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PTARC budget calls for same government funding levels

| Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, 9:31 p.m.

Members of the Penn-Trafford Area Recreation Commission passed the organization's 2013 budget this week, but they have not yet determined whether the two employees will receive raises.

The board voted 4-2 on Oct. 1 for a $220,160 spending plan, which is nearly $12,000 less than the current budget.

Randy Dreistadt, Nick Petrucci, Toni Ising and Linda Iams voted in favor.

Larry Harrison and Joe Lapiadissented.

The budget calls for the same contributions from the member entities as in 2012: Penn-Trafford School District, $46,423; Penn Township, $38,402; Trafford, $4,654; Manor, $3,035; and Penn Borough, $446.

The school board already approved its contribution in June, but officials of the local municipalities are required to vote to ratify their contributions during their budget preparations this fall.

Manor Councilman Bruce Hartman said last month that the borough recreation commission might give its one-year notice to withdraw from the organization.

PTARC recreation director Cheryl Kemerer proposed salary increases of 3 percent for herself and 2 percent for her assistant, Lisa Black.

Dreistadt said the board will review the requests later this year.

Kemerer's salary for 40 hours a week has been $45,000 for several years. Black, who works 30 hours a week, is being paid $23,182 this year.

Two years ago, the board laid off Black for a month to cut expenses.

Harrison suggested that the board create performance-based bonuses.

“Somewhere, we can't keep decreasing in our participation and asking our taxpayers to pay more,” he said.

Lapia requested the board schedule an executive session during the November meeting to discuss a performance review for the employees.

Refund policy

Participants in PTARC classes or programs might have an earlier deadline for canceling to get a refund.

Some board members are recommending that, to be eligible to get money back, participants must give a cancellation notice a week or more before a class starts.

Those registrants could receive a full credit voucher for another program or pay a $5 processing fee for a money refund, they suggested.

Harrison and Lapia said the organization's employees and instructors need time to reschedule programs or alert participants if programs must be scrapped due to sparse enrollment or withdrawals.

“We have to be able to plan and adjust,” Lapia said.

Kemerer said the problem is that many people wait until the last minute to join a class.

She recommended shortening the time to two days before a class starts to keep from discouraging people from registering for PTARC programs.

Board members also discussed offering a discounted rate for early registrations or an extra fee for late registrations.

They will review the cancellation policy again at their November meeting.

Meeting time

The board is moving its meeting time up by half an hour to 4:30 p.m. on the first Monday of the month. The change takes effect in November and will remain in place for 2013, too.

The meeting time has been a frequent topic this year, as the board members have tried to accommodate work schedules and deal with road-construction projects.

Earlier this year, the board changed its meeting time from 3 to 5 p.m. and the location from the PTARC/Shelley Proskin Recreation Center in Level Green to Room 104 at Penn-Trafford High School in Harrison City.

Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8671, or cforeman@tribweb.com.

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