Wood County Park District Manager Neil Munger handed the reins to Christopher Smalley earlier this month.
âI am very excited to be here. It’s like coming home, âsaid Smalley, who started his career in parks in Wood County. âWhen the opportunity to come back to Wood County arose, it was obvious. It’s a great park system.
He praised Munger’s leadership.
âThe parks in Wood County are a direct reflection of Neil’s efforts,â said Smalley.
âIt has been great working for the Park District, being here for 30 years,â said Munger. âWhen I started here, there were only three parks, with a fourth in the plans. We have now grown up in all the parks we have. The people I have been able to work with have been nothing short of phenomenal. I told Chrisâ¦ what he inherits from me is fantastic staff.
The district has 19 parks and the head office on Mercer Road.
Smalley comes from Metroparks Toledo as Regional Director of Operations.
Jeff Baney, deputy director, and Todd Nofzinger, park district police chief, have also retired.
âNo replacements yet. We thought it would be important for Chris Smalley to contribute because he will be working with them, âsaid Commissioner Denny Parish.
Smalley’s salary will be $ 94,182.
The 2022 operating budget was approved for $ 4.5 million, with the largest expense being salaries, at $ 1.8 million.
Parrish had several questions on the budget.
There will be $ 100,000 for “overtime and the like,” which Munger says will be largely for pensions, some paid to him, sick leave and vacation pay.
The parish asked for details on the $ 59,800 of capital improvements at Otsego Park.
Munger said there was significant tacking and filling for the rear of the building. The concern is that the back walls could be lost if they are not taken care of. He expects the front to be needed to be done next year.
The heavy equipment stewardship fund will include a replacement ATV, a new diesel truck and a lift trailer will be purchased for $ 91,000.
âI think it’s a very fair budget. We are definitely working within the limits of what we have. We are fortunate in what taxpayers give us and we certainly don’t want to overspend, âsaid President Sandy Wiechman.
Commissioners approved the purchase of a new Ford Police Interceptor SUV hybrid patrol vehicle for $ 39,660 from Reineke Ford.
New handguns have been approved for replacement by Vance Law Enforcement Park Police for $ 4,097 with a commercial value of $ 275 each, valued at $ 1,925. Agents will be able to purchase their weapons.
The vote was 4-1, with Wiechman voting against.
âI don’t want them to have unusable weapons and I understand a rotation. It’s wonderful, but I think we could probably keep them for a few more years. With the way things are now with the costs and the manufacturing of things, I just wasn’t comfortable spending the money on it. I just think we have to wait a few more years, until things calm down a bit, âWiechman said.
Also at the meeting, Central Township administrator Doug Wulff drew attention to illegal activities that appear to be taking place near the new archery range, which is located in the township. Park police will monitor the situation.