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Parks and Recreation director post to be proposed in Hooksett

HOOKSETT ­— Residents will once again be asked to consider a new Parks and Recreation director position at this year’s town meeting.

The Town Council voted Wednesday to include a warrant article on this year’s ballot for the new position. The full-time position would cost about $88,000, which would include salary and benefits.

The new director, if approved, would be responsible for operating the current recreation programs in the town as well as creating new ones.

“We’re giving the opportunity to the voters to decide,” said Chairman Jim Sullivan.

For the last few months, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee has been looking at the issue, and drafting up a job description for the proposed position.

The group met with the council on Wednesday to present its findings.

This year, the warrant article is recommended 6 to 2. The two councilors who voted against it were Marc Miville and David Ross.

Both said they were opposed to the position because it was an unnecessary cost.

“We can’t hire part-time police officers and we’re looking to create a new position here,” Ross said.

Miville added that he thought recreation programs should be created so that way the new director would have things to work on when he or she came in.

“I think this should wait a year and get some program set up,” he said. “Then we have a need for a rec director.”

Others said that is was a long overdue position, and would be a way to attract and keep people in town.

“I think it would be money well spent,” said Councilor Robert Duhaime.

This is the second time voters are considering such a proposal. A similar warrant article was presented last year and failed.

Councilors were also against creating the new position last year primarily due to a lack of information about what the job would entail.

One of the other tasks the advisory committee had been charged with was taking a look at the Fun in the Sun summer camp program.

Town officials said in April they were concerned about the viability of the program, mostly due to the fact there wasn’t a qualified person to run the program. The program is run primarily by volunteers. If approved, the new parks and recreation director could also help with running the camp.

Councilors said they hope the group will continue to work on improving the program, such as creating more safety guidelines.

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