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City slashes cost of recreation
Manteca spends 50% less for staff, maintains programs
Lincoln Pool on Powers Avenue is among the citys fee-based recreation programs. It is open Monday through Friday from 1 to 4:30p.m., Friday evening from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6:30 p.m. through Aug. 14. Children under 4 are free, those 4 to 17 as well as those 62 and older are $2 while everyone else is $3. - photo by HIME ROMERO

The City of Manteca has managed to spare much of its fee-based recreation program while slashing related personnel costs by nearly 50 percent over the past two years.

The programs each year involve 15,000 participants (some sign up for more than one endeavor) as well as numerous teams with multiple participants. Manteca this year will spend over $1.1 million on fee-based programs with a $200,000 general fund subsidy.

“There are some programs that generate more than they cost and others that are subsidized by those with surplus revenue from fees,” noted Assistant City Manager Karen McLaughlin.

McLaughlin has done double duty serving as the city’s Park & Recreation Director in a cost saving move since the retirement several years ago of Steve Houx.

She isn’t the only city staff member in Parks and Recreation doubling up on jobs. Recreation supervisors have had their job descriptions restructured in order to eliminate positions as people retired. As a result it costs almost $600,000 less year to run the fee-based programs than it did two years ago. That reduced the need for subsidizes from the general fund.

The city “subsidizes” other fee-based recreation programs including the golf course to the tune of $155,000 a year. The $155,000 actually covers the reduced charges for golfing that senior citizens receive as well as free play by local high school teams. The city is also spending $179,000 on the day-to-day operations of the Manteca Senior Center. The cost to run the senior center is down about $95,000 during the past two years. Some $90,000 in that savings was in reduced personnel costs.

In the 2008-09 fiscal years Manteca spent $1,025,783 on personnel costs for fee-based recreation programs running the gamut from Tiny Tot soccer and adult basketball to tumbling and art classes. That cost has dropped to $548,535 for the current fiscal year.

The cost of materials and supplies is essentially unchanged. It was at $552,797 in 2008-09 and $557,410 during the current fiscal year.

The fee-based recreation programs pay for the salaries and benefits of five full-time city workers plus compensation for 100 part-time positions.