Spending for tennis center or skate park? That’s a question at Costa Mesa budget meeting

Costa Mesa should consider serving up additional funding for the tennis center at TeWinkle Park as part of the city’s next budget, some residents said during a community meeting Thursday.

Several of the 15 or so people at the City Hall meeting noted that the preliminary $155-million spending plan for 2017-18 doesn’t contain earmarks for projects for the center.

“It’s really frustrating to look at the budget for TeWinkle Park and have nothing for the tennis center, so I’m here to advocate for that,” said resident Rick Huffman, an avid tennis player. “It’s an aging facility.”

A locker room and first-aid station are among the additions that should be considered, he said.

Some speakers also took umbrage that the city’s capital improvement program lists potential funding to expand the Costa Mesa Skate Park, also at TeWinkle.

“We have a tennis facility over there that makes the city money, and the skate park does nothing but cost the city money,” said resident Jay Humphrey, referring to fees charged at the tennis center. “Why are we not looking at ways to increase the financial benefit from the tennis facility?”

City Manager Tom Hatch said the tennis center is more of a “break-even” proposition for the city rather than a moneymaker. He also noted that the idea of expanding the skate park is in the very early stages and still being studied.

“When I drive by there, there’s a lot of kids around the edges of the skate park,” Hatch said. “But that’s a classic public policy question about if that’s where we should put our money or do we put it somewhere else?”

Thursday’s meeting was the second held to discuss the city’s preliminary budget for next fiscal year.

As a whole, the proposed spending plan is almost $10.4 million more than the current fiscal year’s. The increase is largely “due to an increase in pension costs, assumption of increased number of filled positions, increases in utilities and certain other operating costs,” Hatch wrote in his budget message.

City officials have said additional revenue — including from new or increased fees — is expected to offset the higher spending and keep the budget balanced.

The budget plan will go before the city planning and parks and recreation commissions for review in coming weeks. The budget is tentatively slated for City Council adoption June 20.

luke.money@latimes.com

Twitter @LukeMMoney

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