City of Ashland
PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION
January 9, 2012
Present: Commissioners Eggers, Landt, Lewis, Rosenthal, Seffinger; Director Robertson; Superintendents Dials and Dickens
Absent: City Council Liaison Slattery
CALL TO ORDER
Eggers called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m. in the Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer Street.
ENDING FUND BALANCE POLICY
Robertson distributed packets on the Parks ending fund balance. He said the information was provided for the commissioners’ use when speaking with city councilors and others. Packet items were reviewed:
· Ending fund balance policy
· Memo outlining completed projects in parks
· List of deferred maintenance projects and associated costs
· List of volunteer hours per project throughout Parks system
· FAQ on the history of the Parks tax rate and the Parks ending fund balance
· Timeline history of Ashland property tax rates
· Comparison graph of Parks revenues versus ending fund balances
· Budget message from FY 1997-1998 referring to, on page 2, the “gentleman’s agreement” about the division of permanent tax rate for Parks from the City General Fund
· List of FY 2011-2012 Parks Commission goals
· Annual fees and charges review for FY 2010-2011
· Photos of parks in a variety of conditions (excellent to poor)
Robertson asked the commission for feedback on the packet provided by staff.
Discussion Among Commissioners
Eggers said it was a large amount of information that would be useful when speaking with councilors and others. Landt said a table of contents or summary would help the commission access the information quickly but he was not asking staff to do that. Lewis stated that Parks staff, in recent years, continued to provide the same level of service on more properties while utilizing fewer resources. Landt suggested a line graph showing the Parks budget compared to acres maintained. Seffinger suggested another graph showing maintenance personnel compared with acreages maintained. Landt said both graphs could be included on the same page. Rosenthal said the timeline of property taxes between 1992 and 2012 showed Parks taxes decreasing slightly and the City General Fund increasing significantly. Robertson said the City permanent rate was $4.29 while the Parks millage was $2.09. He said Parks could not go back to the highest historical rate of $2.25 due to increases in the City millage versus the limits established by measures 48 and 50.
Commissioners asked about the draft Parks ending fund balance policy. Eggers stated that the two columns were mixed up in some instances but it was a good starting point for discussion. Lewis said practical examples would help the commission and council understand the material more clearly. Robertson said the left column included distilled elements of the policy while the right column, “Rationale,” was his attempt to explain each bullet. He said he was open to other suggestions. Landt said the first bullet under “Policy” along with its rationale was a preamble rather than a policy statement. He suggested providing two scenarios: one in which the ending fund balance was 25% and the other with a 30% ending balance. Lewis said 25-30% was a significant change and asked how often the ending balance was at least 30%. Robertson estimated that it happened nine out of ten times. Rosenthal asked if the commission’s policy on ending fund balance would be a binding policy and Robertson said it would be a non-binding policy. The commission agreed to change the 25% referenced in the first section to 30% and to change the word “council” to “commission,” with the resulting statement reading: “Commission policy stipulates that ending fund balances are to be equal to 30% of projected revenues for a given fiscal year.” Robertson said he would make all recommended changes to the document and send it back to the commission before the weekend.
By consensus, Eggers adjourned the meeting at 8:20 p.m.
Ashland Parks and Recreation