City Council looks to move Parks and Recreation Committee duties in house
Tue, 02/09/2021 - 3:30pm caleb
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
The City of Grayling continues to explore possibilities with regard to the duties of the Parks and Recreation Committee following a city council vote late last year that sought to disband the committee and reassign its tasks to the City Planning Commission.
Throughout 2020, the Grayling City Council discussed the future of the city’s Parks and Recreation Committee, considering changes or the elimination of the committee because of lack of attendance at meetings.
During its December regular meeting, the city council voted 5-0 to dissolve the Parks and Recreation Committee and “reconstitute” it under the authority of the City Planning Commission; however, at the next council meeting in January, City Manager Doug Baum reported the Planning Commission absorbing the Parks and Recreation Committee was “not an option” because of state statutes.
During the city council’s most recent regular meeting on Monday, February 8, Baum offered three options for council consideration with regard to the Parks and Recreation Committee duties.
Baum said the Planning Commission could also serve as the Parks and Recreation board if the members would be willing to be appointed to it and have separate meetings, possibly on the same day. Another option, Baum said, “is to continue to have a Parks and Recreation Committee.” A third option, he said, is to disband the Parks and Recreation Committee and have its tasks completed “in house” within the city office, with budget decisions having to be decided by the city council.
After the meeting, Baum said the “in house” personnel would likely involve himself, office staff, and the city’s Department of Public Works. During the meeting, he said the city council could also be a part of the effort.
“I like the third option,” said Councilman Dennis Sloan.
Councilman Karl Schreiner agreed, and he said Councilwoman Kimberly Kersey – as a previous representative on the Parks and Recreation Committee – should be involved if she wanted.
Kersey also supported the third option. She said she enjoyed serving on the committee when there was enough participation, but the main problem was that people weren’t showing up for meetings.
“I would still like to be a part of it,” Kersey said. “I don’t feel having an actual Parks and Recreation Committee is worth the headache.”
Baum said disbanding the Parks and Recreation Committee would involve disbanding the city ordinance that created it and public input should be sought before doing so.
Sloan moved to proceed with option three and set a public hearing for discussion on the issue. Schreiner supported the motion and the council approved it with a 5-0 vote.
Council members said they expect to have the public hearing at the next meeting, which would likely be online again unless state regulations change with regard to gatherings, but the date was not finalized. The next city council meeting is slated for Monday, March 8, at 6:30 p.m. Information on how to attend the city’s virtual meetings is available online at www.cityofgrayling.org.