Bond proceeds pump up Fraser Rec. District’s 2008 budget | SkyHiNews.com

Bond proceeds pump up Fraser Rec. District’s 2008 budget

by Stephanie Miller
Sky-Hi Daily News

The Fraser Valley Metropolitan Recreation District approved its 2008 budget Tuesday night, tightening the lid on an eventful year.

Next year may be an even bigger year as the district makes plans to break ground next spring for its Community Enhancement Projects. Despite the pending lawsuit threatening to invalidate Nov. 6 election results, the district is making tentative plans to construct the projects and has incorporated the additional mill levy into its budget.

The 4.284 mills and the 2.204 mills that were approved last month gave a substantial boost to the overall 2008 projected budget. The total non-operating revenue for the entire budget has stayed at around $600,000 in the past two years, but next year it is projected at $22 million thanks to the additional $19.5 million expected from the bond proceeds, and the additional mill levies.

That number is enough to make eyes bulge, but Executive Director Cyndy Flores assures the district has a plan for the additional revenue. The district board plans to spend $8,775,000 on construction projects for the Community Enhancement Project in 2008, which is 45 percent of the projected $19.5 million to be collected from the 4.284 mill levy. The 45 percent is based on a timeline the district must follow according to law.

“We’re still going to concentrate on providing quality programming and facilities, but we’ll be working towards getting these projects (constructed) and completed,” said Flores.

The district spent $9,000 more in 2007 on consulting fees than it had budgeted, due to extra research conducted on the Community Enhancement Projects, Flores said. Legal fees increased by $2,000, she added, due to the pending lawsuit filed against the district. But overall expenses for the 2008 budget were reduced by $13,100, Flores said, because the district will no longer require consulting fees.

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As for individual departments, the parks department exceeded its 2007 budget by roughly $6,000, because of an increase in energy costs and turf maintenance at the Fraser Valley Sports Complex. But the department expects to make up for the increase with its capital savings of $20,000 ” a savings that is a result of the 4.284 mill levy.

The additional mill levy creates funds that free up money that would have been used for capital projects in 2008, explained Flores. The extra money will also go toward the operation and maintenance fund for the recreation department, she added.

The recreation department is projected to come under budget by roughly $5,000 for 2007. Expenses are expected to go up in 2008 by $25,000, due to payroll increases and health insurance coverage for an additional full-time employee, but they are assumed to be offset by additional user fees and fundraising.

The pro shop at Pole Creek Golf Course did well this year, Flores said, exceeding its budgeted income by $45,000. The budget for 2008 is projected to have a net income of $75,000 more than 2007.

Turf maintenance at the golf course went over its 2007 budget by $120,000, due to beetle kill treatment and new restrooms. Overall expenses for the 2008 budget are projected to increase by $7,000 over the 2007 project, due to additional beetle kill treatment, improvements needed for the golf cart paths and increased merchandise purchasing. Labor is also expected to increase.

The clubhouse went over its 2007 budget by $1,600. But since no extra money was set aside for capital projects next year (due to the additional mill levies), the 2008 budget for the clubhouse is projected to have a reduced deficit of $28,000.

Flores explained that overall the golf course was about $30,000 in the red this year, but the district made up for the money in its reserve fund. It plans to replenish its reserve fund in 2008, she added.

The overall district budget in 2008 will maintain reserves at roughly $450,000. The district has set up an operation and maintenance fund in 2008 that amounts to roughly $400,000 for the proposed recreation center. That money comes from the net income from the parks and recreation department, the .257 mill levy that was approved Nov. 6, and a portion of Pole Creek Golf Course’s net income. The fund is planned to accrue until opening day of the recreation center, Flores said.

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