Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee Minutes 04-17-2024

View the PDF version Google Docs PDF Viewer

                              Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee
                               Wednesday, April 17, 2024 at 5:30pm
                                        City Hall Room 204


Present: Aaron Bodbyl-Mast, Lynnette Marks, Leann Heywood, John Burt, David Ruck, Sarah De La Rosa
                       Absent: Sidney Long, Roberta King, Hillery Ross-Furse

  I.   Approval of 3/20/2024 minutes
          a. Motion by Burt, second by Heywood to approve the March 2024 meeting minutes;
             unanimously approved.

                                            Motion passes

 II.   2024 Parks Budget & 2025 Priorities
          a. Director Karczewski presents a budget summary for the Parks Department with the goal
              of bringing a proposed 2024-2025 fiscal year budget to the next meeting that the PRAC
              can approve which can ultimately be brought to the City Commission for final approval.
                   i. The Parks budget summary shows the total budget as $2.63 million this year.
          b. Director Karczewski provides the group with a handout comparing Muskegon’s numbers
              to the National Parks and Recreation Association standards and averages. He mentions
              these are just used for benchmarking, comparing why we are so far off from national
              averages and standards, looking at what areas we are lacking in, and where
              opportunities for growth and improvement are.
          c. Lynnette Marks notes that we should be proud that we offer more parks and more
              services than the national averages while giving kudos to the City staff for being able to
              manage those assets.
          d. Bodbyl-Mast gives insight to how volunteers are used in Ottawa County where he
              works. They are often used in admin positions (as opposed to operational positions) like
              answering phones as well as helping to remove invasive species.
                   i. He also mentions an organizational chart would be helpful for the board to be
                      able to understand how the Parks department staffing is structured. He inquires
                      about how to go about recommending that more staff is hired within the
                      department. DPW Director VanderHeide explains that the decisions ultimately
                      comes from senior leadership but the time to ask is during the budget process.
                      Bodbyl-Mast says he could see a Project Manager who oversees budgets, grants,
                      and other things like these being helpful to the department.

III.   2024 Recreation Budget & 2025 Priorities
          a. Director Karczewski first mentions a proposed fee schedule for potential programming
              and was looking for board input.
                  i. Noteworthy fees were the cost for Youth Sports and Summer Camps.
                         1. Youth Sports were listed at $45 for residents and $60 for nonresidents
                             with the idea that nonresidents would help to fund the subsidized
                             resident cost. It was mentioned that, if necessary, fees could be waived
                             for those who don’t have finances available to participate. Questions
                             were raised from Ruck about how you decide who qualifies for fee
                              waivers or not. Bobdyl-Mast said in Ottawa County they use the SNAP
                              benefit guidelines for this.
                                   a. Mayor Johnson inquired if we had a fee scheduled from the old
                                       Leisure Services Department. Director Karczewski said he would
                                       look into it and email it to the board for reference.
                          2. Summer Camps are listed at $100 a week for Residents and $145 a week
                              for Non-Residents. Multiple board members asked about both the
                              YMCA and Boys and Girls Club Summer Camps that have been taking
                              place. Director Karczewski explains that those organizations may or may
                              not be continuing into the summer of 2025, and we are just putting
                              these onto the Fee Schedule on the chance that we do need to offer
                              these in the future. Marks brings up that when her kids were young the
                              parks programs were mostly free and she thinks there may be that
                              expectation. DPW Director VanderHeide clarifies that in order to offer
                              programs that are free to the public, the budget will need to reflect that
                              with the money being moved into the Recreation Budget from
                              somewhere else. In regards to the $100 a week for camp, Heywood
                              suggests that we ensure that we provide all of our research and data as
                              well as comparables to assist in making the number more digestible.
                                   a. Ultimately, the decision was made by Director Karczewski to
                                       table the Summer Camp fees for a future date.
         b. In an email to the board, Director Karczewski asked for ideas for new recreation
            activities that they would like to see added to list.
                 i. De La Rosa informs us that she has a special needs child and there are very few
                     activities in the area that she is able to do with that child. She often has to take
                     them to Grand Haven for barrier-free activities and would like to see more of
                     those options available locally. Marks mentions utilizing the resources at MPS
                     like Wesley School and others to get the word out to families in need
         c. De La Rosa thinks the Parks & Recreation Department needs their own social media.
            Director Karczewski follows this up by saying that is the long-term plan as our staff and
            programs grow.

IV.   Swim Buoys at Harbour Towne
         a. Director Karczewski applied for the DNR permit for five Swim Buoys at Harbour Towne
            Beach, and it is currently being reviewed by them. The plan is to have them in place for
            this summer. They will keep boats from coming too close to shore and protect

V.    Public Comment
         a. Comment from Jonci Jensen.
                 i. Concerns about the difference in Resident vs. Non-Resident rates was raised as
                    there are many rural areas outside of the City of Muskegon with families who
                    still may have financial struggles.
                ii. Leaving space for divergent populations outside of just the physically disabled.

                         Motion by De La Rosa, second by Ruck to adjourn.
                               Motion passes.

Meeting adjourned at 7:33pm.

Top of Page

Sign up for City of Muskegon Emails