From our News Partners at WCBD-TV:
The Town of Mount Pleasant pays about $7 million per year for recreation. Recreation fees generate a little more than $2 million per year. The nearly $5 million the town pays after fees amount to about $61 per resident per year.
Many residents of Mount Pleasant spent part of their Wednesday evening at a meeting discussing questions about the town's recreation facilities.
Should services be cut? Should fees increase?
Those questions and more were part of the process of gathering information to see what should be done next.
It was a packed house at Alhambra Hall as consultants from Clemson University led the public through a series of questions designed to find public opinion regarding the town's recreation department.
Betsy Dross has lived in Mount Pleasant for years. "I think the recreation department is vital to our community. Just look at the kids out here playing right now."
Dross brought her son with her to the meeting. "My son plays baseball. (He) has come up through the town of Mount Pleasant Rec department from four years old. We started baseball at four years old, my husband and I were volunteer coaches that year. And he is now 14 and is still playing baseball."
Questions ranged from how much do you think residents should pay to join a team, to do you think taxes should go up to pay for recreation?
Each resident wrote down their answers to multiple choice questions.
Betsy said, "I'm thrilled that the town is asking for input from the residents."
Not everyone agreed with the format of the meeting. Doug Bradfford wanted to speak, but he was told he could not. "I thought the meeting was a sham."
Doug says there shouldn't even be a discussion about possibly cutting recreation services at all. "You know, Ms. Paige, who I love and adore, is elected. She raises taxes and we talk about cutting recreation for the kids."
He didn't like that there was no public comment session during the meeting. "I think it's an outrage. I think it makes the whole process a sham."
We asked Bob Brookover, one of the consultants who ran the meeting, why they didn't allow the public to comment. "Those things could get a little bit out of hand in a room with 200 people. The appropriate place for those comments to be made would be, I would suggest, and I suggested to him as well, show up at a city council meeting and voice your opinion there."
Brookover said they are still studying the town recreation and cost, but so far, "the town is pretty in line with what we would expect to see in most areas."
Bob says they will spend the entire day Thursday working on the data that was gathered Wednesday night. They then will present the information, along with possible recommendations for the recreation department, to the town Friday morning.
Photo Credit: Mark VanDyke Photography Shutterstock