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« GSO in DC | Main | Whipped »

Jun 15, 2012

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Joe Killian

But, sadly, par for the course.

When asked why they didn't give the city a heads-up before making this decision, Alston said to me: "Well, it's happening in January. This is their heads-up."

Roch

Joe, I imagine maintaining parks requires some significant physical resources. Do you know if the County expects to utilize existing equipment and supplies or will capital expenditures be necessary?

Joe Killian

That, like a lot of things about how the transition will happen, isn't entirely clear.

My understanding is that most of the park resources actually already belong to the county and most of the human resources will go through a transition to become county employees.

The people who I interviewed expecting the biggest uproar -- some of the people now managing the park -- say they don't actually expect it to be that difficult a transition. Chris Wilson, interim parks director for Greensboro, said that while their department will miss the fee he thinks the county can handle it and the parks will continue to be as good or better.

There are some lower level employees who worry the county will, as it has done with many other things, decide to cut corners to the extreme and end up harming the parks. But the truth is that they could do that now -- there's just an extra layer and the municipal managers would be tasked to carry that out. I'm going to be watching this to see what happens -- the county doesn't have a terrific track record, frankly, in properly funding and caring for the things it owns.

Andrew Brod

Joe, if your reporting says otherwise, then fair enough, but my guess is that the capital equipment belongs to the city. One of the reasons one pays a management fee is to avoid having to deal with equipment.

The county feels it can save money by no longer paying the management fee. Even if it cuts operating expenses, Roch's question is on the mark. If I'm right about the city owning the equipment, then either the county will have to buy/rent it from the city, or buy/rent it from someone else. The county might save money, but I'll bet it won't reclaim the full 10% unless it cuts services and maintenance as well.

Joe Killian

Oh, I don't claim that all of the various types of equipment now being used to maintain the parks belong to the county and not the city (cities/towns).

But the county does own a lot of like-kinds of equipment it now uses elsewhere.

It's unclear at this point -- because they just threw it out there and they're refining their plan in the next 30 days -- just how they're going to make this transition and what it might cost/what they'll recoup.

I'm very skeptical -- as I think all rational people should be -- that the county can actually maintain the parks for cheaper at the same or a higher level of quality. I'm also skeptical any money that's saved is actually going to go toward improving the parks. But I want to see more details and, as everyone's now scrambling to figure out what this is going to be, we just don't have them yet.

But rest assured -- there will be more stories.

Roch

Thanks, Joe.

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