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Park board reviews projects, expected tax money

PRINCETON — The Princeton Park Board is closing its fiscal year with some extra projects completed, thanks to the careful handling of the district's money.

At Monday's park board meeting, Elaine Russell, executive director, reviewed some of the additional projects which the district was able to complete this fiscal year, thanks to what Russell called the fiscal responsibility of the board and staff. The completed projects and maintenance work for the current fiscal year were needed to operate the park district effectively, she said.

Some of those projects included buying a new tractor and mower for $39,996; the purchase of exercise equipment, $13,743; repairing the gym wall, $7,600; buying a new Metro Center pool heater, $15,000; and sealing the cracks on the Zearing Park walk path, $31,800; as well as some lighting upgrade projects, Russell said.

In looking at a comparison with last year's financial statement at this time, Russell said the park district had cash in the bank totalling $1,100,650 in May 2012. This year, the park district ended the month of May with $1,049,907, which showed an increase in spending of $50,742 for those projects. With the more than $108,000 spent in expenditures this fiscal year, the park district is still holding firm to a positive cash flow, she said.

"This is fantastic that we have been able to do this," Russell said. "None of this would have been completed had the board and staff not taken drastic action over the past three years to re-evaluate our spending and make decisions based on needs and not wants. We should be proud of what has been accomplished."

Looking at tax revenue for the district, Russell said the park district has currently levied a total of $509,900 in taxes, but the district will only receive $483,294, which is $26,606 less than what was levied by the park district. Last year, the district lost about $40,000 in taxes due to a portion of Perry Memorial Hospital going off the tax rolls. Just because the park district levies for a certain amount of taxes each year, that's not necessarily what the park district will receive. These continuing reductions in taxes are reducing the park district's revenue sources by thousands each year, Russell said.

In an interview prior to Monday's meeting, Russell looked ahead to the coming fiscal year.

"We cannot take our eyes off of our target for the 2013-14 budget year," Russell said. "We have already made one huge decision which will have us repairing the Metro Center parking lot over the next two fiscal years. Half of the work will be done in the 2013-14 budget finishing in the 2014-15 budget. Those are the hard decisions but ones that keep our stress levels down knowing we are being fiscally responsible. "

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