Viewpoint: More supervision needed in Rhinelander Parks? Department
The Parks and Recreation has undergone a tremendous reduction in provided services. These services have been doled out to various interested and volunteer groups. We seen BMX volunteers, baseball, master gardeners, senior citizens. YMCA take over maintenance of designated areas of the city parks. We have seen state camp workers and the forestry department working in the parks. We have also seen many reductions to park activities. The summer children activity program, seasonal workers doing maintenance duties in the winter, ice skating rinks etc. This does add to a savings but it also adds to less responsibility of the park leadership and contributes to down time. The park systems downtime is also effected by the weather and what can and cannot be done. In the winter, snow removal on selected sidewalks and park roadways. The city shops has recently willingly helped in these responsibilities in these areas. The park has one full time employee and two seasonal employees are hired in the summer to cut grass, put in docks.
Various projects supervised by the parks have added extra cost to the taxpayer due to less attention to detail. The recent problem with the pavilion flooding and doors not closing were due to delayed focus and reaction to the conditions of the concrete apron that did not facilitate drainage to the drains which added to that problem. The recently, park supervised, building of a roof shelter in back of the Animal Shelter collapsed from snow as warned by knowledgeable staff during construction and as a result it collapsed by the weight of the snow and another one was built by a construction company at the cost of approximately $10.000. Recently when the city hall brick work was redone, mortar sucked into the air conditioners. The parks supervised crew rinsed them with water which resulted in solidification of the mortar and therefore approximately 11 new air conditioners had to be replaced at a cost to the taxpayer. The laminate tops were replaced on the tables in council chamber three times resulting in damage to one table top and resurfacing is already apparently needed due to bubbling of the laminate. The animal shelter responsibility for the parks director has reduced due to transfer. Bids are now being submitted to subcontract cleaning in the police department and city hall which would result in another deduction to supervisor responsibility of the parks department..
When the water damage was repaired to the walls inside city hall, it was known that lead paint removal was involved but protective barrier was not put up until employees complained about the irritating dust that was in the air and health threat created and then a barrier was built. Recently, the new meeting room located by council chambers had motion light switches installed in the ceiling and then sound barrier panels. The lights would not turn off by a lack of motion in this room and in other rooms and after several months the problem was addressed. There are still light switches that are pushed down to turn on lights. The recently installed carpeting in the police department has three areas were the carpeting does not touch the wall protectors and that goes without remedial attention. This falls under building maintenance under the parks director. This lack of attention to detail repeats itself at a cost to the taxpayer. However, one thing that has not changed is the salary and benefits for supervision or lack of in the parks department. These are your tax dollars at work and accountability is not being addressed.
Food for thought.
Craig Strid, Rhinelander