The Prince George's County Planning Board has drawn up a preliminary 1980 budget for both the parks and the recreation programs that would produce drastic reductions in some services, according to community relations director Robert D. Reed.
Reacting to the budget-cutting sentiments of county residents who last week overwhelmingly approved the TRIM amendment putting a ceiling on the county's property tax collections, the Planning Board proposed a $14.9 million budget for the two departments, only a 250,000 increase over this year's budget, and an estimated $2.2 million less than the amount required to keep services at the present level.
Though the board is not legally bound by the TRIM amendment which applies only to county tax revenues and not to the bicounty, state-controlled park and planning commission. Reed said, "philosophically we must face up to its restrictions.
"(Since the) county council . . . must deal with a property tax ceiling and with cutting some services, we don't anticipate that they (the council) will increase our tax rate to allow us to continue with the current level of spending."
Reed said that the board would have to ask the council to approve a 4.1-cent tax increase to maintain existing programs within the parks and recreation department.
The proposed budget would permit the board to hold the county levy for parks at the current level of 39.37 cents per $100 of assessed value on real property but would force shorter hours for community centers, reductions in maintenance and eliminate clerical positions.
It was not clear last night how extensive some of the reductions in service would be.
"In some cases this just means we won't be able to cut the grass on the softball diamonds as much; in others it means the elimination of an entire program," Reed said.
W.C. Dutton, chairman of the planning board, told the county last spring that costs of running the agency were increasing faster than the revenues from the park tax.
Dutton said "that to maintain services at the same level as this year would require an increase in the tax rate. Since there is no chance of that, it is clear that we will not have a program in 1980 equal to the one we have this year."
A partial list of programs effected by the proposed budget includes:
Reducing the number of operating hours at certain community centers.
Eliminating the mosquito control program.
Eliminating all field trips for preschoolers.
Reducing the summer playground programs from seven to five weeks.
Eliminating bus transportation to community pools and recreations areas in rural parts of the county.
Reducing sports programs, including the summer softball leagues.
Reducing funds for repairs on roads, curbs and sidewalks within park facilities.
Reducing maintenance programs on 163 acres of local park lands.
Last night's meeting was the first of several public sessions outlining the planning board budget. Similar cuts are expected in planning, and administrative budgets, Reed said.