PIGGOTT, AR (KAIT) - Some changes have been made to Parks and Recreation in Piggott.
Mayor Jim Poole of Piggott said those changes are economical and the services will stay the same.
"This started about a year ago," Poole said. "When I took over as mayor and I started questioning and trying to get my feet on the ground as mayor and what money was being spent on so I could better govern the city of Piggott or help the city of Piggott."
Poole said he discovered a really big number.
"When I started questioning Parks and Recreation about some of their expenditures," Poole said. "All that and taking away some of the money that was being guided towards the Parks and Recreation. Not really the money, but some of the labor. We were spending about $350,000 a year on Parks and Rec and we were totally doing all of the labor at the ball field. We have a Heritage Park and a community center. We have a swimming pool, a skate park, tennis courts. But anyway we were spending a lot of labor through there and some of that labor was being diverted."
It was cutting some of the labor costs that first caused some people to get upset.
"Some of the commission thought that they could not live with that," Poole said. "Some of them resigned and at that particular time three of them resigned. That caused us to have to take the Parks and Recreation back into the city council. Well, then on the advice of the legislative audit last month we had to repeal the parks and recs ordinance that set it up the commission."
However, Poole said that decision doesn't mean it can't be changed again in the future.
"It doesn't mean we're not going to put it back later," Poole said. "But until we get it where it is economically feasible and get it to run in the way that we need it to run. Then we're going to run it by the city council. And it was only an economic thing that we did it because of the labor that was being expended through the city of Piggott and through it's departments and it's employees that weren't being brought to the city council for approval."
Poole said all parks services provided to the public will stay the same.
"We're not cutting out any services for the parks," Poole said. "Sales tax money that was earmarked for those parks is still going into it."
Poole said they're working to save money and focus on some immediate needs, like the community center.
"Right now, we have a roof that has been neglected on the community center," Poole said. "That was under parks and recreation that needs a $300,000 roof. It's just been patched for ten years and it's never replaced. So, we're in the middle of putting that back in."
Poole said that the parks will still be maintained and will not deteriorate.
"We're still paying the electric bills," Poole said. "We're furnishing labor, mowing, we're doing infrastructure on all the parks. The people who use those parks, like the independent park for baseball and all there's no charge for that. We're still paying those electric bills. We're not doing some of the field work in those parks. But we still pay the infrastructure, maintenance and everything. We've got people everyday working on them. We're not going to let our parks run down. They're an asset to the city of Piggott. All we're doing is restructuring that, though. At a more economical basis to the city of Piggott."
Copyright 2016 KAIT. All rights reserved.