West Deptford’s summer recreation program will be a bit more expensive for participants, but cost the township less this year, if a proposal from recreation director Greg Ley goes through.
Ley ran down his plan for the annual summer program, which is held at the , at the recreation advisory committee meeting Wednesday night, hinging it on a $50 increase on last year’s fee of $200 for the six-week program.
Going by last year’s attendance figures, Ley said the fee increase projects to put the program in the black.
“This proposal would mean it would be no cost to the township,” he said.
Last year’s summer rec program cost $70,190 to run, and Ley said if the attendance stays at 253 kids, as it was last year, the program should bring in just over $71,000, between registration fees, the latchkey program, which is $10 per day, and field trips, which run $15 each.
He pointed to the value of the program, which, even with the increase, breaks down to a little more than $40 per week, as compared to some other summer programs, which cost several hundred dollars per week.
“It’s still the greatest show in town,” Ley said.
Ley’s proposal still has to be approved before it can be finalized, but he said the summer rec information packet should go out to residents around May 14, and he said the interest is already spilling over.
“I’m getting calls right now,” Ley said.
Meanwhile, donations are already coming in for the annual , only a week after the township sent out a sponsorship request letter, Ley said.
A total of $7,000 has been pledged in just the first few days, and at least another $12,000 will come in from vendor’s fees, depending on whether any catering company bids above the $7,500 minimum for the food and alcohol contract.
After , amid , Ley said he and Deputy Mayor Sean Kilpatrick have been working on ideas on how to not only bring in as much revenue via vendors and sponsorships, but also cut costs.
“It's our goal to not only recover the cost of the bands, but of the police,” Ley said. “It’s going to take a lot more money to do that.”
What may go to helping that bottom line is the possibility Ley and Kilpatrick raised of potentially using a mix of regular and special police officers, rather than the all-regular police force that has patrolled the concerts in the past.
“That would be more cost-effective,” Ley said.
That's something Kilpatrick said he'll have to discuss with Mayor Ray Chintall, before anything can be done officially.
Recreation advisory committee chair John DiCarlo questioned whether the new minimum sponsorship—$1,000 this year, versus $500 last year—could hamper fundraising efforts.
Ley said it’s possible the lower minimum last year may have contributed to the shortfall.
“Every event, we had four or five sponsors up there,” he said, and West Deptford came up about $3,000 short just on covering the bands.
Still, Ley said they’re not ruling out smaller sponsorships this year.