A new parks and recreation ordinance was approved by a 3 to 2 vote—with Mayor John Bassett breaking the tie—at the Edgewood town council meeting July 17.
New Edgewood parks and rec manager, Korrina Christensen, completed work begun by previous manager Roger Holden to develop an ordinance to replace the current one, according to Bassett.
Christensen said all of the changes were opposed by the current members of the advisory committee.
Changes she highlighted affecting the parks and rec advisory committee include reducing the number of members to five, down from six; making meetings quarterly rather than monthly; requiring committee members to visit each park and facility in Edgewood annually, reporting on condition, needed repairs, improvements, and ideas; and synchronizing members’ terms of office with the calendar year.
The advisory committee reports to Christensen, who then reports to the governing body.
The public was invited to comment, and two committee members spoke, offering corroboration of their opposition to the ordinance.
Committee member Ray Seagers was concerned about community participation with fewer committee members. Christensen said that public comment was recorded at 64 percent of the meetings in the past four years.
Seagers said committee member participation would flag with less frequent meetings. Christensen said average member attendance ranged between 4.6 and 5.2 of the six member committee over the last four years, holding monthly meetings.
Councilor Sherry Abraham said, “I think the problem is the committee feels they’re not being valued.”
Bassett said, “We’ve got a new person and she believes this is how it will work best for her. As she goes along, and she’s got her committee with her, they will find their new level.” He said he liked the 5-member committee.
Abraham said, “So we’re going to pass an ordinance to please our current parks and rec administrator that all of her advisory committee is against.”
Councilor Linda Holle said, “We should support our town employees.”
Holle then moved to accept the ordinance, seconded by councilor John Abrams. Abrams and Holle voted aye, and Abraham and councilor Audrey Jaramillo voted nay. The tie was broken by mayor Bassett voting aye, establishing the new ordinance as law in Edgewood.
The Independent spoke with Christensen, an Edgewood native who likes to bicycle, play tennis and skateboard.
She said there is currently an empty seat on the committee, so changing to five members will require no adjustment in personnel.
Christensen said she, “didn’t know what to expect,” about the outcome of the vote.
“Everyone should feel free to speak on what they want. I had the opportunity to make changes and this is what I came up with. I not holding against anyone anything they said tonight,” Christensen said. “I just hope that no one holds any hard feeling against me for the new ordinance.”
She said annual site visits by individual committee members will provide “concrete evidence of what the committee does,” and will make it possible “in an organized way, to categorize all the facilities and what needs to be done.”
“I want the parks to be well-maintained and our town to be proud of them,” Christensen said.