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City of Tonawanda recreation director upset with budget proposals

City of Tonawanda Mayor Rick Davis' proposal to reassign seven part-time seasonal parks attendants to new positions is drawing some criticism, including from city Recreation Director Mandy Loffts.

Loffts told the Common Council at its meeting Tuesday night that no one asked her about any proposed changes to her department.

Loffts said she learned  from social media that Davis proposed in a memo cutting all of her remaining summer parks attendants, who Davis said he believed were under-utilized. The mayor suggested these workers be reassigned as gardeners for better upkeep of city parks. Loffts said she also learned that there was a plan to cut $25,000 from her department's budget.

"I'm having a very difficult time with the idea that decisions were made without talking to the person who has the hand on the pulse of exactly what is happening," said Loffts.

Common Council President Jenna Koch said that she and the mayor discussed a compromise that would consolidate parks attendants at two of the most-used parks, at Mullen and Fletcher elementary schools.

Several residents and parks employees suggested the city revamp and rejuvenate the summer program to bring in income, rather than make cuts.

Loffts said 15 years ago there were 17 park attendants. Ten positions have been cut since that time, she said.

The mayor's proposed city budget proposed a nearly 5 percent tax increase and Council members have meeting with department heads to look for ways to make spending cuts. Koch said she would meet with Loffts and her staff.

Council will continue budget deliberations at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 23.


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