No games at parks/rec budget meeting

Mayor Strange looks to cut fat from the parks and recreation budget.
Mayor Strange looks to cut fat from the parks and recreation budget.

Written by: Jennifer Oravet - bio | email
Posted by: John Shryock - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Montgomery's mayor is taking a new approach to creating the 2010 budget. He wants to go line by line putting every dollar under the financial microscope.

Under his plan every department starts with zero dollars, and has been told to add only what is essential to function.

Monday saw a review of the police department. On Tuesday Mayor Todd Strange met with the directors of city facilities and leisure activities. 2010 may introduce some major lifestyle changes for the capital city's parks and recreation.

"Why do we have a golf course?" Mayor Strange asked during the meeting. In this round of budget talks everything is up for discussion including the golf and tennis courts. They're a black eye for the park and rec budget. Strange estimates they're subsidized with up to $1.3 million in city funding.

Other organizations that fall under leisure activities, like Old Alabama Town, are under the microscope as well. Currently, the city gives it more than $400,000 a year by contract, but all the profits go to the Landmark's Foundation. That's something Strange says must be addressed.

Mayor Strange is also challenging facilities like the Riverfront to charge minimal prices for 'staycations' and weekend events, even a small fee for the family movies at the amphitheater.

"Had you thought about maybe charging a buck a head - maximum five bucks - just to offset the maintenance and clean up costs down there?" the mayor asked.

The leisure facilities and maintenance department's initial budget is around the $29 million mark. Mayor Strange is asking department heads to find new ways to reduce that number.

The city council will vote on the budget in August.

©2009 WSFA. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.