With a vacant $80,000-a-year position, the City of Batavia is moving forward to eliminate its own youth director position and share the top youth manager position with Genesee County.
By restructuring Youth Bureau staffing, the city hopes to save $15,600 a year while maintaining current programs -- some of which have been around since the 1950s -- at current levels.
"We really need this program to work," said Councilman Bill Cox. "What I like about this proposal is (it's) not only is a reduction in our budget, it's another step toward working together. Whether you call it consolidation or call it shared services, it's one more step toward working with the county."
Under terms of the proposal, the county's current youth director would become the top manager of the city's Youth Bureau. The shared director would work for the city one day a week and the county would provide an additional five hours of clerical support.
The total cost to the city will be $21,365.
Under the current budget, total compensation for the Youth Director position is $78,960, which is based on the salary, taxes and benefits paid out for the former youth director, who retired six months ago. Her base salary was $59,369. However, according to Jason Molino, she didn't use the city's health care plan, so replacing the director position could actually cost $12,000 more.
The projected $15,000 savings with the shared-services agreement is based on the current budget.
In the restructured Youth Bureau, the city would retain a youth coordinator position, raising the compensation from $56,676 to $60,853. A new position, youth program specialist, would be created with a compensation package of $50,000 (base salary of $29,457), and a part-time rec leader position would be retained at $9,453.
Much of the funding for youth programs in the city comes from state grants that have been in place for decades. Among the programs funded is a six-week summer youth program at all five city parks. The summer programs have been in place since the 1950s and are free to the public. They mostly serve youths 6 to 14. Without the grants, the programs wouldn't exist.
Grants also fund a youth/neighborhood technology center, open 2 to 8 p.m. on weekdays, and 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. Funded by Time Warner, the center provides seven computers and tutoring.
The Town of Batavia also makes a contribution toward the cost of the city's youth programs because some town children participate in the programs.
"It’s very important there are some opportunities for youths," said Councilman Sam Barone (pictured). "There’s an old saying, 'You can pay me now, or you pay me later,' but if we give our youths an opportunity to learn and grow it will pay off for us later."