Mayor Bloomberg's proposal would trim $35 million off the department's budget for next year.
The proposed cuts would require some full-time staff to work only nine months, a 15% decrease in hiring of seasonal staff, and increases in fees for tennis court permits, ball field permits, and recreation center memberships.
The plan imposes a full hiring freeze for next fiscal year, but no layoffs. Instead, the department expects to let about 120 employees go through attrition. That would save nearly $3 million next year. According to the Office of Management and Budget, Parks and Recreation will lose 299 employees in fiscal year 2012.
Geoffrey Croft, with the group NYC Parks Advocates, says he's concerned what the cuts will mean for the future. “There are so few human beings working in our parks and this is a public safety issue, it’s a health issue, and it’s irresponsible.”
Croft argues the city takes much of the concession revenue that the Department takes in and redistributes it to other departments. "The problem is that money doesn't go towards parks. That's a scam."
The Parks Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.