PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION
March 21, 2011
Present: Commissioners Eggers, Landt, Lewis, Rosenthal, Seffinger; Director Robertson; Superintendents Dials and Gies
Absent: City Council Liaison Slattery
Eggers called the meeting to order at 7:20 p.m. at the Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer.
PROPOSED FY 2011-2012 BUDGET DISCUSSION
Robertson distributed a list of revised FY 2011-2012 budget goals and said the document included commissioner suggestions for including objectives / benchmarks along with timelines and assigned staff coordinators. He said two goals typically managed by the Parks Superintendent were assigned to the Recreation Superintendent for purposes of cross training and to evenly distribute the work load, with other goals assigned to the Parks Director, Parks Superintendent, and Golf Course Superintendent.
Discussion Among Commissioners
For the goal “Oak Knoll Golf Course,” Landt said he previously requested consideration of a neighborhood park at Oak Knoll, as the area was identified on the Open Space Plan as needing a neighborhood park, and he asked for the addition of such wording within the goal.
Robertson said the previous year the commission chose to include a goal entitled “Community Communication” and held two public forums, one on pesticides and the other on dogs. He said the dog forum led to discussion about opening up more park areas for dogs but the commission felt the need to first establish better communication and rules about enforcement. He said a park host program would be implemented in the near future to notify people about dog rules and additional Park Patrol would be hired in summer 2011 to assist with enforcement. Seffinger said the public would become more aware about and compliant with dog rules if additional dog waste stations were installed and she asked for budgetary funding for additional stations.
For the goal “Review and Establish Parks Design, Development, and Maintenance Standards,” Landt said the wording following the title included only maintenance topics. He suggested including a reference to design elements and asked that the completion date for the goal be moved from fall 2011 to winter 2012 to allow for the hiring and training of the new Parks Superintendent. For the goal “Develop Plan to Resurface Calle Guanajuato,” Landt suggested adding “develop a plan / conceptual design.”
FY 2011-2012 BUDGET
Robertson gave a brief overview of the Parks and Recreation Fund budget and said its categories included revenues, expenditures, revenues over expenditures, and ending fund balance. He said divisions within the categories were Parks, Recreation, and Golf. He discussed end-of-year projections, carryover, proposed budget numbers for 2011-2012, and long-term projections through 2017. He said Parks was projected to spend 98% of its FY 2010-2011 budget.
Robertson said he incorporated 2% in the budget for a potential COLA, based on CPI, but it would be at the discretion of the commission to approve any such increase. He talked about long-term projections through 2017 and said the Parks ending fund balance was expected to drop beginning in 2015. He said the budget figures were conservative estimates for operations of the Parks Department.
Gies presented the Parks Division budget and said it had been stagnant over the past five years. Under Materials and Services he said the “supplies” category included approximately $7,500 for the IPM program. He said Rental, Repair, Maintenance included utilities, maintenance, construction, irrigation, horticulture, and fuel and $23,000 was saved within that category when the fleet mechanics were transferred to the City. He said the additional dog waste stations would be funded through that category. He said the Contracted Services line item, which included the CAP Officer and Park Patrol positions, increased by $13,000 over the previous year. He said central service fees, which paid for City departmental support for human resources, legal, and finance, increased from $309,000 to $340,000. Gies said most of the advertising and training funds were found in the Admin category. Staff said the overall training budget for the department was $14,000 per year.
Gies presented the Golf Division budget and said there were minimal changes over the previous year. Robertson said the department was on target in the early part of the fiscal year but then the weather turned and revenues dropped. He talked about the budget impact of paying out the previous Golf Course Superintendent’s accruals. Gies said the proposed walking path could be installed using funds from the capital line item. He said additional funds were added to the supplies line item to allow for more flexibility in purchasing items for the golf clubhouse.
Robertson talked about the Youth Activities Levy budget and said it was the tail of the fund (delinquent taxes) and Parks did not have access to the funds because they had settled with the Ashland School District.
Dials presented the Recreation Division budget and said it included five categories: Admin, Recreation Programs, Community Centers, Nature Center, and Senior Center. She reviewed budgeted costs in all five categories for both personnel and materials and services. For the Nature Center, she said personnel costs would remain consistent with the previous year.
Robertson said that during the budget development process, staff strived to determine commissioner and citizen expectations for quality of services and to budget accordingly. He said results from a recent citizen survey conducted by the City, soon to be released, showed that Parks scored well in two key categories—community communication and quality of parks and facilities—and this would reflect well on all other City services (police, fire, public works).
Commissioners thanked staff for their presentations.
Robertson said he was waiting to receive direction from the City Administrator on how to craft the annual Parks budget presentation, as all departments would use the same format in 2011. He said he would share key messages of the presentation with the commission at their regular meeting on Monday, March 28. He said the Parks presentation to the Budget Committee—scheduled for Monday, April 18, at 6:00 p.m. in Council Chambers—would be the first City departmental budget presentation of the season and he was working on the script that would be read by the Parks Commission chair.
Robertson distributed a memo to the commission updating them on the status of the Parks employee handbook. He said the commission’s March 28 deadline for a complete review and update of the handbook would not be met due to a number of extenuating circumstances but he hoped to have it ready for review at the April regular meeting.
Dials suggested changing Parks office hours from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., bringing Parks in line with other City offices. Landt suggested having Parks staff post signage on office doors and include the information on the City Web site, giving the public one or two months of advance notice.
ADJOURNMENT– By consensus, Eggers adjourned the meeting at 9:15 p.m.
Respectfully submitted, Susan Dyssegard, Ashland Parks and Recreation