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Board reviews budget, projects

Russell: ‘Weathered our worst storm’

PRINCETON — The worst of the financial storm is hopefully over for the Princeton Park District.

On Tuesday, Elaine Russell, park district executive director, reviewed the 2014-15 fiscal year budget, which was presented, in part, to the Princeton Park Board at Monday’s meeting at the Bureau County Metro Center. Once the district audit is completed in August, she will adjust the tentative budget as needed and ask the board for final approval for the budget in September.

“Rarely can we loosen our belt, when it comes to the budget, however, I think we have weathered our worst storm and realized when we needed to tighten our belts in order to maintain financial consistency for our future,” Russell said.

The Princeton Park District has a total of 11 funds within its budget, with three of those funds, the Corporate, Recreation and Enterprise/Metro Center funds, considered working funds. From the Corporate Fund, expenses include park maintenance, motorized equipment purchases and capital improvements such as parking lots, building improvements and lighting. Revenue for the fund comes from property taxes, bond proceeds, foundation and trust contributions, park shelter reservations, field facility allocations along with grants and donations. The average annual Corporate Fund revenues are $900,000 with approximate expenditures of $800,000, she said.

The Recreation Fund handles summer programming and operations of Alexander Pool.  Revenues for that fund come from property taxes, youth and adult recreation registration fees and pool receipts. The average Recreation Fund revenues are $150,000 with expenses averaging $120,000.

The Enterprise/Metro Center Fund is equal in activity to the Corporate Fund, Russell said. Revenues are generated by membership fees, bond proceeds, fitness classes, nursery fees, rentals, court/locker fees, Shoemake Foundation and other donations, along with transfer of funds from the Recreation Fund. The Metro Center revenues average $850,000 annually, with expenses exceeding $900,000. The greater expense than revenue is why transfers from other funds and bond revenues are required to support this fund.

The other funds in the park district budget which receive only property tax revenue are the Workers Compensation, Liability Insurance, Retirement, Social Security Fund, Unemployment Tax, Paving and Lighting and Audit Funds. The General Obligation Bond Fund is supported by the sale of bonds.

In coming weeks, the park board will see the Enterprise/ Metro Center Fund along with a complete tentative budget to approve, so the park district can start the new 2014-15 fiscal year with a working budget.

In other business at Monday’s meeting, the park board heard In-house work continues on the removal of the old sidewalk and entrance into the Metro Center. The project includes widening the sidewalk coming in from the east, replacing the handicap ramp from the parking lot and adding a handicap ramp at the canopy entrance

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