The Evergreen Park and Recreation District is heading into the coming year with a $5.3 million budget that reflects a 2 percent increase in both revenue and expenses, said Scott Robson, EPRD executive director.
"We were more or less flat with net revenue compared to 2012, despite the fact that property-tax revenue is going down," said Robson. "In general, we've got a good, solid budget for 2013."
General funding sources include 49 percent that are district-generated, 29 percent in property taxes and 17 percent from property-tax revenue bonds.
Because of dropping property values in the district, a decline in tax revenue of $44,000 is anticipated.
However, anticipated increases in revenues from activities at Evergreen Lake Park and the district's two recreation centers will add to the net revenue, said Robson.
Compared to the 2012 forecast of $722, 554 in net revenue, the projected $716,336 for 2013 is very close, said Karen Messler, financial controller for the district.
Grants totaling $550,000, which the district has received over the past 18 months, also have been a significant financial benefit, said Robson. They have offset what the district has to pay out of its own funds while investing more than a half-million dollars in the community by hiring local contractors, he remarked.
"We had extraordinary income from grants," Mark Footer, Evergreen Park and Recreation district board president, said during a discussion of the budget at the Dec. 11 meeting when the budget was approved.
The district also is anticipating utility savings of $43,574 next year because of energy upgrades at recreational facilities, including the Wulf Rec Center swimming pool.
The 2013 budget allocates 67 percent of revenues for operations and maintenance, 16 percent for capital projects and 17 percent for bonds.
Budget increases in the coming year include 1 percent in total employee and contractor wages and a 2 percent hike in employee benefits. Employee costs have been reduced by keeping the number of full-time employees at 29 and hiring part-time people to replace those who left through attrition.
While looking at capital improvement projects for the coming year, Robson said the focus will be on improving existing facilities and making them safer for public use. Improving handicapped accessibility is also a priority, he said.
Included in the $1 million capital-improvement budget is phase two of the Wulf Recreation Center renovation, upgrades to the Evergreen Lake boardwalk, and numerous upgrades at the Buchanan and Wulf recreation centers.
"We're maintaining and improving what we have," said Messler.
Also in the 2013 budget is funding for a community survey in the spring to get a better understanding of what the community would like to see improved, said Messler.
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