MERIDEN — The city is seeking to create a full-time position for maintenance of parks and other city-owned properties.
City Manager Guy Scaife said the Parks and Recreation Department has not been able to provide the level of service they strive for. The city currently uses a part-time laborer to help maintain parks, which is undesirable because the position has a high rate of turnover, Scaife said.
“The workload is exceeding capacity,” Scaife said. “We’re just not getting the productivity we need.”
Scaife said the position would fit into this year’s budget, but it was not immediately clear how much it would cost the city annually.
The position would be responsible for maintaining all of the city’s parks and recreation areas, including the Meriden Green and Hubbard Park. Duties would include cutting grass, maintenance of flower beds and removal of trash. The worker would also be responsible for maintaining fields and grass on highway entrances and exit ramps.
City Councilor Cathy Battista, chairwoman of the council’s Public Works – Parks and Recreation Committee, said the position would begin in January and pay about $30,000 annually.
“I definitely see a need for it,” Battista said. “It’s a small thing to do right now. It’s going to help a lot.”
“We’re going to get that extra pair of hands we desperately need, but it’s sensitive to the economic situation the city is in,” Parks and Recreation Director Chris Bourdon said.
Last year, the city proposed but eventually abandoned the idea of hiring two park rangers to keep the Meriden Green safe and clean. Police were instructed to continue to patrol the park regularly.
The entry-level laboror position is schedule to be dicussed by the council’s Finance Committee in the near future.
“They’re getting overburdened,” Battista said of the current state of the Parks and Recreation Department. “We want to be proactive and keep that green beautiful.”