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Wilton Parks and Rec Asks for Less Funding

WILTON, Conn. – The Wilton Parks and Recreation Department is asking the Board of Selectmen for less money next year but still needs enough to cover salaries and maintenance.

It's asking for $8,000 less for the operating budget because its programs are self-sufficient. The request made to the town Wednesday night is just less than $1.804 million for the 2012-13 fiscal year. That’s down from the 2011-12 budget of $1.812 million.

“It’s a zero percent increase,” said Parks and Recreation Commission Chairman Kevin O’Brien.

Most of the money requested would go toward maintaining parks and grounds. In 2013, the department is looking at a budget of $809,692, which includes the salaries of the five grounds men as well as the maintenance of fields.

After July 1, the athletic fields are closed “because that’s our time to get them in shape from the spring group to the fall group,” said Steve Pierce, director of Parks and Recreation. The department makes up for the wear and tear on the fields by sodding the worst areas so they’re in prime condition for the next season.

School sports have first priority for any town field, Pierce said. The department receives more requests from private leagues than it can fulfill. “We probably put Wilton groups on the fields almost 365 days a year. So the availability of the field space right now has become smaller and smaller and smaller,” Pierce said.

“We are a seven-day-a-week department, because recreation is on when people are off,” he said.

The department made significant savings at Comstock Community Center, saving nearly $45,500 from last fiscal year. “We have a program to go more energy efficient,” Pierce said. It has already saved $17,000 by changing the building's lighting.

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