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TOWN TRIES -- BUT IT CAN'T PLEASE EVERYONE

A recent letter regarding the swim lesson program in the Town of Tonawanda made some inaccurate statements that I must correct.

First of all, the lesson program at town swimming pools was not affected by budget issues. In fact, the Town Board saw fit to increase the program by a full 5 percent over the 1996 amount, to accommodate six more lifeguards. The young lady who wrote the letter applied late for the job, and her test score placed her on a waiting list with other candidates.

The major problem all towns face is attracting 18-year-old lifeguards who can work overtime hours. Younger lifeguards, who are equally qualified, are prohibited by state labor laws from working extra hours. This shorter work availability has numerous impacts on a swimming program.

This year, more than 40 percent of our lifeguard staff is under age 18. With this situation to deal with, our staff designed the best schedule and lesson program possible.

One of the realities of the recreation field is that there is no such thing as the perfect schedule for everybody. Whenever you are dealing with hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of people there will always be some who are inconvenienced by a set schedule.

With this fact in mind, I believe our summer schedule was designed to fit the schedules and lifestyles of the vast majority of town residents. My opinion is supported by the fact that our summer lesson program experienced an increase from 1,134 to 1,412 students -- a full 25 percent increase in participants over last year's program.

The Town of Tonawanda is noted for its outstanding services to its residents. We are always looking for ways to make our programs better.

Our staff will be reviewing the entire program and schedule at the end of this season to determine what improvements can be made next year.

Gary S. Lane Director of Parks and
Recreation Department
Town of Tonawanda

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