The McIntire Road Skate Park was built in 2000 with a mixture of City, County and private funds. Since then, the County has contributed to the park’s operating expenses because County residents make up half of the use of the City-run park. However, the park was recently closed for safety reasons due to deteriorating conditions. The City purchased $187,000 worth of replacement ramps and other supporting structures, and has asked the County to pay for half the bill.
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“This happens to us quite often that the City does something and says ‘Oh by the way, here’s the bill’”, said Albemarle County Board of Supervisors Chairman
(Rivanna) when the item
came up on the consent agenda for the Board’s meeting on May 7
. He said he did not object to spending the money, but he did think the County should have had a say in the process. “Too often the City just assumes we’re going to cough up money for things.”
Pat Mullaney, the County’s Director of Parks and Recreation, said the bill from the City came as a surprise, but he supported his City counterpart’s unilateral decision to close the park. “We scrambled to find a way to participate, because especially in these hard times we have to maintain our partnerships,” Mullaney said.
Boyd said a joint City and County committee makes decisions about the operations of Darden Towe park, and suggested that the Skate Park be run in the same fashion. Supervisor
(Jack Jouett) said he agreed with Boyd, especially considering the tight budgetary climate.
“We spent a good amount of time arguing about $10,000, $5,000 items on our budget this past year, and now we have a $93,500 expenditure that we didn’t know we were going to have,” Rooker said. “Those arrangements where we share expenses, we need to have an equal say in the making of expenditures.”
County Executive Bob Tucker said he would follow up with City Manager Gary O’Connell, but said that were not too many similar arrangements. Mullaney said he would like to formalize his department’s arrangements with the City.
“I see our relationship with the City expanding in the future, and as times get tough partnerships are important, and we’re one community and we need to work more together,” Mullaney said.
Boyd suggested the County’s “fair share” of these types of expenditures should come from the revenue sharing agreement. The County paid $13.6 million to the City for Fiscal Year 2008-2009. Slutzky said without the revenue sharing agreement, the City would have annexed a large portion of the County’s tax base. Rooker said if the agreement is broken, the City could pursue annexation if the state moratorium on the practice is allowed to expire in 2010.