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Wellness Center a budget concern for city of Parsons

October 17, 2012
By Casey Houser - Staff Writer ( , The Inter-Mountain

Parsons City Council discussed the budget and personnel issues concerned with the Parsons Wellness Center during Tuesday's meeting.

Councilman Timothy Auvil read the minutes of the Oct. 15 Parsons Park Board meeting. He reported revenues for the center not meeting expenditures. In total, the Wellness Center is in the red $64,136.62.

"The amount of money we have is getting smaller and smaller," Auvil said.

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He cited the Harman fund, an annually distributed fund which was dealt with last week, and said the Wellness Center has absorbed nearly 25 percent of the fund the past few years.

Auvil also stated that it would require approximately 200 patrons to provide enough funds to make the center self-sustaining.

Currently, the center has around half that number. Auvil said increasing to 200 is out of reach for the relatively small population of Parsons.

"We just don't have the population here to support it," Auvil said.

Recently, Steve Putnam, the executive director of the center, turned in his resignation due to finding another job, officials said. His salary, including benefits, totaled approximately $50,000.

Jess Hudnall, who works as an exercise assistant at the center, will temporarily be taking over Putnam's duties, council documents stated.

Rather than find a new executive director, Auvil said the park board approved the hiring of at least one, but as many as three, part-time employees. Information will be listed in local newspapers within the month, he said.

Part-time employees would take over duties such as enrolling new clients, answering phones, providing refreshments and opening and closing the building. These duties were previously handled by Putnam.

A morning and evening shift will be covered by the new employees at the center, which is open from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. weekdays. Hudnall will temporarily cover the 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. morning shift.

Council member Hoy Roy had concerns about the part-time employees being able to properly handle the duties.

"Are you going to have anyone over there to take care of (the patrons)?" Roy asked.

"As of right now, nothing is changing," Auvil assured him, stating that Hudnall is able to complete all of the duties that Putnam was charged with and that the new employees will be equally as capable.

However, the task of finding a replacement is not simple, Auvil said.

"We've got to work out the details," he said.

Hiring a full-time employee, with benefits, would consume much of the council's budget, Auvil said. But covering the duties with part-time employees would relieve the council of needing to provide benefits and a wage that is commensurate with the experience level of someone who could cover the position alone.

Overall, Auvil was optimistic about the future of the center.

"We're not cutting back the hours," he said.

"We're not cutting back the services."



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