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It is no day at the park for Essex

Posted on Friday, March 28, 2014 at 8:20 am

Reese Peck

Reese Peck

Recently, concerns over fiscal spending in the Essex County Parks and Recreation line item of the budget have come under public scrutiny.
With the community in an uproar and with signs plastered around the county both decrying and supporting local fiduciary spending, Essex County  Administrator Reese Peck sat down in a recent interview to shed light on the truth behind the rumors.
At issue is approximately $280,000 in expenditures earmarked for public programs, which, according to Peck, have been  the subject of much speculation as to how best reduce.
“In the past 18 months there have been questions asked about how to lower the Parks and Recreations department,” Peck said, adding that out of that budget approximately $77,000 is allocated to the public pool, including staff and upkeep as well as $197,000 that go to programs such as summer basketball near the pool, soccer, Easter Egg hunts, the Christmas parade and staff salaries.
Of that $280,000 investment, Peck estimated that only between $20,000 to $25,000 is returned in income.
In an attempt to even the investment versus the return, the county put out a notice looking for interested parties to bid on a better way to utilize tax-payer dollars with a better return both finically and for the betterment of the community.
Only one organization answered the call, Peck said: The Richmond County YMCA.
“This is about reducing costs and the [Richmond County] Y already handles our after-school program,” Peck said. “Our idea was to have a proposal put together so that the board of supervisors could review it and decide what is best for their constituents.”
Peck added that After Sylvia Allen, the former department head retired in December, the board filled the position with current program supervisor Kay Carlton, who has done an excellent job in her duties.
“As part of due diligence, however, and with the upcoming budget cycle and transition in leadership, we wanted to [look into] alternative changes in the…

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