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Local News

December 10, 2013

Council to consider YMCA plan next week

The Oneonta Family YMCA proposal to run recreational and swimming programs for the city next year will go to the full Common Council for a possible vote Tuesday.

The council’s Community Improvement Committee, which includes four council members, discussed severing the recreational and swimming components of the proposal.

Chris Slonaker, YMCA board chairman, said the organization is ready to work with the city on providing programs, but he would have to go back to the board for consideration of dividing the proposal.

Under the YMCA’s plan, the city would pay the YMCA $65,000 for programming, including staff and supplies, for 2014. The YMCA would seek additional revenue through application and nonresident fees.

While the city would see savings in out-sourcing management of recreational programs, council members discussed the larger issue of which entity had the better program expertise.

Mayor Dick Miller said discussions about changing management of recreational programs has been under review since 2010. If management is changed, there is sufficient parks work to be done by existing staff, he said Monday night.

Michael Lynch, Fourth Ward council member, remained opposed to the city turning its swimming program over to a private operator. The city already runs its aquatic programs efficiently and could make adjustments to yield savings, he said Monday.

Lynch and YMCA representatives tried to compare costs to operate the swimming pool but were frustrated by lack of details on the city side. Questions also remained about the administration of fees to non-residents and identification of city residents.

Third Ward council member David Rissberger supported approving the complete YMCA proposal, which is based on a one-year contract during which the fees issue and structure could be worked out.

Seventh Ward council member Bob Brzozowski also supported the YMCA proposal, and Second Ward council member Larry Malone said he was 90 percent in favor of the plan.

Malone is chairman of the council’s Finance Committee, which meets at 9 a.m. today and will review the plan.

Consideration of the YMCA proposal by the full council Tuesday would be somewhat ahead of schedule. This autumn, Miller had asked CIC and the Parks and Recreation Commission to review the YMCA proposal and provide feedback in time for the council’s first meeting in January.

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