Sonora, CA — Facing a $7.4 million deficit for the 2009/10 fiscal year, Tuolumne County may be forced to close its Recreation Department. Director Mike Russell assures the community that the summer program is in place and will be executed as scheduled.
At the same time Russell commented, "With the elimination of the Recreation Department we will see a decline in structured programming that is provided by the Recreation Department. The alternatives for our kids in the community will be greatly lessened. It’s a known fact that kids that do not have alternative activities can very easily go down a path of unconstructive activities." Russell added, "The kids will be on the street with no place to attend programming. A great concern we have is a lot of our programming during the summer months is, in essence, childcare for these families that are unable to take time off from work that are unable to afford to send their children to some of the other programs in the county. And there’s no disputing the cost of kids in the criminal justice system far outweighs the preventative services we provide through the Recreation Department."
Closing the Recreation Department would save approximately $327,000. Eight employees would lose their jobs.