October 26, 2009 10:26 AM
It seemed like a good idea to me, but it turns out, not necessarily to anyone else. Faced with a multi-million dollar budget hole, I put together a 2010 operating budget that filled the gap with lots of relatively small budget cuts. One of them was a $38,000 cut to ice skating rinks.
That cut would have been the equivalent of closing two or three out of the city's ten rinks. But I didn't even think it would be necessary to close any at all. My idea was to get neighborhoods to adopt rinks and care for them, saving the money that would have gone into city staff and actually providing better ice to skate on.
It's fair to say this idea has met resistance. For one thing, it's not as simple as I had hoped. Developing the neighborhood capacity and networks to pull this off probably can't be done in time for this skating season. For another, the savings aren't as great as I had hoped, given that the water costs and set up of the rinks would still have to be provided by the city.
So Monday night's Board of Estimates meeting will see a budget amendment to restore the funding, although it will also contain language asking the Parks Division to develop an "Adopt the Ice" program. I have little doubt that the amendment will pass, and I won't fight it.
What's important to me is not that every idea in my budget be embraced, but that we meet some basic goals, the most important of which is to keep the tax increase on the average house below 4%. As for the ice rinks idea, I always knew I'd be skating on thin ice.