No sharks: Albemarle closes its beaches... to save $6K
Despite a summer of searing heat and an impending holiday weekend, Albemarle County has decided to close its three swimming beaches two weeks early, according to a report by the Newsplex. Reporter Mark Tenia found that Albemarle officials decided to close the beaches last weekend and again this weekend at Chris Greene Lake, Walnut Creek, and Mint Springs Valley Park to save about $6,000 in pay to lifeguards and cashiers. The beaches closed Sunday, August 22, according to the County website.
As news of the closure began spreading, outrage erupted because the three beaches provided a low-cost way for cash-strapped families to enjoy a simple vacation and because the amount of money saved pales beside some of the other expenditures in the County's $292 million budget.
On Wednesday morning, September 1, County spokesperson Lee Catlin issued a press release noting that the cutback was decided during the 2010/2011 fiscal year budget process–- with zero public comment back then. She also notes that the season passes mention the early closing date and that a poster with the closing date was "prominently displayed" at all three County beaches.
–story augmented 11:51am, Wednesday, September 1 with final two paragraphs including the County's side of the controversy