Budget cuts eliminate city recreation department's programs
No drive-by or virtual events will be held through at least April 1
Last updated 12/9/2020 at 11:21am
With the Rosehill Community closed and COVID-19 cases continuing at record levels in Snohomish County, the City of Mukilteo has had to make some tough decisions on its budget.
As of Dec. 1, five employees in the city’s Recreation and Cultural Services Department have been laid off. Director Jeff Price and an administrative coordinator are the only two department employees remaining.
The city was going to open Rosehill for small gatherings, such as weddings and funerals, but that plan was shelved. Rosehill will remain closed through the first quarter of 2021, with a possible reopening on April 1. The City Council voted last month to limit the amount that the city subsidizes Rosehill/Recreation Department to $112,000 in order to align expenditures and revenues for the 2021 budget.
The layoffs mean that no drive-by or virtual events will be staged by the city through April 1. The Recreation Department organized the highly successful drive-by trick-or-treat event at Lighthouse Park on Halloween. It also held virtual 5K and 10K races, and staged a virtual touch-a-truck event with the fire, police and public works.
The department organized weekly Zoom calls with the Mukilteo Seniors Association and coordinated the beach watchers program with WSU Snohomish County Exten-
sion. Other recreation events included virtual soccer camps with Skyhawks, blood drives and the distribution of 5,000 masks.
Department staff also has been making reservations for 2021 and processing cancellations.
The department also reviewed and processed the three rounds of Mukilteo CARES for Businesses Grants.
Mayor Jennifer Gregerson said she is hoping to bring back some recreation staff as soon as possible, but can’t say for sure when.
The goal is to be prepared to reopen Rosehill as soon it’s safe, she said.
“I really appreciate the team and their understanding,” Gregerson added. “I look forward to being able to welcome the community back into the center.”
If Rosehill remains closed beyond the first quarter of 2021, Gregerson said she would like to bring back some virtual recreation programming to help build community spirit.
The council also decided to keep two current open positions vacant through the end of 2021. The assistant planner position has been open for about a year.
The impact to the public of not filling the position likely will be delays in some permit approvals and updates on the city’s codes.
Some changes related to the city’s master plan also would take longer.
The other position – street maintenance worker – is new. The delay means that maintenance work could take more time.
The council also cut funds for the beautification design project, meaning that the design of gateway locations and SR-525 and SR-526 medians will be pushed back to at least 2022.