Sonora, CA — Recreation Department Director Mike Russell breathed a sigh of relief when the Tuolumne County budget was approved by a 4-1 vote Tuesday.
Initially it was thought the Recreation Department would have to be eliminated due to severe budget cuts but as Russell commented, “The entire community came together and while we have suffered a reduction in staff we will still provide all of the services to the community that we have in the past.”
Russell gave special credit to CAO Craig Pedro. public and private partnerships, senior-youth partnerships, Sonora Area Foundation, Sonora Sport and Fitness, school districts, service clubs and special interest groups for keeping the department alive.
Russell added that the cost of a recreation program is so much less than it would cost to house inmates in the state prison. “If young people don’t have the opportunity to become involved in productive and wholesome activities there is a great potential for them to go the other way.”
The most noticeable change will see an absence of Recreation Department personnel sitting on county committees that deal with the health and welfare of children and adults.
“As far as the services go we anticipate providing all the services at the youth centers, Standard Park, all of our summer recreation programs, activities, trips, contracts, clinics and special events that we have in the past.”
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