As the annual calendar enters the final three months, St. Clair Parks and Recreation Board members have started to finalize their 2014 budget.
Board members reviewed updated figures and projections provided by City Administrator Rick Childers during the group’s Sept. 30 meeting.
Not a whole lot changed from the last time the local board worked on its proposed budget for the new year. The latest document addresses some of the current needs in the parks while also lays some plans for the future.
The parks fund is one of six the city uses. The others are general, water and sewer, street improvement, half-cent sales tax and transportation tax. By law, the board of aldermen must approve the 2014 budget by the end of the year.
Aldermen, Childers, Mayor Ron Blum and department heads have gone through two workshops to discuss the overall budget. A third one is planned for November.
During the park board’s August meeting, members pushed pencils and started to develop a plan of attack to use projected available funding. That process continued in September.
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 slightly over $186,000, which is about a $2,000 increase from a month earlier.
As far as expenses, the proposed budget still includes $10,000 to go toward resurfacing the walking trail at Orchard Park, which was designated by park board members as a priority need. The budget also sets aside $24,000 for a new pickup truck, another priority item.
It is the board’s hope a new vehicle can be purchased. There was some discussion on whether a newer used truck or even a demonstration model could be found.
“We usually don’t want to buy someone else’s problems by purchasing a used vehicle,” Childers told the group.
A snow-removal blade may be added to the purchase. Childers said if that is the case, the truck will have to be a three-quarter ton capacity.
Originally, the park fund was going to include a new riding lawnmower instead of a pickup. The board of aldermen and Blum suggested otherwise and opted for the truck instead.
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.
At this point, expenses are estimated at $185,444, which would keep the fund in the black by about $1,000.