Parks and Recreation board members Dave Baird and Noel Poe presented ideas at the January 24 Kanab City Council work meeting on how and why the city should hire a salaried Parks and Recreation Director. The seven member advisory board, with Councilwoman Cheryl Brown as liaison, had brainstormed the ideas, and how it might be funded. The issue was clearly identified as a candidate and voter priority during the recent city council elections.

The well-planned presentation first offered reasons why a director was needed. These included: desire for more intramural sports, safe areas for organized activities, events coordinator, health benefits for young and old, and the desire of tourists to immerse in the local community.

Many activities are currently operating, but manned by volunteers. Poe said the hundreds of volunteers provide an enormous service, but due to the diversity of the different programs, a paid managerial position could provide some cohesion.

“A lot of these activities are run by volunteers,” said Poe, praising their efforts. “But there’s no communication or coordination with these volunteers.”

Poe added that the board saw the director position having two main duties – overseeing the coordination of recreational activities, and helping to promote special events.

While few argue with the need for this position, paying for it in tough economic times is the challenge. Developing corporate donations, impact and user fees, recreation fund and transient room tax monies were cited as possible revenue sources.

Noel stressed the time to act on the issue of developing parks and hiring a director was now. “So people will be blessing us and not cursing us.”

Baird’s presentation concerned the director’s job duties, their import, and how to pay for the position. The P&R board had also developed a job description. He said board members had traveled to other communities, and questioned how they funded rec directors. In addition to the funding options Poe had suggested, he added event entry fees, and/or a dedicated portion of Kanab property or sales tax for recreation might be able to fund the position.

Quick comments from city council members included:

•Kirt Carpenter suggested a more concise job description, feeling there’d be too many undefined duties expected of the position. He suggested that maybe a commission system be put into place. “If they produce more, they earn more.”

•Jim Sorenson stressed there should be a parks and rec position within the city.

•Joe B. Wright said he was completely in support of funding a director. He said they needed to concentrate on what the position can become, rather than what it would be initially.

•Ed Meyer agreed with Sorenson, that some city staff support would be needed to assist with the position. He also stressed the need for programs developed, citing the age demographics of Kanab’s population.

•Cheryl Brown (Parks and Rec liaison) hoped for a verbal commitment for going forward with the position.

•Mayor Nina Laycook recommended city staff formulate a budget for the Parks and Rec director position.

•City Manager Duane Huffman agreed to do that. However, he cautioned the council on financial nuts and bolts, and to focus on position expenditures, rather than any generated or dedicated funds anticipated. Huffman stressed that currently revenues did not exceed expenditures with the recreation tax.