Try alternative funding for recreation program, says Norwood resident
Friday, April 4, 2014 - 7:19 am

To the Editor:

With regard to the upcoming vote in the Town Of Potsdam for the creation of a Recreation Department.

Have the village and town councils considered other ways to fund the current recreation department other than by burdening the property owners with more taxation?

Has anyone considered enterprise funds? Enterprise funds in the public sector are a relatively new development in recreation services. These funds are a resourceful way to inform the taxpayers that if they chose not to pay for specialized services through taxes, those that want to use the facilities and/or services would have to pay through user fees.

Additionally, enterprise funds are treated as a business operation. Accountability is placed on the town and/or village council as an administrator on behalf of the constituents, the taxpayer, and/or the user. This particular point is principal in the overall success or failure of the venture.

And in reality, the park and recreation director is a professional operating the department as a business. Sound business practices must be well thought-out when programs or facilities are operated as enterprise funds.

The recreation department has to diversify opportunities to draw in a wider variety of consumer, broadening the user fee base. This requires thinking outside the box. Facilities can no longer be just an arena for hockey, figure skating or public skating and a beach and softball facility.

Collaboration with universities to create and implement diversified programming would be a way to create new consumer potential. As well, work should be done to develop significant dialog that would define and obtain financial support from these two large tax free, and highly assessed value; property holders within the village and township.

The same directive must be completed with Brookfield, as they are the majority player with the waterfront.

Simply put, it’s well past the time for the property owning tax-payer to continually be financially burdened as the majority revenue source for everything in this town. I know some will say I’m turning a blind eye to the need for recreational resources for our children; when in actuality I’m not.

I’m saying the need has to be met somewhere else. Conducting business as usual isn’t working for the taxpayer anymore. As a property owner you are a taxpayer to whom the village and town councils are accountable.

Voting no on this issue will make them be accountable, not only for tax dollars but for finding ways to met the need elsewhere.

Tracey Haggett-Sloan