Shelby PRM continues to grow, despite slimmer budget

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Shelby - Utica News | Published April 22, 2013

 Moose Jaigirdar, Kristian Taraj and Ryan Begets, all of Shelby Township, shoot some hoops on one of the two new basketball courts at Mae Stecker Park.

Moose Jaigirdar, Kristian Taraj and Ryan Begets, all of Shelby Township, shoot some hoops on one of the two new basketball courts at Mae Stecker Park.

Photo by Tiffany Esshaki

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — On April 16, Shelby Township Parks, Recreation and Maintenance Director Joe Youngblood made an appearance at the Board of Trustees meeting — and he had some good news to report.

Thanks to a few cost-saving measures, Youngblood announced that his department had saved $871,026 since 2010. What’s perhaps even more surprising, though, is that, despite the budget reductions, the township has not only maintained, but expanded, PRM services.

During his remarks at the beginning of the board meeting, Youngblood discussed how his department used the Nottley Report to cut and streamline PRM operational costs. Mark Nottley, principal of Municipal Consulting Services in Ann Arbor, analyzed the PRM budget in 2009 and recommended budget reductions, which were implemented the following year. Other Shelby Township municipal departments, such as police and fire, underwent similar evaluations around that time.

According to Youngblood’s report to the board, the elimination of five positions within the department resulted in an annual savings of $290,342. Those reductions bring the PRM staff from 28 to 23 bodies. That, combined with additional savings from departmental changes, amounts to around $404,200 in yearly PRM cost savings.

“The assistant director and administrative assistant position was eliminated, with a cost savings of $80,556 per year,” Youngblood told the trustees. “We had three maintenance positions eliminated, with a cost savings of $166,016 per year. We also had a clerk typist position eliminated, with a cost savings of $43,770 per year.”

He went on to detail the expanded services the department was able to implement, even with the reductions.

“We started a second baseball season with over 1,000 players (and we are) building a new park for summer 2013. We added two state-of-the-art basketball courts at Mae Stecker Park. Over eight miles of mountain bike trails have been added in River Bends Park. We also added a lacrosse league,” said Youngblood.

He continued to detail additional PRM resources added in the past three years, including new baseball dugouts at Lombardo Park and Woodall Park and the addition of Onyx walking trail, just east of Mae Stecker Park. During that period, Youngblood said the township received a federal grant of $800,000, as well as $300,000 from the state, for bike trails.

He highlighted that, even with the reduced budget, no services have been sacrificed, and he noted that PRM continues to assist the county, as needed, to plow snow on the township’s side roads.

After Youngblood’s brief presentation, township Supervisor Rick Stathakis congratulated him on his department’s impressive budget performance, saying, “Those are some outstanding numbers.”

“The programming and facilities we have, because of our Parks, Recreation and Maintenance Department, are unlike any in Macomb County,” said Stathakis in a prepared statement. “From our first-rate youth sports programming to the beautiful parks and township grounds, Director Joe Youngblood and his employees are a major part of what makes Shelby Township a great place for families.”

The PRM Nottley Report came at a cost of $15,000, resulting in a net return of $856,026.