One of the north county’s biggest cities is trying to save taxpayer money.
However critics say Carlsbad’s parks and recreation centers will suffer from the outsourcing plan to be voted on by the council Tuesday.
Maintaining the city’s 31 parks costs millions each year. An "outsourcing" plan that could be approved by the city council would lay off more than 30 city employees and save up to $3.8 million dollars a year.
"That money could be reinvested into the community, to build and operate and maintain more parks and provide more recreation services," said Kristina Ray, spokesperson for the city manager’s office.
Ray promises that quality and cleanliness at the city’s parks and recreation centers will not suffer if a private company takes the job, even though those private works would be paid less, and get fewer employment benefits.
"Can we provide that service in a way that's more cost effective to the taxpayers?," Ray says of the city’s possible move towards privatization.
Park lovers are skeptical of the proposed plan's effect on the city's workers.
"I don't want anybody to lose their jobs,” said park user Laurie Hansen. “I think that would be terrible."
Park user Jesse Moore agreed, but said the possible savings must be considered.
“If they're saving in this department, maybe a lot more can go to the schools, because I know the schools are suffering."
But the Carlsbad City Employees Association questions the projected savings from using a private, for-profit company.
Association president Pam Drew warns that quality could suffer if a private company takes over. Drew also questions the projected savings predicted by one company.
“That national company hasn't even visited Carlsbad,” she says. ”They don't even know that our parks look like. They don't even know what our amenities are.”
Drew also claims that private workers won’t do as good a job as city employees.
“You're not going to get that feeling of pride that 'This is my city, I take pride in that.’"
The Carlsbad City Council is scheduled to discuss the outsourcing plan at Tuesday night's meeting, and either approve or reject it.
The council may in the future privatize other jobs, but says police officers and fire fighters will remain city employees.