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Rec board approves pay raises with proposed budget
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The Great Bend Recreation Commission’s board of directors voted Monday to approve a 3% cost-of-living wage adjustment for its 154 seasonal, part-time, full-time and administrative employees for the upcoming budget. GBRC Executive Director Diann Henderson said the adjustments equate to approximately $39,257.

“We looked at the market and made some (wage) adjustments to stay competitive,” Henderson said. The hourly rate for part-time employees needs to be in the range of $9 to $10.50 per hour. 

The board also approved a proposed budget for publication, along with a resolution announcing a public hearing for exceeding the state’s Revenue Neutral Rate. The commission will conduct its RNR public hearing at 4 p.m. on Aug. 23, followed by the traditional budget hearing at 4:15 p.m., both at the Carl Soden Recreation Center, 1214 Stone St. Taxpayers may voice opinions or objections and ask questions at these hearings.

Capital outlay

Monday’s review of the next budget included a look at possible capital outlay projects. Because a problem with the air conditioning arose in the past month at the GBRC Activity Center, the capital outlay budget includes $50,000 for HVAC.

“We need new soccer goals,” Henderson added. $10,000 has been budgeted for miscellaneous sports equipment.

Henderson shared a list of several outdoor recreation projects for capital outlay but said they won’t all be done this year. Some have been on the list for more than a decade and may remain there for another decade. The list includes outdoor basketball court, outdoor pickleball court, walking trail enhancements, Heizer Park enhancements, Sports Complex playground, Veterans Park ball field playground, Brit Spaugh south park and mini-pitch soccer systems. Other possibilities for capital outlay include improvements to water fountains, lighting, grounds equipment and rest-rooms.

Turf agreement

The board also approved a turf maintenance agreement, cementing GBRC’s commitment to help with new synthetic turf ball fields at the Great Bend Sports Complex. The proposal includes clean-sweep services for 113,465 square feet of synthetic turf for the five infields and bull pens. The maintenance agreement will be budgeted annually; for 2022, the cost is $6,750.

Gym floors

GBRC facilities are usually closed in August for floor refinishing but that project will be handled differently this year due to a shortage of maintenance staff, Henderson said. Instead of doing the project in-house, the Rec has hired a commercial vendor, Great American Hardwood Flooring from Wichita, to do the work for $5,066.50. This includes two gym floors and the exercise studio.

The work will start Sept. 6, which may result in rescheduling a few fall activities. After the work is completed, the facilities will be closed an additional 10 days while the refinishing fully cures.

The floors were not refinished in 2020.