The Rockford Park District Tuesday approved a 2017 budget it says will save $1 million for citizens.
The district has budgeted $34,879,152 for 2017, with just over $19 million of that going to capital projects. RPD says before it looked to trim any services from its operations, it evaluated non-tax revenue streams from items such as concession contracts, sponsorship and donations, and tourism dollars.
“We have minimized fee increases, and we’ve tried to keep as many free and low cost recreation opportunities as possible, but we are eliminating valuable services that are going to put many organizations at a disadvantage,” said executive director Tim Dimke.
“Equipment the District is no longer able to provide is available through the private sector. We’ve even been working with the private sector to possibly offer a reduced rate to these community organizations.”
The district pegged the reduction in the overall budget – a trend ongoing since the beginning of the 2008 recession – on declining tax revenues.
“We have done the responsible thing for taxpayers, showing our commitment to fiscal responsibility as we anticipate a lower tax rate,” said RPD Board of Commissioners president Ian Linnabary.
“The 2017 budget reflects a team effort to maintain our best in nation status despite our budgetary challenges, and we have fully leveraged the considerable talent of our dedicated workforce to achieve the goal.”
The district was also anticipating a reduction in revenues from Springfield.
Reduction of programs and services
- Cease providing support service equipment (bleachers, picnic tables, showmobile, tents, etc.), realigning impacted team members to open budgeted positions
- Eliminate Imagination Station and Cottontail Trail (free events)
- Elimination of Camp Lone Oak
- Various reductions in programming
- Administrative reductions in marketing and support services
- Reduction in cash voucher program to community partners
- Elimination of select full-time positions due to transferring of employees to open positions and retirement, resulting in a reduction in the overall number of full-time positions
- Indoor Sports Center expansion on Mercyhealth Sportscore Two campus complete in May 2017
- Full year of operation at UW Health Sports Factory
- Full year of operation for Snow Park at Alpine Hills
- Increase in fee revenue due to Bruce Munro exhibit at Nicholas Conservatory and Gardens
- Increase in fee revenue for hockey leagues, private skate lessons, and golf memberships
- Implementation of a service charge to offset credit/debit card charges usage by customers
- Reduction of $224,000 in state revenues
- Move Customer Service from the Webbs Norman Center to the UW Health Sports Factory for increased hours of registration