Park Board, June 4, 2015

The basketball courts are full at the new Community Center. The building's final bills will be closed out in June.

Park activities and capital expenses for next year will top $4 million, according to an initial budget request.

The board accepted a director’s budget request for FY2015-16 that is a $59,500 increase over last year, details below. The board’s budget, divided into capital and operational expenses, is submitted to the mayor in June, discussed in late July, and submitted to the city council’s Finance Committee for review, along with the rest of the city’s budget, in September. The budget does not include a $200,000 added in last year’s budget for the design and installation of a gateway to the new rec center, which was denied. This year, Mr. Squires and Mr. Meeks are discussing fundraisers to pay for the final touch to the expanded center.

Members present: Tom Blake, Jody Brant, Chris Meeks, chairman, Keith Stansell, Marjorie Trimm and Michael Murray.

Members absent: Becky Morton and Paula Smalley. Also absent was council liaison Richard Laws.

Staff present: Berkley Squires, public services director, Rusty Holley, Rec Center Supervisor, Jakob Stephens, athletic director, Angie Montgomery and Heddy Fitts, taking minutes.

Approved minutes of the May 7, 2015, meeting.

Approved a charity event at Central Park: The board approved a second annual Mothers Walk and fun run with live music, children’s activities and other entertainment benefiting ovarian cancer research for Saturday, May 14, 2016.

Approved the July 2015 Exceptional Foundation calendar: The board is receiving advance notice of Exceptional Foundation’s events in order to assure adequate parking.

Awaits a signature on the Exceptional Foundation shared use agreement: Foundation CEO Trisha Kirk has been ill with complications of appendicitis and has not yet signed the agreement.

The rec center's new pool. Cool, wet weather kept numbers down this Memorial Day compared to last year, when the center opened.

The rec center’s new pool. Cool, wet weather kept numbers down this Memorial Day compared to last year, when the center opened.

Accepted without change the department head’s FY2015-16 budget proposal:

PROPOSED 2015-16 OPERATING EXPENSES –   $3,960,241

Actual council-approved budget for current fy2014-15 – $3,900,729

Salaries, benefits, insurance, other personnel costs: $2,649,702 cf. last year’s $2.7 million.

As Mr. Squires said last year at this time, the parks department is asking for an arborist and will ask to fill another laborer position. It also wants to fill, in the current budget year, two laborer positions left vacant for two years. He said the department has been down six employees since 2009.

Salaries account for $858,539 of the total–the same requested last year–while wages are $1,177,668

Professional Services— $142,539, up from last year’s request of  $128,709, which was reduced to $124,319 in the current budget.

Professional services include items such as pest control, personnel time keeping systems, storage, air handling, television and tree removal. The big ticket items are as follows:

    • $38,000 to Trugreen for athletic field maintenance–same as last year.
    • $28,000 Kellis Vegetation Management (herbicide applications), which was added for spraying the Greenway, Patriot Park, West Homewood and Central parks.
    • $17,000 for “tree removal,” cf. $20,000 last year
    • $8,570 for copier maintenance

Utilities – $461,000–This represents increases for natural gas (from $21,000 to $23,000), electricity (from $243,291 to $255,000), and water/sewer service ($150,000 to $160,000) per year.

Building and maintenance contractual services – $118,000, up $1,000 over last year, and includes $80,000 for building and grounds, and $20,000 for pool maintenance, up $2,000 from last year plus $9,000 each for vehicle maintenance and equipment repair.

Miscellaneous – $282,000, mainly for “Park Activity” expenses, up $10,000 over last year and reflecting added insurance, and ($200,000) and “Senior Citizen Activity” expenses, which were level this year, at $45,000.

Picture18

Tree removal, herbicides and and other turf maintenance products cost the parks nearly $85,000 yearly.

CAPITAL EXPENSES-$296,700 requested compared to $177,122 in current budget

Building improvements– $101,400 including the following top expenses:

  • Fencing for field #2 in West Homewood – $46,800
  • Lee Center gym lights, complete interior repainting and new hallway flooring – $39,300
  • Bleachers with safety sides – $21,000
  • Batting cage nets – $10,000
  • Senior Center flooring – $10,000

Park Landscape Equipment – $66,000, including:”

  • $35,000 Vicon spreader
  • $25,000 72-inch Zero Turn mower
  • $6,000 tire changer

Recreation equipment –

  • $60,000 – Park equipment for Overton Park, including new swings, playground equipment and ground cover
  • $30,000 Ram truck with lift gate.

A hefty request of $200,000 added last year to the budget for design and installation of a Central Park gateway was not only denied, apparently, but has become an expense the park board will have to raise its own funds to pay for. Discussion over last year’s request revealed that Mr. Squires and some members had already seen several designs submitted from Chuck Kelly and Davis Architecture; Mr. Meeks pledged that the board would show the designs publicly some time in the future.

Mr. Meeks also said he would ask the city to provide the board with revenue statements on which to base their requests–revenues produced by park activities go directly to the city’s treasury and are allocated back to the park board each year by the City Council.

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