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Supervisors to weigh closing parks, raising fees Tuesday

The Pima County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will discuss reductions in Pima County Natural Resources, Parks, and Recreation Department programs, closures of facilities and fee increases for athletic field use.

Supervisors will get an update from department officials on potential cuts in programs and closures of some community centers and parks to avoid a budget shortfall for the current fiscal year.

The board last month approved some fee increases for athletic field use and aquatic programs. Those could be undone Tuesday for additional review.

“We probably will be rescinding those motions,” Board Chairman Richard Elías said Friday.

Supervisors complained at last month’s session that information on the proposed changes was not provided early enough to be adequately studied, and what was provided was confusing and sometimes contradictory.

Speakers from groups and agencies that use parks and recreation facilities and programs agreed.

Supervisors held off deciding on most of the recommended changes pending more information.

The supervisors directed staffers to return Tuesday with a plan to involve the public before initiating fee increases and cuts to programs and facilities.

“We were very frustrated. We had a lot of material in front of us that said different things,” Elías said.

Elías said he had not received the information sought by supervisors late Friday afternoon and could not predict the board’s actions Tuesday.

“My guess is that we’re going to want to hear from more people,” he said.

A proposal to begin charging for after-school and summer child care programs drew the strongest opposition at the board meeting last month.

The Arizona Department of Health Services has told county officials that the free child care programs violate agency rules because staffers are paid. That violates licensing regulations, DHS officials have interpreted, because paying the staffers constitutes provision of services for compensation.

“I understand we have an issue with DHS,” Supervisor Sharon Bronson said Friday.

But department staffers did not adequately justify requiring payment for the programs, Bronson said.

“They didn’t explore any options,” Bronson said.


If you go:

What: Pima County Board of Supervisors meeting

When: 9 a.m. Tuesday

Where: First floor, Pima County Administration Building, 130 W. Congress St.

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