Vancouver-Clark Parks and Rec to cut nearly 30 percent of staff

By Andrea Damewood, Columbian staff writer

Published:

 

Faced with an ongoing budget crisis, Vancouver-Clark Parks and Recreation will layoff 17 employees, or about 30 percent of its remaining staff, officials announced Monday.

This will bring the total number of staff to about 43 people, Director Pete Mayer said. Once these cuts take effect, one-half of parks and recreation employees will have lost their jobs since 2003.

Impacted employees will be informed within the next two weeks, Mayer said. The cuts will come in planning, where Clark County commissioners cut $400,000 in late 2011, and also in recreation, where there was a $800,000 shortfall in revenue last year.

While the layoffs and service reductions balance the budget through 2012, it's not clear there won't be more in 2013.

"It takes a toll on folks and creates great amounts of anxiety when we don't know where we are, or where we're going to land," Mayer said.

Recreation centers will remain open in their current hours, but about 20 percent of recreation programming will be canceled. Most of those programs are ones that don't make money, or are underperforming, Mayer said.

The After School First Program, all teen late night activities and all special events -- such as Earth Day, health and hobby expos and fitness demonstrations -- will be canceled.

Parks maintenance staff, which was cut by about half at the start of 2011, will remain at current levels, he said.

This story will be updated.