City to Defund Recreation Councils, Transfer Assets to City Fund

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The City of San Diego and the Department of Parks and Recreation have announced plans to discontinue the current community Recreation Councils, transferring all of their financial assets and to a City “Special Revenue Fund” and replacing the Recreation Councils with unfunded “Recreation Advisory Groups.” Future Recreation Council fees, collected on rentals of park properties, will also be directed to the new fund. This plan will be discussed at the Tuesday, October 10 meeting of the Mira Mesa Recreation Council.

Two of the City’s stated outcomes in making this change are “creating an opportunity for consistent programming throughout the City” and “creating opportunity for increased scope for existing contractors.” The City also promises that “a majority of the funds remains in the community.”

The news first became public by way of an article, “City grabs Park and Rec funds,” dated September 26 in the San Diego Reader. Mira Mesa News was able to confirm the existence of this City plan over the weekend.

At Tuesday night’s Mira Mesa Recreation Council meeting, there will be a presentation on the City’s plan to redirect local Recreation Council fees away from the community councils and into the “Special Revenue Fund” at the City. The current balance in the Mira Mesa Recreation Council’s bank account will also be transferred to the City on December 31, 2017. The “Mira Mesa Recreation Council” will become the “Mira Mesa Recreation Advisory Group” with no authority to raise funds for local programs or classes. Those groups that are currently 501(c)3 charities (such as the Mira Mesa Recreation Council) may continue to operate as independent boards (not as a recognized Council) to raise money that may be spent though partnerships with the City on specified projects.

Funds currently raised by the Mira Mesa Recreation Council pay for classes or equipment that is not included in the City’s budget, which may not be funded otherwise. Large projects funded by the Mira Mesa Recreation Council have included shade structures at several playgrounds; bulletin boards at all local parks; repairs to the Mira Mesa Veterans Memorial at the Senior Center (a Park & Rec property); and placement of port-a-lets at the park for the 4th of July celebration. Small expenditures have included new equipment for softball, swim team, and ballet; Movie Nights; Summer Camp; Spring Egg Hunts; Youth Basketball; and Pre-School Program.

The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, October 10, 7:00 PM, at Lopez Ridge. The agenda at the Mira Mesa Recreation Council website, and HERE.

Reader article, by Leorah Gavidor, Sept. 26, 2017:
City grabs Park and Rec funds

City report (from City of San Diego website):
Anticipated Changes to Recreation Council Operations

City Powerpoint (from City of San Diego website):
Anticipated Changes to Recreation Council Operations