By Curt Peterson
Killington Recreation Director Sarah Newell described her department’s “growing pains” to the Select Board at its April 25 meeting. She’s asked for an additional $22,500 in her town budget for FY2023 to fund a full time recreation program coordinator position.
Newell told the Mountain Times she expects new programs that the coordinator could make possible will produce at least $5,000 additional revenue to help finance a total compensation package of $35,300 to $37,500 plus benefits. The difference after the budget increase will be made up from department budget adjustments.
Following executive session, Select Board member Jim Haff said, “We told the town manager to move forward with the hiring process, and to come back to (the Select Board) letting us know how it will work within the town budget.”
Newell cited increased demand for activities and programs, the need for data gathering, program organization and for freeing up her own time for administration and filing grant applications as challenges the new hire would resolve.
Newell’s own job description, created in 2019, is designed around 20 hours per week she works at Killington Elementary School, and 20 hours for the Rec Department.
She said there are requests for pre-Covid activities that were curtailed by the pandemic, such as open gym for adults four times a week including basketball, pickleball and indoor soccer. School break camps should resume as well.
“There hasn’t been a baseball program in Killington for a decade,” Newell said. “People were asking for it. Last year 76 kids signed up. This year 56 signed up so far.”
More pressure comes from the growing influx of year-round residents immigrating from places such as New York, New Jersey and Boston. “They are used to having these programs where they lived before,” she explained.
“They are new and want to get involved in the community, but they don’t know anyone here. These activities they are asking about are a way they get to socialize and meet new friends.”