Delaware City Council on Aug. 22 agreed to turn over its parks and recreation programming to the YMCA of Central Ohio.

Delaware City Council on Aug. 22 agreed to turn over its parks and recreation programming to the YMCA of Central Ohio.

Council voted 4-2 in favor of a three-year management agreement allowing the YMCA to oversee the city's recreation programming for $185,000 during the first year. Vice Mayor Windell Wheeler was absent from Monday's meeting.

Council also declared the ordinance an emergency, putting the agreement into effect immediately.

Paul Weber, YMCA of Central Ohio district vice president, said enacting the agreement now gives the YMCA enough time to hire and train program directors before the new YMCA facility on Houk Road is expected to open in early November.

Council members Carolyn Kay Riggle and Joe DiGenova voted against the agreement, saying they wanted to wait until the YMCA opened to make a decision.

"I've had too many constituents against this. I think the public should decide. I think it should have gone on the ballot," Riggle said. "The taxpayers paid for that pool."

DiGenova agreed.

"I think it should have gone to the people," he said.

Delaware resident Dan Bickley spoke against the agreement at Monday's meeting.

"I've never seen cost savings come out of this type of arrangement," Bickley said. "Why don't we wait and see how (the new YMCA) goes first before we hand them more?"

Delaware officials say the agreement is expected to save the city about $147,000 compared to the projected annual cost of running parks and recreation programming.

Under the three-year proposal, Delaware will pay the YMCA $187,000 for the second year.

The third year's rate would be negotiated based on program expenses, revenue and participation.

The three-year contract offers an optional three-year renewal and allows either party to terminate the contract for any reason with 90 days' notice.

Weber said the organization plans to hire as many of the city's current recreation staff as it can.

"We'll see if there's a fit for them in our current system," Weber said.

Council members Lisa Keller and Andrew Brush said they were happy with the agreement.

"There's no harm in trying this to see how it goes and hopefully save jobs and save taxpayers some money," Keller said, emphasizing the city's ability to back out of the agreement.

"We keep hearing about government needing to do more with less. ... We're able to offer expanded programs at a savings to taxpayers," she said.

Brush said his views on government spending forced him to vote for the agreement.

"We have an opportunity to offer the same or better service at the same or better price at a savings of approximately $150,000 a year to taxpayers. So for me as a fiscal conservative and as a steward of public funds, I don't see where the decision is."

The next regular city council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sept. 12 in city council chambers at 1 S. Sandusky St.