Thorsby parks board dissolved

Published 9:21 pm Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Thorsby council Thursday night abolished the town’s park and recreation board, reassuming responsibilities for the operation of the parks, concession stands and leagues.

The move, which was voted on unanimously, will now place Mayor Dearl Hilyer and some volunteers in charge of the operations until the council can draw up guidelines for an advisory committee.

“We have got to get control of this situation,” Hilyer told the council. “This operation runs through between $120,000 and $150,000 each year. It has to be run better than it is.”

The 14 members of the park and recreation board were invited to a meeting with the council, but only one was in attendance.

The decision was reached primarily because of the park and recreation board’s inability to properly manage the operation’s finances, which this year will apparently finish with a loss.

All remaining games, programs and upcoming tournaments will be held as scheduled.

The council decided in a specially called meeting after their council meeting to provide funds to the park and recreation board to help offset losses by coaches and teams that were created by a poorly designed registration fee and sponsorship fee structure.

According to town records, the park and recreation board had an operating balance of $48,000 at this point last year. As of Thursday, the board held a balance of $14,563.95 with an immediate list of payables totaling over $9,000. According to officials, there were remaining expenses that would be coming in over the coming weeks that would all but max out the remaining funds.

“It is simply not run like a business, and it must be run like one,” councilmember Tara Jewell said. “This can be run right, and it needs to be run right.”

Councilmember Neal Benson, who has been the council’s liaison with the park and recreation board, said Thorsby’s leagues and parks at one point were the example others wanted to follow.

“We want it to be the best again,” Benson said. “At one point, everyone used to look at us and see how it was supposed to work.”

Councilmember Marvin Crumpton’s feeling was a little more fundamental.

“We have got to get back that this whole thing is for one group … the kids,” Crumpton said. “We’ve got to keep that in mind.”

Hilyer said his plan is to have an advisory committee in place, complete with guidelines, fee structure and policies before the fall football leagues begin to form.

“All I know is that it will be better than it has been, and we are going to get this right,” Hilyer said.