The Covington News - - Front page -

fund­ing a fa­cil­ity which it did not over­see.

The cen­ter was ap­proved by res­i­dents in the 2005 spe­cial lo­cal op­tions sales tax vote, but District 1 Com­mis­sioner Mort Ewing said that the word­ing of the SPLOST only spec­i­fied that the county was to buy land in District 4 and build the cen­ter.

“From my per­spec­tive, I feel that the Board of Com­mis­sion­ers has ful­filled its obli­ga­tion to vot­ers of New­ton County by ap­prov­ing the pur­chase of the land and the construction of the build­ing,” Ewing said, adding that he sup­ported the Mans­field Cen­ter op­tion.

How­ever, if it works out, all com­mis­sion­ers seem to find the Recre­ation Com­mis­sion op­tion a suit­able com­pro­mise. Hai­ley said that he would dis­cuss the idea of the Recre­ation Com­mis­sion tak­ing over the cen­ter with the com­mis­sion’s board of direc­tors at its Sept. 28 meet­ing.

“I think this a great project and we need to get the lo­gis­tics worked out. I can’t speak for the (Recre­ation Com­mis­sion board), but I serve at your plea­sure, and if you com­mis­sion us to do it, we will run that fa­cil­ity like we run Tuner Lake or any fa­cil­ity,” Hai­ley said.

Hai­ley said the idea was pro­posed be­cause the county was looking for other man­age­ment op­tions and be­cause the Recre­ation Com­mis­sion has ex­pe­ri­ence run­ning cen­ters and fa­cil­i­ties. Hai­ley said some of the big­gest ques­tions will be whether the com­mis­sion can af­ford to run the cen­ter, what kind of ad­di­tional fund­ing could be se­cured and what role the ex­ist­ing 501(c)3 board would have.

Hai­ley said the com­mis­sion’s ex­pe­ri­ence part­ner­ing with Wash­ing­ton Street would be valu­able in pos­si­bly get­ting af­ter-school and com­mu­nity pro­grams set up, in ad­di­tion to recre­ation pro­grams.

The orig­i­nal FY2010 busi­ness plan called for the cen­ter to pro­vide par­ent meet­ings, af­ter­school tu­tor­ing, arts and crafts for cit­i­zens of all ages, field trips, youth de­vel­op­ment, recre­ation pro­grams, spe­cial events and sum­mer camps, well­ness pro­grams, com­puter train­ing and work ethics train­ing. The plan also called for rental ser­vices for civic groups, churches and fam­i­lies.

Ac­cord­ing to the plan, the pro­posed FY2010 bud­get was $52,840, in­clud­ing $37,100 for a di­rec­tor’s salary and ben­e­fits, $6,240 for a part-time em­ployee, $2,000 for se­cu­rity, $500 for a petty cash fund and $7,000 for a used van. The money was orig­i­nally bud­geted in FY2009 and comes out of the $500,000 set aside in the 2005 SPLOST. Ex­pected rental rev­enue was $450 per month.

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