Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Boyd Hill cuts saved money, but how much?

ST. PETERSBURG — The rationale for recent cuts at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve is that the city has to get serious if it wants to plug a projected $14 million hole in next year's budget.

Cutting five full-time ranger positions wasn't popular, but it was fiscally prudent, Mayor Bill Foster and city officials say, because it saved more than $175,000 in next year's budget.

Yet how much did eliminating those jobs, many of them prized by city residents who use the park, actually save the city?

It depends on how the savings are measured.

Four of the rangers still work for the city. If the amount they earn now in salaries and benefits is subtracted from what they and a retired ranger would have earned in their old jobs, in addition to the cost for their uniforms and equipment, the annual savings is about $90,000.

The city's $175,000 is based on the cost of Boyd Hill's new staff subtracted from the cost of the five ranger jobs and part-time clerk, said Clarence Scott, administrator of the city's Leisure and Community Services Department.

Scott said he doesn't calculate what it costs the city to pay the three other rangers who moved to other positions because those jobs were already budgeted. Although the jobs had been vacant — and the city is in a hiring freeze — those positions would have been filled, he said.

Foster said the jobs filled with the former rangers were left vacant in anticipation of Boyd Hill's reorganization. If the rangers didn't fill them, others would have been hired, he said. Therefore, the cost of paying them in their new positions is moot.

Asked how long these positions had been vacant, Scott said it was weeks and maybe a few months. They definitely were not open for a year or more, he said. "Those are dollars that were already appropriated," he said. "That's not a new cost to the city."

It's easier to calculate the effect on the people who lost the ranger jobs.

Two actually saw a pay increase. Sydney Lemieux earned $33,176 as a ranger and was promoted to a nature preserve supervisor making $34,611. Gregory Coston earned $40,684 before getting bumped to $43,617 as a city parks maintenance mechanic.

Savings came with only three rangers.

Herman Trappman earned $40,684 a year. He was told he could have a maintenance worker job cutting grass, but Trappman is 64 and has asthma, so he retired.

Candace Arnold earned $40,684 a year, but took a $7,238 pay cut for the job she was offered as a maintenance worker at the preserve.

Diane Richardson is now a maintenance worker along the city's waterfront, where she makes $30,804 — $9,880 less than she did as a ranger. She mows and picks up trash near the marina, Pier and Mahaffey Theater.

"I'm trying to adjust," Richardson said. "I'm just hoping the mayor reconsiders."

Foster said he can't in a budget season with deeper cuts looming.

"It was the best way to fill essential positions," Foster said. "Now, as we look forward, everything is on the table."

Michael Van Sickler can be reached at mvansickler@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8037

Boyd Hill cuts saved money, but how much? 03/02/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 2, 2010 11:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect

    Bucs

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)

    World

    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  3. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  4. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.