By Brenda L. Holmes
The town council here approved several budget changes for the Plainfield Recreation and Aquatic Center at its meeting earlier this week.
Clay Chafin, director of parks, first requested that a fund originally designated to resurface the track at the rec center be used to help do some resurfacing at Splash Island.
“The project to resurface the track has come in about $6,000 more than anticipated,” he said. “We had $25,000 allocated to that project. I would like to hold off on that project until later and use some of those funds on the outside building at Splash Island.”
He said the men’s and women’s locker rooms has floors that need resurfacing and there is also some tile work needed.
“We would like to take the tile up and put down an epoxy because it tends to get slippery,” Chafin said. “The new surface will be similar to what we have in the restrooms.”
He then asked to change the scope of a project that was to resurface the gym floor at the rec center. After speaking with two contractors he said the project needed is not as extensive as originally thought.
“We just need to do some light sanding and to apply two layers of water-based sealant,” he said. “This will last us until next August.”
The gym floor project was originally budgeted for $35,000 and the new plan will only cost $8,200.
“We would like to use the balance to replace some wallpaper and chair rails,” Chafin said. “The estimated cost for that project is $25,712.”
Chafin also asked to scale back a project on the indoor pool deck.
“We’re starting to see some hollow spots and it’s looking a little ratty,” he said. “We’ve evaluated the floor and can spend less this year and monitor it.”
The project was originally approved at $47,500 for the tile work.
“I would like to scale that back by about half the cost and use the leftover funds for a digital sign out in front of the rec center,” Chafin said. “We can spend $20,000 on the digital sign and it will match the facility. The rest of the funds will be applied to the tile repairs.”
Town council member Renea Whicker said she was pleased that a digital sign was finally making it onto the project list.
“I do think an official sign would be a great improvement,” she said. “This would just be used for town and park’s functions only.”
Robin Brandgard, town council president, agreed that it would be a good addition to the rec center.
“A digital sign would be great because of all the events we have down there,” he said.
Chafin had also budgeted to replace two mowers for the parks department.
“Looks like we only need to replace one of the mowers,” he said. “One of them is doing OK but the other one is on its last leg. I would like to replace the one mower and use the additional funds to add a utility vehicle.”
He said he had also looked into the purchase of a soft serve ice cream machine.
“The price for a machine is $13,000,” Chafin said. “This is a high margin piece of equipment, but I think we can recoup the money in a short time frame.”
He said the machine can be used at Splash Island and could even be part of any rental agreements for the facility.
With all the project changes noted, Chafin said he still has $118,000 in the budget that he hasn’t spent. He said he would like to purchase a new truck for the parks department with a portion of those funds.
“Some times the guys have to take a couple of trips when they’re loaded down with mowers and other equipment,” he said. “I would like the truck I now have for these kinds of projects and buy a new truck for me to drive that gets better gas mileage.”
The council had some concerns about adding a vehicle to the department’s fleet.
“All the dollars we’re using are already budgeted,” council member Bill Kirchoff said. “We’re just moving them around. My only concern is that do we really need a new truck?”
Chafin said the new vehicle would not need to be as large as the truck he currently uses and that it would save the town fuel costs.
Council member Kent McPhail wanted reassurance that the changes to the original budget plan would not come back to haunt them.
“Are you sure you’re good with the budgeted changes and that we’re not just going to have a crisis come up?” he asked.
Chafin assured the council that he and staff were satisfied that the changes in the project list are the best use of the town’s resources.
The council gave him permission to move forward with the projects he had proposed.