Ah, the money crunching  goes on.  It’s like being caught in an on-line statistics class, only these numbers mean real people. Late Wednesday the Supervisors’ Budget & Finance Committee sat in City Hall to hear what the Recreation and Park Department had to say about the budget analyst’s recommendations for the 2009-2010 fiscal budget.

“This hearing was the fruit of long negotiations between the budget analyst, Harvey Rose, and our Department.  Last Monday, we had already settled on an agreement,”  Katie Petrucione, the director of Finance for the Recreation and Park Department told Mission Loc@l. “ We agree on all his amendments besides the layoff of our public relation manager.”

Rec and Parks, which in 2008-2009 worked with a budget of $136.3 million faces an $11.4 million dollar gap for the next fiscal year. But unlike many in the state legislature, Rec and Parks sees fees as the solution.  Among other ideas, the yearly swim pass would jump $20 to $170 and the botanical garden will no longer be free for non-residents, who would pay $7 dollars.  With that, the department hopes to make $100 000. In addition, it will authorize the San Francisco Municipal Transport Agency to identify areas in the Rec and Park property profile that are suitable for paid parking. Ka-ching and another $ 150,000.

It’s unclear how much the department’s public relation’s manager earns a year, but the San Francisco Chronicle reported last March that in 2007, 45 Rec and Park Employees made more than $100,000 with the top earner nudging $200,000.  Even that salary, however,  failed to place him in the top 50 city earners. But looking up city salaries in the Chron’s data base is great fun.

Back to the meeting.

District 9 Supervisor David Campos stepped in. “This morning, San Francisco welcomed the new chief of police, George Gascón. But I think public safety isn’t just about law enforcement. Access to recreational activities is also a key factor to public safety.”  Harrumph.

Campos reminded the gathering of the two sets of layoffs that have already occurred in February and in May.  Those meant restructuring hours and laying off staff. “These recommendations are pushing away lots of young people. The community’s health is going to be affected,” Campos said.

After the meeting Campos told Mission Loc@l that he was “going to figure out a way to add money. I have hope.”

The budget analyst’s final recommendations are subject to approval by the Budget and Finance Committee and then the Board of Supervisors.

Next week, next stop. The Budget and Finance committee meets again on June 24th to hear from the public.  Bring your picnic basket.

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I’ve been a Mission resident since 1998 and a professor emeritus at Berkeley’s J-school since 2019 when I retired. I got my start in newspapers at the Albuquerque Tribune in the city where I was born and raised. Like many local news outlets, The Tribune no longer exists. I left daily newspapers after working at The New York Times for the business, foreign and city desks. Lucky for all of us, it is still there.

As an old friend once pointed out, local has long been in my bones. My Master’s Project at Columbia, later published in New York Magazine, was on New York City’s experiment in community boards.

Right now I'm trying to figure out how you make that long-held interest in local news sustainable. The answer continues to elude me.

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1 Comment

  1. Good to know what is happening in the Rec and Park department.
    Hey, those parks are important to be kept open for our kids, parents,seniors, joggers etc. This should be an absolute priority!
    I want to be a top earner in the Rec and Park Department in my next life!
    Lets hope Campos can come up with some creative ideas for more budget $$ by June 24th. I’m bringing my picnic basket!

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