Senior Program Advisory Committee, which met over the last five months, finished its list of 34 objectives that it hopes will expand and improve the program’s level of services.

Throughout its process, the committee collected input and feedback through several avenues, including listening sessions and a community survey, according to the parks staff report.

Among the long list of recommendations, the committee proposed a change in level of personnel, which would create a superintendent position and a program coordinator position, inflating the program’s budget more than $100,000 in personnel costs.

Parks Director Michael Black, who supports the proposal, said the department doesn’t have surplus fund within its current budget to accommodate the change. On Monday, he will present a plan that would temporarily and permanently cut positions in other divisions.

According to a staff report, the parks division will reduce a full-time position to part-time and “re-evaluate contract employees” for a total of $50,000 in savings. Under the current budget, the parks division has 23 full-time positions, overseeing 767 acres of parks forest land and 48 miles of city trails.

The administration division will carve out $10,000 by cutting a part-time position. Other parks staff will absorb the responsibilities of these positions. Both cuts will be temporary, according to staff report.

The recreation division will eliminate the supervisor position at the seasonal ice rink and delegate the responsibilities to the golf course assistant manager position. The decision — totaling $70,000 to fund a program coordinator — was made through “strategic planning and suggestions from the performance audit, as the Senior Center program coordinator will also work for the recreation division as an adult programming coordinator.”

The Parks Commission will also vote on the purchase of the open space behind Briscoe School. The other two parties to the sale — the city and the school district — both voted to authorize the sale on March 20. The parks portion of the deal is valued at $500,000 to be paid over 10 years. Parks will use its Food and Beverage Tax revenue to cover the payments, according to the staff report.

Parks will continue working to enter a intergovernmental contract with Ashland School District, where parks will provide additional services to the district in North Mountain Park for compensation.

The Parks Commission will also get a foundation report on the Lithia Park Master Plan from a Portland consultant firm at its Monday meeting.

The report, based on initial field work, site analysis, review of key planning documents and the historic record and public input, will lay out “the common basis of understanding of park elements.”

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the Council Chamber, at 1175 E. Main St. The meeting is cable- and webcast live on RVTV.

—Reach reporter Tran Nguyen at 541-776-4485 or tnguyen@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her on twitter @nguyenntrann.