Board members took a first look at the proposed Evergreen Park and Recreation District budget for 2013 during their Aug. 28 meeting at Kittredge Community Bible Church.
With property-tax revenues projected to stay flat in the coming year, the draft budget focuses on basic operational expenses and modest capital improvement projects.
The projected total income for the park district in 2013 is $5,201,282 — a decrease of $62,917 over the current year. The budget draft reflects $4,608,847 in total expenses for 2013.
“We have some program areas we would like to improve upon,” said EPRD Executive Director Scott Robson. “We’re not feeling like we need to implement fee increases."
To reduce payroll costs and offset potential declines in program revenues, the number of full-time employees would decrease from 32 to 29 in the coming year, Robson said.
Part-time employees would be hired as replacements, he said.
An average 2.5 percent merit increase for all staff is included in the budget draft.
Overall district program revenue is projected to decline $98,500 in 2013 because of decreases in children’s programming, martial arts and after-school enrichment and fitness and weight training.
Robson explained that the district is seeing some declines in program participation, including the Playschool, which offers hourly drop-in child care for parents while they are at Buchanan and Wulf recreation centers.
Some park and rec programs and events produce more revenue than others, Robson said. The Lake House skating and boating revenue is “going gangbusters,” he said. “We’ve got a pretty diverse fleet,” Robson noted.
“We highly subsidize some events, and that’s fine,” he remarked. “Beyond the Winter Festival, I don’t envision the park district taking on more events.”
Robson said the district should realize a utility savings of $43,574 next year because of energy upgrades at recreational facilities, including the Wulf Rec Center swimming pool.
Regarding capital improvements at park facilities, Robson said the boardwalk at Evergreen Lake Park is slated for replacement at a cost of $50,000. Larger boards would be placed on the boardwalk for greater stability and resilience.
A replacement fence costing an estimated $32,700 is also in the works at the Buchanan Park baseball fields. Also on the capital-improvements list are a new tent and entrance design for the Lake Park and a zipline installation at Wulf Park. The grand total for 2013 projects comes to $626,099 for the coming year.
During the discussion, board member Kit Darrow suggested the district purchase a mobile stage.
“Some nonprofits would like to see a mobile stage at Buchanan,” she said. “In my opinion, it would be a very useful amenity for the district to have.”
Robson said the mobile stage was not included in the coming budget.
Before the review of the draft budget, Robson presented an update on the Wulf Park improvement project that is anticipated to begin this month.
“We are generally on schedule, but some of the concrete work is getting tight,” he said. “We are still anticipating a September start.”
The project, estimated at $432,000, includes renovation of the skate park, a multi-purpose court, new playground equipment and a gateway entrance for the park.
Robson said staff brought to his attention that the playground is not fenced and gated.
“There will be a nice decorative fence and gate to increase safety,” he said.
The playground area will also have a $30,000 rubberized surface running through it.
“It’s a costly item, but we think it’s important,” said Robson.
Some elements such as a climbing wall and lighted tennis courts were not added to the project in order to stay within budget.
When asked about the contingencies, Robson said they would be driven by contractors doing the project.
Playground architect Axel Bishop of Design Concepts created the park improvement plan for the district.
Contact reporter Sandy Barnes at email@example.com or call 303-350-1042.