The City Council has decided to consolidate the city's Recreation and Leisure Services Commission and Community Affairs Committee into one citizens advisory board, a proposal that has brought mixed reaction from members of the two panels.
In an effort to reduce costs, the council wants to establish a seven-member Community Services Commission responsible for advising the council on matters such as park acquisition, recreation, arts, culture, housing and distribution of community grants.
The new commission would include two business representatives.
The council plans a July 20 review of an ordinance setting up the commission. If the council approves the idea, the two existing boards would be abolished and applications for the new commission would be accepted.
Established more than two decades ago, the five-member recreation commission advises the council on adult and youth recreational program and senior citizen activities.
Formed about a dozen years ago for the specific purpose of gathering citizen input on how to use community development block grants, the nine-member community affairs committee now also handles any other issue the council refers to it.
If the two boards are combined, Recreation and Leisure Services Director Mary Gonye and Community Development Manager Bonnie Kirk would both serve on the new commission, with Gonye attending those meetings pertaining to recreation issues and Kirk attending when a community issue is on the agenda.
Recreation Commission Chairman Paul St. Clair supported the consolidation, saying, "It's one way of tightening up the money situation in the city."
But members of the community affairs committee were apprehensive, saying they fear the community will lose representation. The nine members represent various neighborhoods and have provided residents with an effective vehicle for expressing local concerns, said chairperson Kim Ryan.
Ryan and other committee members have offered to give up their $50 monthly stipend and serve for free as an alternative cost-cutting measure. "No one cares about being paid," said Majeski.