2010-03-05 / Top Stories

Will Parks’ Cuts Impact Rockaway’s Summer?

City Agency Says Too Early To Tell
By Howard Schwach

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, facing a deep financial crisis, has ordered every city agency to cut a percentage of last year’s budget, leading to a belief that those cuts will impact Rockaway’s summer by closing beaches and making the remaining open beaches dirtier and less protected.

The city’s Department of Parks and Recreation has already announced that it will close four of the city’s 54 outdoor pools and curtail the hours of the remaining 50.

In addition, agency officials have warned that the cuts may mean cutting hundreds of full-time jobs and virtually all of the part-timers that are hired each summer to keep the beaches clean and safe.

So far, however, a Parks spokesperson told The Wave, beaches are not involved in the cuts.

“In tough times like these, city agencies are being asked to do more with less, and a minimal number of parks and recreation facilities will be affected in this coming year,” said Trish Bertuccio, a spokesperson for the agency. “There are no layoffs at this time, and Parks’ cuts are in line with all city agencies. The specifics of what will be affected by the cuts has not been determined at this time.”

Published reports in the daily papers, however, say that the agency’s budget will be cut by 9.4 percent forcing layoffs of nearly 800 full-time workers.

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