As the St. Clair Parks and Recreation Board works through its proposed 2014 budget with City Administrator Rick Childers, members wanted to make sure current needs were being taken care of while future plans still will be considered.
Board members will present their budget to the city’s board of aldermen, which must approve an overall annual budget by the end of the year. The park fund is one of six the city uses. The others are general, water and sewer, street improvement, half-cent sales tax and transportation tax.
The board of aldermen and department heads have started meeting to discuss that 2014 budget.
During the park board’s August meeting, members pushed pencils and started to develop a plan of attack to use projected available funding.
The bulk of the park board’s funding comes from taxes, specifically real estate, personal property and sales. Years ago, the board of aldermen decided to put 10 percent of the overall city’s general fund sales tax revenue into the parks budget to help bolster available funds.
At this stage of the budget process, projected 2014 park fund revenue is about $184,000.
As far as expenses, park board members decided to take care of a couple of specific needs next year. Originally, that included purchasing a new commercial-grade riding lawn mower and resurfacing the walking trail at Orchard Park with $15,000 and $10,000 price tags, respectively.
However, after the board of aldermen went through a second budget workshop this week, it was determined a bigger need for the park department was a new truck, so the budget will be adjusted to reflect that purchase instead of the lawnmower. Childers said he is hoping the vehicle can be purchased in the low $20,000 range.
“We’re hoping we can get another year out of the lawnmower,” he said.
The Orchard Park trail resurfacing remained in the budget.
The park budget also takes care of a full- and part-time annual employee salary and benefits, an annual payment to pay off the new spray park, insurance and other miscellaneous expenses.
It also foots the bill for the annual fireworks show that concludes the June Freedom Fest. Next year, that estimated cost is $6,000.
In addition, the park board expects to install a nine-hole disc golf course somewhere in Evergreen Park. Money is in the budget this year to purchase the equipment and plans are to construct the course next year.
“The park board has been working really hard to put together a plan to make sure we utilize the money we have, in the best way possible,” board President Linda Luetje-Nelson said. “We always love input from the people who use and love the parks as much as we do.”
The park board also looked at a resolution that places a requirement that members may not miss three scheduled events or meetings within a 12-month period. Currently, there are members of the board who have not attended meetings or functions for several months in a row.
Those members could be voted off the board.