City of Jacksonville


Parks Task Force

Governance / Structure Statement Subcommittee

Minutes of September 13, 2004 Meeting

I. Date, Time, Place, Attendees

A. Date, Time, Place of Meeting

Date of Meeting: September 13, 2004

Place: Mayor's Office Small Conference Room

Time: 5:30 – 6:45 PM

B. Attendees

1. Lanny Russell, Chair
2. Rufus Pennington
3. T.R. Hainline

4. Coen Purvis
5. Gail McMorries
6. Pam Paul
7. Suzanne Jenkins
8. Barbara Goodman
9. Phil Bruce
10. Elizabeth Kohler

C. The Meeting

Mr. Russell called the meeting to order and stated that the sub-committee had discussed:

1) A Board of Trustees, appointed by Mayor and/ or City Council to oversee parks.

2) A Chief Executive Officer- type as leader of Parks Department.

3) A redefined organizational structure of the Parks Department.

Mr. Bob Baughman, Director of the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Entertainment, passed out an organizational chart outlining the existing department. He went over the chart and elaborated on the following:

· Although the chart shows a Deputy Director, there is no one in the position at this time.

· The role of the Planning Division is to coordinate with City Council, to review budgets, to plan parks and to manage park grants.

· Recreation Division oversees 30 community centers and has three employees who work on marketing and events, including the Department website.

· Hanna and Huguenot Parks are budgeted separately from the Department's Maintenance Division. They were separated from general fund budget years ago in part because the Department does not have a capital budget. Several years ago a trust fund was developed for Hanna Park for park improvements. Later, the trust fund language was amended to include maintenance. The entrance, event and camping fees fund Hanna Park 100%. Huguenot was also put into a trust fund with funds to be used for operations. Huguenot fees pay for 40% of the operational costs of the park. Metropolitan Park also has a trust fund. The revenue generated comes from rentals, concerts, docks, but does not cover the costs 100%. Huguenot and Metropolitan Park get supplemented from the general fund for operational costs. This is line item into the Parks' budget from the general fund.

· The group discussed the amount of part-time workers in the Department.

· How much work is contracted out? Contracting out Bahaya grass mowing created a cost savings of $500,000 for the Department. Outsourcing fertilization & pesticide work, Bermuda grass mowing, and swimming pool maintenance has not always been successful or effective. Trimming shrubs, edging beds, mulching are skills that are being enhanced within Department employees at this time. There may be other opportunities for outsourcing effectively.

The group then discussed what functions and duties could be added to the Parks Department:

· Currently the Building Maintenance Division in Public Works maintains most COJ buildings, including community centers in parks. (Parks Department maintains park restrooms, ticket booths, etc.) It seems logical to have maintenance of buildings located within Parks managed by Parks Department.

· Hemming Plaza is not maintained by Parks, but should be.

· Events – Parks Department does set up, operation, and clean-up for all COJ Special Events that are in parks. This affects employee work loads and schedules, as employees are pulled from regular duties to make banners, deliver chairs, etc. Special Events pays for majority of over-time pay. Solution? Logical for Special Events division to become a part of Parks Department rather than as part of Neighborhoods Department.

The group then discussed what functions and duties could be removed from the Parks Department:

· Maintenance of six cemeteries.

· It costs the Department a quarter of a million dollars a year to maintain the Landing footprint. The Berkman Plaza 'park' is also maintained by the Department. The Department currently outsources maintenance to Berkman Plaza for $80,000 per year, but there is not a COJ park sign up on the property. Soon the Shipyards property may be coming to the Department to maintain as well. If City is obligated to maintain the Landing, Berkman Plaza, Shipyards, etc. then this should be outsourced to the building owner, but not from the Parks Department budget. Why? Because of management issues – example is representative from Landing Management giving orders to Parks Department employee who is a union employee who works for Parks… The only reason makes sense to keep maintenance of these properties under Parks is because they are adjacent to the Riverwalk, which is a Park property.

To be determined:

· Street-ends into River. Streets currently drain into river under these street ends, so have utilities that require maintenance. Some are currently being developed as parks even though are very small. How to handle? Whether are within Parks or not, should be clearly demarcated. Example, if City Council member wants to pay for the street end to be developed as a park, then Public Works coordinates with Parks and permits, then goes to Parks Department for oversight. Until the time the street end is turned into a park, it should be maintained by Public Works. Minimum size to be considered a park? No, even some lots are considered parks.

· Median strips? (Note: In Washington D.C., any piece of green is the responsibility of the National Parks Service.)

The group the reviewed a second handout, which was the Proposed Organizational Chart of the Department prepared by Mr. Baughman. Mr. Baughman elaborated that:

· Preservation Project is a new Division.

· Preservation park maintenance is now a bullet under Park Maintenance Division. (This is in the budget for FY 04/05 as a starting point, if budget is approved.)

· Another new function is an educational trainer to be added to Recreation Division.

· Environmental property management includes such duties as invasive species removal, protected species care, etc.

· If budget is passed, this year the 30 off-shore reef needs will be an added responsibility for the Marina and Waterways Coordinator/ Manager position. Position responsibilities also include coordination of boat docking at events, coordination with Waterways Commission, review of boat ramp needs.

Mr. Russell adjourned the meeting.