In his first three months as San Joaquin County’s park administrator, Duncan Jones looked for ways to enhance revenue rather than merely cut services from his budget.
“When I got here, they were saying, ‘Cut and cut and cut,’” said Jones, who joined the county earlier this year. “I said there is another way — get more revenue.”
So by the end of May, Stillman Magee Park will have an RV park just south of the parking lot on Mackville Road, south of the Mokelumne River in Clements. It will hold about 20 recreational vehicles. County officials haven’t decided how much to charge for RV space, but it is designed to enhance revenue, Jones said, and the cost to the county will be only $5,000.
“That’s an excellent idea,” said Gabe Karam, the county’s facilities director.
Jones said he is also exploring the idea of a disc golf course with the Boy Scouts. It will be free to the county because it will be an Eagle Scout project. Jones admits knowing nothing about disc golf, but the Eagle Scout candidate took him out to Micke Grove Park to show him how the game is played.
Another possible revenue enhancement may be increasing fees to county parks that get a lot of use. For example, San Joaquin County charges $5 for admission to regional parks, whereas Stanislaus County charges $10.
“I’m not proposing we go to $10,” Jones said, but he’s exploring the idea.
With the recent retirement of Craig Ogata, the county Board of Supervisors agreed to save money by not directly replacing Ogata with a department head. Instead, Karam, who is in charge of county-owned buildings, has taken over parks, and Jones is park administrator.
“Duncan is doing excellent job,” Karam said. “From his past experience, he’s finding ways to do things more efficiently.”
Jones, who has worked for the town of Atherton in San Mateo County for eight years, became interested in the San Joaquin County position because his girlfriend is a public school teacher in Modesto and one of his three daughters lives in Modesto.
Jones and Karam have been busy going through years and years of paperwork and drawings, some of which isn’t park-related.
“He and I have been learning all kinds of things together,” Jones said.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.