Park District presents balanced budget, more than $2 million in cuts made
Online Staff Report
The Rockford Park District presented the 2013 Budget and Appropriation Ordinance and Certification of Estimates of Revenue to the Board of Commissioners Dec. 11 for initial review and discussion. The board also received the 2012 Tax Levy Ordinance for consideration prior to the publishing of the 2012 Notice of Proposed Property Tax Increase this month.
The Park District budget has been impacted as a result of economic conditions, unwillingness to raise fees given citizens’ ability to pay more, local and state tax revenue declines, and increasing costs of doing business.
Since the 2008 recession, the Park District has made about $3.4 million in mid-year budget adjustments or annual budget reductions, and more than $2 million has been cut to balance the 2013 budget.
The district continues to reduce administrative costs, reduce and/or eliminate programs, adjust program/facility schedules, and cancel programs to achieve a balanced budget for the 104th consecutive year.
Rockford Park District Executive Director Tim Dimke said: “This is a trimmed, lean budget that stretches financial and human resources. We are fully committed to fiscal integrity, and continue to be good stewards of public funds while delivering a high-quality park and recreation system at a reasonable cost to residents and visitors. Being awarded the 2012 National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation from the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is evidence of our commitment to our citizens, customers and visitors to our community.”
The proposed budget will be available for public review over the next month, and a public hearing will be held at 5 p.m., Jan. 22, 2013. Formal approval by the board will likely take place at the Jan. 22 meeting. The assessed value presented in the levy is only an estimate; the final EAV, tax levy extension, and tax rate information will not be known until spring 2013.
The 2012 operating budget was $31,901,798.
The 2013 operating budget is $30,313,974, or $1,587,824 less.
The 2012 capital budget was $12,278,570 (Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens Phase II and Eclipse Lagoon were donations for a major capital project.) The 2013 capital budget is $9,448,991 or $2,829,579 less.
Major differences, budget to budget
• Outsourcing food service at Park District concessions and facilities resulted in $100,000 net savings
• Reduced seven full-time positions (through attrition, organizational alignment, and without layoffs)
• Internal service departments, program and facility operational efficiencies and reductions
• Health care costs are flat, in part credited to a effective employee wellness program
Overview of programs and services
• Minor program reductions occurred in Camp Lone Oak, Levings Lakers events, and one summer playground cooperative program was discontinued because of low attendance
• Slight fee increases for hockey and golf, and increasing park shelter rentals to marketplace rates
• Continuing to maintain free and low-cost programs, especially for youth and families
• 86 percent of capital improvements will be to maintain current parks and facilities
• There are few new projects, and those are made possible by grants and donations (Alpine Hills Adventure Park, Jamestown Park playground replacement, Teahouse at Eclipse Lagoon, boat docks at Riverfront Museum Park and the accessible fishing pier at Sinnissippi Riverfront)
“Every department has been asked to run more efficiently and do more with less,” Dimke said. “We are fully committed to fiscal integrity, responsible stewardship, and delivering high-quality standards in every area of operation.”
Posted Dec. 12, 2012
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