A five-member committee is advising the Tooele County Commission on how to restructure the county’s parks and recreation department, including plans to privatize and lease out some facilities.
The advisory committee consists of Gary Walker, Stockton; Jennifer Roth, Overlake; Jeff Newton, Stansbury Park; Casey Walker, Tooele; and Neil Critchlow, Granstville.
The committee, which was established by Commissioner Shawn Milne, is an informal ad hoc group that is only offering suggestions. Milne said the committee is not an official body appointed by the full county commission.
The committee consists of volunteers with experience using Tooele County Parks and Recreation facilities. The intention is not for the committee to become the focal point of public discussion on parks and recreation, according to Milne.
“I’m the one making the decision on how I stand and I will make those decisions publicly,” Milne said. “I value the committee’s combined perspective and believe they can honestly present to the commission an unbiased evaluation of our strengths and weaknesses.”
Milne has charged the advisory committee with the analysis of data from the county’s parks and recreation programs, and the comparison of these programs with others in the state.
That information will be used to make decisions on how commissioners can continue to provide services to county residents, Milne said.
The commissioner and the committee are concerned that their evaluation of county parks and recreation functions may be seen by others as a criticism of former employees.
“Our former parks and recreation employees were very dedicated and did a good job,” he said.
The county commission’s objective is to maintain service to county residents while reducing costs.
“The commission’s ultimate goal is to resume the most highly sought after functions of parks and recreation as quickly as possible,” said Milne, “with the knowledge that we cannot afford to subsidize the costs for personnel, supplies or utilities any longer.”