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EPRD’s 2014 budget increases fees

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By Stephanie DeCamp

The Evergreen Park and Recreation District board raised a variety of fees when it approved a $5.8 million budget for 2014 last month.

But thanks to an unexpected $200,000 increase in 2013 revenue, the fee increases are modest, EPRD Executive Director Scott Robson said. The increases include:

• The admission fee for Wulf Rec Center is now the same as at Buchanan Rec Center. That means an increase of 75 cents for kids, seniors and military personnel, and an extra $1 for adults.

• The unlimited fitness pass, which includes activities like yoga classes, will increase from $65 to $70.

• The fee for a basketball court will jump from $100 to $105 for a season of league use.

The good news, Robson said, is that district employees won’t pay more for health insurance. 

The district’s 7.372-mill property tax will remain as is,

said EPRD controller Karen Messler. The owner of a home valued at $300,000 will continue to pay $176 annually.

Some numbers

For 2014, an anticipated 8 percent increase in district revenue means EPRD is doing better than many similar districts, Robson said, but a 9 percent boost in expenses is on the horizon.

Robson said the district will collect $61,085 less in property-tax revenue in 2014 due to declining property values, as compared to the $58,000 decline last year.

The unexpected $200,000 jump in 2013 revenue came as a result of greater-than-anticipated use of facilities.

While the full numbers for 2013 aren’t available yet, January through October income included:

·      More rentals of the Lake House.

·      Increased admissions and memberships to the rec centers.

·      A lowering of costs for programs such as gymnastics.

·      An increase in participation in youth special-interest programs, including skating, martial arts and boating.

·      $180,500 in grants and $121,000 in lottery funds.

Evergreen Lake Park is projected to generate $936,000 in 2014, with expenses of $539,000.

While grants in 2014 are expected to bring in $197,500, lottery funds are expected to decline, Messler said, to $104,000.

Major projects and expense items for 2014 include:

·     The board will focus more funds and energy on programs and marketing at Buchanan Rec Center. The board would also like to reduce the number of activities at Evergreen Lake, Robson said.

·     The new Evergreen Winter Sports Center on the golf course, which will offer only sledding this year, was allotted $23,860 in the budget. It is expected to generate $49,000.

·     A merit-based raise of 2.5 percent will be given to employees. Total payroll costs for 2014 will be $2.827 million, Messler said.

We’re feeling really fortunate that we're not having to borrow heavily from reserves or take major losses this year,” Robson said, “and be forced like some to really go out to the taxpayers and ask for an increase (in property taxes) to remain afloat.”

In other news

In other EPRD news, Robson said the group planning a statue for the veterans memorial at Buchanan Park has decided on a more cost-effective design. The original plan for a bronze sculpture has been replaced with a fully inset sculpture of the soldiers in a rock wall, with half of the piece in bronze. A Littleton artist has been hired to create the work, which is expected to be completed in April.