Haddonfield passed two ordinances last month that established a recreation utility and reorganized the present recreation commission.
While the previous recreation committee was made up of a wide range of coaches and sports representatives, Borough Commissioner Kevin Roche explained that the revamped commission will have five to seven members and continue to meet monthly, though a date has yet to be determined.
And while the former group’s role was more advisory, the new commission will be able to formally make decisions.
“The recreation commission will be overseeing the management of the recreational facilities, including fields and field use, in conjunction with a recreation director,” Roche said.
The revised ordinance notes that the recreation commission is “created as an advisory committee to provide input and guidance to the board of commissioners” regarding preservation; maintenance; and operation of lands used as public parks, among other issues.
The ordinance also notes that two commission members will be appointed for one-year terms, two will serve for two years and three will each have three-year terms.
Roche said another reason for updating the commission was to oversee the newly created Recreation Utility, which the ordinance states can “establish, charge and collect approved fees for program activities and for the use of the utility’s facilities.”
Previously, when individuals and organizations come to Roche or the borough with their requests for ways to improve various fields, it was difficult to budget for them because it wasn’t known how much the projects would cost.
“What this allows us to do is create a structure where there’s a usage fee that will go in there, and there will be money from the taxpayers as well, and we can then have a coordination and forecasting of what needs to be done, what is the budget that we’re actually working with, how much we’re going out to bid for,” Roche said.
By creating a utility for recreation-specific projects, the funds are kept separate from the overall budget and can be used to better monitor and prepare for recurring maintenance costs and capital improvement projects, which are the utility’s two main objectives.
“ … By having this siloed, we can go ahead and have a much more stable program that gets put in place as a recurring opportunity,” Roche said.
Dates and times for board meetings have yet to be determined because the previous meeting time overlapped with Haddonfield school board session.
To apply as a committee volunteer, visit https://www.haddonfieldnj.org/boards_and_committees/volunteer_boards_or_commissions/index.php.