Local News

Tuesday, Dec 11 2012 07:58 AM

Parks and Rec to extend interim manager

The Tehachapi Valley Recreation and Parks Department is still searching for its new district manager.

And at its board meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 27, director Paul Press made a motion that the district resume its search for a qualified applicant after the first of the year, and at its December meeting open discussions in regards to extending interim District Manger Debbie Williams' contract through the end of February.

"We have some projects coming up over the next two months," Press said. "And in the meantime until we find a permanent district manager, we need someone to steer the ship."

Press also said he would also like the board to define the overall job description and duties, as well as Williams' salary.

After being chosen by the board as the new permanent district manager in a closed session on Nov. 7, Clayton Strahan, son of Tehachapi City Councilwoman and former parks and recreation director Susan Wiggins, accepted the offer.

However, Strahan then declined the offer prior to his Nov. 21 start date. According to board President Gayle Stewart, his employer offered him more money to stay at his current job.

New budget format

The district has a new budget format as it heads into 2013 that directors are hoping will be much easier for the community to understand.

Budget committee member Michelle Vance said the format organizes the district's $1.1 million budget into nine separate facility-spending units, each with a new reserve category, which will guide the district's future growth and maintenance.

The biggest reason for the new format according to Vance was the nearly $200,000 increase in property tax revenue from last year -- the majority of which came from wind turbine projects in east Kern.

The specific site reserves will are in addition to the 5.2 percent general reserve that is already proposed.

Parks department gets greener

Recycling will now be an option at some of the district's facilities and events.

New permanent recycling bins are being placed at the West Park Activities Center, Scout Hall, and the district's main office, so guests will be able to recycle anything like plastic and glass bottles, paper, cans and more. The district will also be using portable bins for special events throughout the year.

The project was funded by the City of Tehachapi which used its state-funded beverage container-recycling grant on behalf of the district to pay for and place the recycling bins.

"I am happy to see that we have gone through with the recycling program," Press said. "It will benefit us in the long term, and as a rec department will show our youth that we are staying green and doing our part."

Other agenda items

Other items discussed at Tuesday's meeting were the resignation of Dye Natatorium Pool Manager Bridgette Dalmas, who after eight years, is stepping down to join the Air Force. She will be replaced by Caroline Moore who managed the pool at Bear Valley Springs for a couple seasons and has been responsible for certifying lifeguards for the Tehachapi Red Cross for the past four years.

Williams' also reported to the board that the district has renewed its health insurance plan with a short-term savings of nine percent that will be passed on to its employees.

The board's next meeting will be on Tuesday, Dec. 18 at 5:30 p.m. at 490 W. "D" St.

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