South Whidbey Parks district anticipates $19,000 revenue boost

Parks programs could see nearly $19,000 in additional funding next year.

The South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District is in the process of crafting its 2014 budget, and the initial draft has an uptick in revenue and expenses for administration, maintenance and programs.

Parks commissioners will look at the draft budget at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8 at the parks headquarters at 5472 Maxwelton Road in Langley.

Overall, Parks Director Doug Coutts said he hopes the budget can maintain service at its current level after a nearly $20,000 cut to the maintenance coffers in 2013.

“We’ve cut down pretty much as much as we can and maintain the parks at the current level,” Coutts said. “We’re trying to be responsible stewards of the community’s tax dollars.”

Commissioner Don Wood, who is also president of the board, added, “From my perspective, it looks pretty good. We’ll be able to do most of the things we want.”

Program expenses are estimated to increase nearly $19,000 in 2014. Those expenses include camps, clinics, classes and events put on by the parks district — everything from archery and sailing to model rockets and basketball. Parks program revenue was estimated to spike from about $138,000 to $152,800, which isn’t unheard of on South Whidbey. In 2012, the district’s program revenue brought in $155,093, almost $14,000 over what was projected. That means most of the successful programs will return, while some of those less attended will be replaced.

“We’re trying to challenge ourselves to reach higher numbers and do more programming and get more people involved,” Coutts said.

Maintenance expenses will increase slightly, about $11,000, though most of that will be for equipment. In general, the additional funding will replace some of the nearly $20,000 lost in 2013 when parks levy revenue took a major dip. One large expense was recently finished — the new maintenance building in Community Park where the district’s equipment is housed.

In recent years, maintenance staff was burdened with more property and less funding. The small increase, Coutts and Wood said, will help the district stay on top of the Sports Complex, Community Park, Trustland Trails and the three South Whidbey lakes — Deer, Lone and Goss -—in Parks’ care.

Administration costs will increase nearly $50,000 because for three months in 2013, the district operated without a director. The district will also have to cover election costs for the three upcoming commissioner races, which will not be billed until 2014. The district’s maintenance and operations levy election is also tentatively planned for early 2014.

South Whidbey Parks taxpayers are not likely to see an increase in its parks levy.

“Our goal is to keep it at 15 cents per $1000, that was the recommendation of the staff and the board,” said Wood, a commissioner for the past seven years. “We’ve been a district for 30 years, and it’s been 15 cents per thousand since I’ve been on the board.”


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