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July 4 whacked

Monday Knitters are, standing from left, Barbara Alter, Ann Marie Hitchcock, Christine Wyatt, Gini Schultz, Ardythe Vass, Kristen Sloan, and Mary Bannasch, and, in front frm left, Bev Corbiel, Lucille Kennedy, Sally Lamm, and Ann Dutton. Photo by Phil Custodio (click for larger version)
October 06, 2010 - After an extensive "bumping process" and layoffs last year, Independence Township Supervisor Dave Wagner was "glad" to propose a 2011 budget without cuts to employment staff.

However, Parks and Recreation's special programs are once again on the chopping block.

"The budget is a plan and we're always trying to outperform it to make it look better," said Recreation Supervisor Kelly Hyer. "We're going to be responsible with the money that way."

Programs eliminated include Clarkston's Got Talent ($1,341.50 revenue, $1,209.14 expenses), Kite Fest, ($0 because the event, along with materials, were supplied by Turtle Toys), Kids Only Garage Sale spring ($160 revenue, $16 expense), Kids Only Garage Sale fall ($80 revenue and $16 expenditure), Fourth of July Festival of Fun ($38,623.40 revenue, $54,330.08 expense), and Holiday Lights Parade (budget figures not ready yet).

"If I were to pick one event, it would obviously be July 4 to keep because it's such a tradition in the community, but I can see the supervisor's thought process on it," Hyer said. "A special event is a one day thing versus a whole program where people are getting six to eight weeks of recreation programs or sports."

Deer Lake Beach is still funded because it's a longer program, she said.

"Deer Lake Beach is something you get Memorial Day through Labor Day," she said.

Trustee Larry Rosso said the cuts are necessary.

"It's the only way we're going to be able to balance the Parks and Rec part of the budget," he said.

It will also save jobs and cost the township less in part-time wages and overtime.

"Parks and Rec. is the largest department in expenditure of our general fund," he said. "(Cuts) have to happen some place. I guess this is the logical place."

Trustees Mark Petterson and Dave Lohmeier hope Fourth of July program can be saved.

"I'm looking to see if we can't put a better financial package together – and trying to find other volunteer groups to take them on like the Optimist Club did with Friendly Forrest," Lohmeier said.

Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.
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