The Metro Parks Board approved budget cuts Friday afternoon that are much less severe than had been anticipated after it became clear that the department was facing a $1.8 million budget deficit.
An early draft of potential cuts had included laying off 55 workers and closing five community centers. Under the current proposal — which must be approved by Metro Council — only five workers would lose their jobs and no community centers, services or programs would be cut. Metro would provide an $850,000 supplemental appropriation that would allow 50 workers to keep their jobs.
Finance Director Richard Riebeling said he did not feel comfortable cutting programs mid-year.
The parks, recreation, cultural and wellness division still must cut $200,000 from its budget. Division Director Paul Widman will be analyzing where those cuts could be made over the next few weeks. He will present his recommendations before the budget cuts are voted on at the Dec. 1 Council meeting.
With only five of seven board members present, the panel voted 4-1 to approve the cuts. James Lawson was the only member to vote against the plan. He said he had heard different numbers from the projected budget and had too many questions to make an informed decision.