Commissioners rate priorities

Parks notebook originally published in the The Southwest Journal on November 5, 2007

By Mary O’Regan

During study sessions on Oct. 3 and 17, Park Board commissioners participated in an anonymous rating system to help MPRB staff prioritize items for the 2008 budget. As questions popped up on an overhead screen, the commissioners used electronic clickers to give their answers on a scale of one to five, often ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree.

The first half of the session dealt primarily with financial issues, such as fee implementation and where to move funding. During the second half, the board rated aspects of MPRB programs and services, with three commissioners missing. The following are examples of some of the results:

• Seven of nine commissioners were either lukewarm or supported increasing property taxes.

• Eight of nine commissions wanted to provide outdoor concerts that are fee-based and generate a profit to the board.

• All but one commissioner thought the Park Board should consider becoming an independent agency.

• All nine commissioners believed that the MPRB should get their LGA directly rather than getting a percentage from the city.

• All of the six commissioners who were present put medium to high priority on adapting the open hours of recreation centers to suit the needs of the community.

• Four of six commissioners gave closing recreation centers a low priority rating.

• Five commissioners felt that the Park Board should be a sustainable organization; one person voted neutral.

• Four of six commissioners want to reduce the number of ice-skating rinks in the city by six.