Sunday, September 6, 2009

Where do you put open space on the budget priority listing?

Currently, the Department of Public Works is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of all town parks, recreation areas and School grounds. The Recreation Department is responsible for scheduling the use of the Town of Franklin athletic fields and facilities. Recreation Department Director, Ryan Jette indicated that it is a difficult challenge to maintain all the open space and recreation areas in Town and there is not adequate staffing for the upkeep.

The Conservation Department maintains a list of open space and conservation sites in Franklin. The current level of staffing for the management and maintenance of open space is not satisfactory, there is insufficient staff and resources to complete routine property inspections and maintenance. Issues such as hiring a forester to oversee the cutting of the Town Forest have proven challenging for the Conservation Commission due to a lack of funding.

If the Town continues to obtain additional open space and recreation areas, there will likely be issues providing sufficient upkeep due to a lack of funds and staffing available to provide upkeep of the sites.
As the Town Council candidates declare themselves for election this November, this would be a good topic on which to find out where they stand.
While the Town has a number of budget needs (the school department is the single biggest item of our Town budget), where open space management sits amongst the priority list would be important to understand.
For additional information on the Open Space and Recreation Plan, read the full report on the Town web site here (PDF)

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