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Princeton Park District reviews budget

PRINCETON – The Princeton Park District is right on track when it comes to the current fiscal year’s budget.

At this week’s meeting, the Princeton Park Board reviewed several pieces of financial information as presented by administrative assistant Tammy Lange in the absence of Elaine Russell, executive director. The park district is right on track on both the expense and revenue side of the budget for the current fiscal year, Lange said.

According to a budget comparison with previous fiscal years, the park district had a cash balance of $974,091 in December 2007, with that number rising to about $1.3 million for the past couple years.

On Tuesday, Russell said the difference between those fiscal year numbers can be attributed to the amount of bonds issued by the district, to how taxes increased and then fell some during that time period, and also to the district working hard to increase revenue.

Concerning the six-month financial review for the current fiscal year, Russell said the district is below its budgeted expenditures and is equal with its estimated revenues. However, the district does have the paving of the Metro Center parking lot and equipment purchases yet to handle in this fiscal year’s budget.

Though the park district has gone past its “lean budget” of the 2012-13 fiscal year and into a “moving forward” budget for the current 2013-14 year, the district will still have to watch its money very carefully, Russell said.

“The park district will have to be very frugal with its money. And, not loading a budget with more than it can realistically pay for, is the key,” Russell said. “Having the ability to maintain our current parks, buildings, parking lots and the Metro Center will take constant capital improvement management that we must stick to as a team. What the park district has done over the past few years is to increase our cash in the bank, not an easy thing to do with so much to manage. However, the board and staff has done that by saying no to our wants and yes to our needs.”

In other business at Monday’s meeting, Lange gave an update on the April 27 Conquer the Hill half-marathon, the second annual half-marathon sponsored by the Princeton Park District/Metro Center.

Lange told the park board she and Interim Recreation Director Beth Weger met recently with John Steele, Bob Rehn and Randy Comba, officers of the Starved Rock Runners Club, to discuss the upcoming half-marathon. The club representatives offered a variety of suggestions about promotion and publicity, traffic control, health and safety issues, volunteers, and online registration. The suggestions were all taken into consideration.

The half-marathon is a good way to promote health and fitness to the Princeton community as well as surrounding communities and areas, Lange said Tuesday. The event is not a big fundraising event at this time but will hopefully grow into that as participation increases. Approximately 100 runners participated in the first half-marathon, which was a great number for the first year, she said.

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