TOWNSEND -- In the weeks preceeding Town Meeting, the Recreation Commission withdrew its Annual Town Meeting warrant article for $22,000 in town funding in order to have more time to develop a plan.

Recreation Commissioner Alice Kennedy said that after selectmen refused to support the request on Town Meeting floor, the commission realized it was time to regroup.

"Our intent is to go back, and going forward, for each program see what we take in and see what our expenses are, including the director's salary, so we're better able to present why we need town funding," Kennedy said.

She said that the commission will most likely come back with a revised request early in next year's budget season after making further calculations.

"We don't feel that with fire station and the high school votes coming up that we have our ducks in a row to be able to give enough specific information to the town," Kennedy said.

While many of the department's programs pay for themselves, Kennedy said that paying the director's salary is simply losing the commission money in the long-run. The town funding was requested to fund the director's salary, which amounts to about $18,000, she said.

Representatives of the Recreation Commission had previously told selectmen that they would be out of money in 18 months if the town does not step in.

At that time, selectmen Chairman Sue Lisio urged the commission to look for ways of becoming self-sustaining, and said she would not support the request at Town Meeting.

In response, the commission has increased rates for this year's Summer Recreation program.

For the full-day program, from June 30 to Aug. 8, registration will cost $600. The half-day program costs $350 and the 5-day pass costs $110.

Last year's rates were $400 for the full-day program, $255 for the half-day program and $85 for a 5-day pass, according to Recreation Director Emy Hoff.

Kennedy said the commission is still awaiting a decision from the town on whether its counselors can use their own annual physicals to qualify for employment, rather than having to get town-mandated physicals at a $170 cost to the town per counselor.

Town Administrator Andrew Sheehan said, "I think it's a smart move on their part. I've heard from some people who are frustrated that there didn't seem to be a plan to balance things going forward. This is a good opportunity for them to look at how they're doing things."

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