Park Board, June 9, 2016

PARKSThe park board approved the FY2017 budget as presented by the Public Works Superintendent this week. That budget will go to the mayor, and probably back to the parks staff for changes, before being submitted to council in September. The FY2017 budget year begins Oct. 1 of this year. A copy of the document is linked, plus highlights by Berkley Squires. Also this week, the soccer club makes a positive annual report after a tumultuous few years. Baseball is on the upswing with changes for post-season play.

Members present: Paula Smalley, vice chair, presiding, Gary Isenhower, Becky Morton, Jody Brant, and Tyler Vail.

Members absent: Chris Meeks, chair, Keith Stansell, Michael Murray, and Marjorie Trimm.

Staff present: Berkley Squires, public service superintendent, Rusty Holley, Rec Center director, Stephen Jakobson, athletic director, and board secretary.

Audience attendance: 1

Approved the May 2016 meeting minutes

Homewood girls soccer en route to a winning tournament in North Carolina.

Homewood girls soccer en route to a winning tournament in North Carolina.

Soccer Club annual report: President Mason Cook delivered a positive report on the once-troubled soccer club, reporting 769 players this spring, compared to 820 last spring, of which 213 belonged to competitive, traveling teams, 196 played at the recreation level and 368 were in the young, Patriots age group, or ages up to 8.

There were 1,012 players in the fall.

Of the total, 16% this spring were non-Homewood players, down by about half from past years. (The percentage is a little less for the Patriot  group and a little more for the traveling teams.) Financial aid valued at $13,460 was granted to allow players from 150 families to play who otherwise couldn’t afford it. Most aid is awarded based on a student receiving free or reduced school lunches, although some is based on special circumstances.

Rates for the upcoming year are $575 per season for the competitive group, which includes tournament and other travel fees up front. Rec players pay $210 for 14 weeks of practice and 8 games. The Patriot group is divided into two divisions, one playing 8 games and 10 practices for $165, and one playing 10 nights for $110.

Mr. Mason didn’t bring or present any financial information at the meeting. That information would be provided later for this report.

The soccer program has undergone a tremendous change from days when the board was inflated with members, paid coaches, and a controversial president whose leadership and financial policies the past park board found objectionable in December 2013. So objectionable, it asked for a follow-up report a few months later, in February 2014, which prompted a defense of president David Putnam from one resident. Some problems persisted, despite cleaning house of board members and practices and a leadership change. No questions were raised at this year’s report.

Click here for a look at the last report from December 2014.

The pendulum is swinging back to baseball, especially for younger kids. [al.com 2013]

The pendulum is swinging back to baseball, especially for younger kids. [al.com 2013]

Baseball annual report: Outgoing president Howie Myers reported changes in the program since the post-season play was reorganized from the Metro Sports Baseball league to the Greater Birmingham Baseball Association, comprised of Homewood, Vestavia, Mountain Brook, Hoover-Shades Mountain, Hoover East, Oak Mountain and Trussville. In a handout, the changes are described as moving away from a selective All-Stars format for post-season play to an inclusive tournament format that allows for more competitive play without traveling across the state. Parks can enter any number of teams, for more games for more boys, after the season, he said.

This first year, the league had 95 teams from 7 parks, finishing June 25.

At home, other changes have been introduced, such as using a mobile phone app for scheduling and communication, identifying and preparing coaches before registration, and overall better organization. The pendulum is swinging back in favor of baseball, he said.

Mr. Myers said there has been an increase in interest among younger players and it’s the board’s job to encourage those players to keep playing. For the spring season, there were 462 players in 48 teams, of which the largest group was 9/10u: with 82 players on 9 teams.

Fees range from $60 for the youngest group 4u: to $150 for the oldest players. Non-residents play $170 and fall ball charges $50 for all ages.

The program’s financial report is difficult to compare with last year’s, which was reported on Aug. 31. At that time, with a starting balance of $51,395, the program took in revenues of $113,354 against expenses of $90,327 for a net of $23,027, resulting in the current balance of $74,422. Mr. Myers didn’t project what the balance might look like in August. For a look at last year’s report, in May 2015, click here.

Approved the following park events:

  • Samford’s Phi Mu 5K benefitting Children’s Miracle Network was approved for Nov. 5 from 6 a.m.-noon at Central Park.
  • The Norma Livingston Ovarian Cancer Foundation Motherwalk 2017, with children’s activities, was approved for Saturday, May 13, 5-11 a.m. at Central Park. This is the group’s third annual event at Central.
  • Wells Fargo employee picnic at Patriot Park for Sunday, July 17, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. The group, being for-profit, was charged $1,000 for use of the park.

Approved the director’s budget presentation for FY2017:

Mr. Squires presented a $4,165,550 spending budget for operations for the year beginning Oct. 1, 2016, (current budget is $4.0M) of which the following big ticket items and/or changes since last year were explained. Link to a faint copy of the entire document.

Parks and Rec is budgeting $14,500 yearly to vacuum sediment collecting in the Central Park stream.

Parks and Rec is budgeting $14,500 yearly to vacuum sediment collecting in the Central Park stream.

OPERATIONS  $4.2 million requested

  • Personnel Services of $2.8 million is subject to change due to timing of finding out costs of yearly health insurance, Workers Compensation, and raises. The figure is an increase of the current year’s $2.7 million budget and includes $1.2 million in wages and the rest associated benefits, such as insurance.
  •  Professional Services, such as contract services for everything from cable TV to turf fertilizer, is $161,249, up nearly $20,000 to include a $14,500 yearly cost to vacuum sediment out of the Central Park stream. Also, the board will request canned music to be piped in at the rec center foyer and pool at $960/year. The largest outlay is $38,000 for Trugreen services, followed by $28,000 for Kelli’s Vegetation, and $17,964 for time-clock equipment and software by ADP
  • Increased costs for such things as janitorial supplies, ball field chalk, pool chemicals, raised the supply budget from $296,000 currently to a requested $304,000.
Capital improvements on the Mayfair side of Overton Park will be duplicated on the Kensington side.

Capital improvements on the Mayfair side of Overton Park will be duplicated on the Kensington side.

CAPITAL – $204,350 requested

  • New doors at the Lee Center will cost $31,200.
  • Renovations at Overton Park on the Kensington Road side will match work completed on the Mayfair Drive side, including a parking area and stone walkway, at a cost of $62,000. This request came from residents on Kensington via the mayor.
  • Upgrades at the Senior Center include $14,000 for restroom countertops, a new kiln, projector and screen.
  • A request for 30 heavy-duty trash cans for all parks, at a cost of $18,750.
  • The biggest capital ticket, beside the Kensington improvements, is $29,000 for a new mower and $40,000 3/4 ton landscape truck to haul it in.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 7:45 p.m.

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