Rec Authority debates potential responsibilities

Published 5:16 pm Friday, August 7, 2015

Thursday evening, the Bainbridge-Decatur County Recreation Authority postponed a consideration of responsibilities until it has a chance to look into the finances of the different aspects of city and county recreation, specifically the city pool and county golf course.

“We all had a question about what was the responsibility. We talked about the city pool, the county golf course at the industrial park. We talked about Bill Reynolds. We talked about parks and all of these things,” authority chairman Jeff Findley said. “In my mind, I think we need to, by a vote, clearly define, at least for the first year, what this authority is going to be responsible for.”

Bainbridge city manager and ex-officio recreation authority member Chris Hobby said that the city would not expect the authority to immediately take on the city pool, which is currently in need of tens of thousands of dollars worth of repairs and updates.

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Decatur County administrator and ex-officio recreation authority member Alan Thomas said that the county put “roughly $70,000” toward the golf course this past fiscal year and that it has about $100,000 budgeted for it in the fiscal year 2016 budget draft.

“My opinion would be, when I heard about this legislation and I took this position, was that this authority would pick up the operation of the golf course,” Thomas said. “I think there can be some improvements done there. It’s not going to be done under the status that it is now, I don’t believe. My desire would be to see this authority take it in and see if it could be approved upon.”

Several members of the authority expressed concerns for trying to take on too much initially, especially when there is so much on the to-do list like working out a budget and preparing to hire a director.

“I think we need to focus on the Bill Reynolds Sports Complex and tennis complex. I think that’s where our efforts need to go initially,” authority member Jeff Lynn said. “I don’t think we need to ingrain in stone that we’ll never take those things on ever, but our short-term focus needs to be on Bill Reynolds and trying to make that the best it can be for our community.”

“I kind of feel that our focus should be on Bill Reynolds and tennis, but I don’t think I would want to make a decision tonight without those numbers,” authority member Bert Hines said.

Ultimately the authority decided to hold off on the decisions until its next meeting after all the members have a chance to delve into the finances. The authority will hold its next meeting Thursday Sept. 24 at 9 a.m. at the Potter Street Community Center. The authority will also use this time to meet with a representative from the University of Georgia CarlVinson Institute of Government to receive training and guidance on building a successful authority.