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Jefferson City Council discusses reallocation of half a million dollars from Parks and Rec

A picnic bench in a park.
Tolga Ahmetler
A picnic bench in a park.

JEFFERSON CITY — Jefferson City's budget committee met with the JC Parks department Thursday night to discuss a councilman's request for the Parks department to give over half a million dollars to the Public Works department.

Ward 5 councilman Mark Schwartz argued at Monday's budget meeting that the money could be better used to improve various Public Works' vehicles.

“Most of the vehicles purchased, including dump trucks and snowplows, and all the things that are necessary for public transit, were last purchased in 2005," Schwartz previously said.

The money would come out of the Park’s account this fiscal year, which ends on Oct. 31. The Parks department has received roughly 10% of unassigned funds, also known as capital improvements sales, for roughly the past 15 years, according to Ward 1 Councilman Jon Deeken.

However, the proposal has caused some tension with Jefferson City residents.

Danial Lowe, a Lincoln University student believes it's important that funds remain with the city's parks, which Lowe said is an integral part of community development.

"A lot of people, family, I got family here, my kids, my friends' kids, we all come out here, we have birthdays, we hang out here and at the other parks."

At the meeting, city council discussed moving $560,000 out of the Parks' fund to cover the fiscal year 2024 capital improvement funding, which would result in the department losing around $560,000 dollars from next year's budget.

Chris Leuckel, president of the Jefferson City Parks and Recreation Commission, expressed his concerns to the council if the department were to lose the funds.

"When you consider 8.5% of any loss revenue to any budget, that's significant," Leuckel said.

Leuckel said residents have confidence in what the department is doing for the community.

"Our citizens want us to continue to reinvest in our infrastructure in our parks," he said.

The Jefferson City Council will meet Monday to decide if those funds will be removed from the Park and Recreation Department's budget.

The money would only come out of the Park’s account this fiscal year, which ends on Oct. 31.

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