What’s to become of recreation in Riverside if village trustees make good on their positions stated Monday and replace the recreation board with an advisory commission? It’s impossible to say.

Trustees in favor of the change say that it will standardize how tax money is administered in Riverside. If the village board can decide how police officers and squad cars are funded, why shouldn’t they be able to do the same with swing sets and recreation directors?

Of course, that argument is a bit of a change from the rationale set out a couple of months ago, when the reasons were to save money and create a more efficient way of delivering services.

But it’s a change that is reflective of the often conflicting statements made Monday regarding the future of recreation in Riverside and it’s illustrative why so many people are concerned how the change will manifest itself.

Trustee Lonnie Sacchi emphasized that no one was proposing eliminating “the recreation function” in Riverside. President Michael Gorman, in response to a 17-year-old RB High School senior concerned recreation programs would be diminished, said, “Rest assured, none of those things will change.”

Earlier in the meeting, though, Gorman also said, referring to the replacement of park equipment, if it comes down to it, “We’ll make that tough decision and say, no, we’ll have to close those tennis courts and have done with it.”

It’s the “having done with” aspects of recreation that is so troubling to so many people in Riverside, and why those who showed up at two meetings to protest the change (no one at either meeting spoke in favor of it), are worried about how money for recreation will be allocated.

They worry that the board will micromanage the money away from programming and toward other items that could be argued on a technical basis – cutting grass in parks or managing wilderness areas, for example – are related to the “recreation function.”

Gorman either appeared conflicted or was recommending a new policy for the village board when he stated, “We don’t micromanage” and “We have to micromanage, that’s what we’re elected to do” within the span of a couple of minutes.

The change was needed, he said, in order for the village board to maintain the flexibility “to make sure we don’t raise taxes and to deliver the municipal services you deserve and demand.”

A little later, Sacchi stated “a tax increase is inevitable.”

You can see why people begin to scratch their heads and wonder just what is going on here. Why the need to change 73 years of precedent and dissolve a rec board that there appears to be near-unanimous consent does a good job in both managing money and providing services?

The long and short of the change is this: the village board majority wants to control a tax levy given by voters in 1937 to an independent board, a requirement of passing the referendum at that time.

The question remaining is, “to what end?” Is it a robust recreation department where an advisory commission operates with relative independence or a recreation function that must be micromanaged by the village board? Something in between?

Riverside is about to find out.