Friday, April 10, 2020

Three steps that will save Marinwood CSD in 2020: An Open Letter

Public meetings in times of COVID 19/ Three steps that will save Marinwood CSD in 2020

I understand that the Brown Act public meeting requirements are still in effect excepting the in person requirement. This means that meetings must be noticed and there needs to be a way for public to participate.   

I wrote to you recently offering to help with video streaming and setting up web conferencing but received no detail on how you plan to move forward during this time of COVID 19 crisis. The next scheduled meeting is Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Undoubtedly, there has been discussion among the staff and the Marinwood CSD board members but the public has been left in the dark.  This is a vital moment for our community and the public should be participating during these times.

According to the latest Marinwood CSD budget submitted March 10, 2020 the Marinwood CSD could LOSE $2,000,000 in lost revenue from recreation programs this year.   We still are employing a full staff and nothing has been said about cancellations except that Jeff Naylor CSD President "hopes that we have a normal summer" in his April 3, 2020 letter.

As of April 7th we know that Marin schools will not resume for the remainder of this year.   How likely is it that suddenly, the aquatic and summer camp will return to "normal levels" with 500 children a day running around our park "maintaining social distancing" after being prohibited from social interaction for months?

Not very likely.

It is imperative that the Marinwood CSD take the following three steps to minimize the financial havoc to our bottom line.  If nothing is done, insolvency may be in our future.

1.) Suspend the 2020 Pool Season.  Hire no seasonal staff, layoff existing support staff until 2021.  Use this time to upgrade the facility, resurface the pool, conduct major maintenance.  What better time to do this anticipated maintenance that a year where demand will be light.  

2.) Postpone all summer camps.  This seems very obvious. There will be no way to protect children and staff from being vectors for COVID19 transmission.  The liability is enormous.  Craft alternate "coronavirus safe" activities that will not endanger our population.  I have no doubt that camps will return once more information and treatment of COVID 19 is available. In the meantime it is an unacceptable risk to host a summer camp.

3.) Postpone the Maintenance Facility project.  This also seems obvious in light of a major financial crisis.  As you know I have been a critic of the project and most especially the inflated and unnecessary costs.  If you move ahead with this project now, you will risk plunging the Marinwood CSD into insolvency.  Use this time instead to maintain existing park structures upgrade trails, install safety equipment etc.

Action steps taken today will save Marinwood CSD for the future.  Are you up to the task?

Please let me know how you plan to conduct public meetings as required by law.

Stephen Nestel

P.S. If you think these steps are difficult for the Marinwood CSD, consider that approximately 1/3 of our workforce in private business are suffering catastrophic financial losses.  Many businesses will simply not return.  It may be years before the economy returns to normalcy.   The Marinwood CSD can avoid MAJOR LOSSES by acting now to preserve capital and redirect assets. In the long run this will be best for the employees of the district and the public alike.

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