Despite budget crunch, Warren lifeguards back

Posted

The lifeguards are back at the Warren Town Beach.

Two guards — one full time, one part time — worked for the first time this season on Saturday, and Warren DPW director John Massed said they will be there (apart from this Monday and Tuesday) every day through Labor Day.

The staffing alleviates concerns by some that funding shortfalls precipitated by cuts made at the Warren Financial Town Meeting last month, would eliminate supervision at the beach this season. And while the DPW does not have money for the positions, funding will come from another source, the Recreation Department.

Warren DPW director John Massed said his department usually pays for the positions, but last month the department “ran out of money” in the budget that usually covers those salaries. However, Warren Town Manager Thomas Gordon sent out a memo in mid-May directing the recreation department to set aside $1,350 to pay “park supervisor wages” though the end of the 2013-14 fiscal year, which runs through the end of June. He also directed the department to set aside $6,100 for the 2014-15 fiscal year starting July 1 to fund the positions this coming season.

DPW funding shortages will have other effects at the town beach, Mr. Massed said Monday. The town council cut, and voters in May approved, the elimination of about $45,000 in part time DPW summer help. Mr. Massed said those part time workers spent several days a week cleaning the town beach and Burr’s Hill. Now, “it’s still on the rotation but we’ll probably only get down there once a week.”

In addition, the cuts will force the town’s transfer station to close Saturdays, he said.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.