No Funds Could Mean No Lifeguards at Town Beach
Town Administrator John Klimm says he's working to find funding for lifeguards this season at Sandy Point Beach.
With temperatures warming up and summer just around the corner, many families and residents are looking forward to spending time at the beach.
But spending time at a beach without lifeguards — that's one thing Town Administrator John Klimm is trying to avoid.
Klimm, the newly hired town administrator, says he cannot find funding to hire lifeguards at Sandy Point Beach. He said funds won't be available until the start of the new fiscal year, which begins July 1.
Klimm calls it "a lack of financial planning, oversight and accountability in this account."
"I notified the Council last night (Wednesday) that the entire beach budget was spend last year and that there is nothing in the account," wrote Klimm in a comment on Portsmouth Patch Thursday. "I agree that there clearly was a lack of financial planning, oversight and accountability in this account and that the whole matter is being reviewed. I agree with you that the prospect of not having the beach fully open after Memorial Day is unacceptable and I informed them that I would present them with a plan to make sure that this does not happen."
The town budgeted more than $58,000 last year for Sandy Point Beach's operations.
"The account was overspent," Klimm said. "I don't know what the money was spent on because I wasn't here. All I know is there's no money in the account."
Sandy Point Beach opens on Memorial Day, which falls on Monday, May 28, this year. If no funding is located, the beach could remain without lifeguards for more than a month.
The cost to staff the beach with lifeguards is about $4,000 to $5,000, Klimm said. The town works with the Portsmouth Action for Youth group to hire lifeguards every year.
"The beach would never close; it would just not be staffed by lifeguards," said Klimm.
Portsmouth Patch users voiced their opinions on this issue Wednesday night.
a resident with a watchful eye: There isn't any funding yet???? it's a 12 month budget....where's the money??? you found money to fix the ball field at Glen Park. What kind of administrator cannot find money to staff a beach with life guards for one month???!!! If this Council would stop spending unbudgeted money on legal fees and lawyers there would be plenty of cash for lifeguards!
There is traditionally no charge for Portsmouth residents to use the beach.
Out-of-town residents were charged $50 for a season pass last year. This cost remains less than the state's beach parking pass, which doubled in price last year.
The town council has not set the cost for beach stickers for this season.
What do you think about this issue? Tell us in the comment section.