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Park District approves multi-million dollar budget

PRINCETON — The Princeton Park District is looking financially secure for the moment, but there’s always a concern for the future, according to executive director Elaine Russell.

At Monday’s meeting, the Princeton Park Board approved its 2014-15 fiscal year budget which shows estimated revenue of about $3.1 million, including beginning cash-on-hand from the 2013-14 fiscal year. Total estimated expenses are projected at $3 million.

The 2014-15 budget includes the purchase of a new park truck, continued repair of the Metro Center parking lot, a new air conditioning unit for the main level of the Metro Center, electronic upgrade to the ventilation system in the Metro Center pool, and various other park and facility maintenance.

On Tuesday, Russell said the park district has a relatively simple routine when it comes to building and living within a yearly budget. She has a group of fellow employees who felt the impact of the financial downturn in 2008 and has worked with her and the board to create a revenue/expense system that has worked well for the district, the executive director said.

“What I always strive for when working on the budget is financial security. Can I confidently say the park district has financial security? Yes, for the moment,” Russell said. “Am I concerned about our future? Of course, we all should be concerned about our future because we have no idea what might present itself that could be extremely costly and not in the budget. Am I pleased (with the new budget)? Extremely.”

In other business at Monday’s meeting, Russell reviewed the Alexander Park outdoor swimming pool financials for the current season.

The summer of 2014 has not exactly been the best outdoor pool season, Russell told the park board. However, there are two sides to be considered. Because of the poor weather conditions, salaries were reduced slightly and, most importantly, less chemicals were required to maintain cleanliness in the pool, she said.

“Putting it into dollars and cents, Alexander Park Pool is not a money-maker but a family recreation facility the park district provides our public,” Russell said Tuesday. “Expenses exceed revenues approximately $40,000 each year but this is anticipated and worked into the yearly budget.”

The Alexander Park pool is now operating on reduced hours, opening from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays, Russell said. Wednesday evenings, the pool will remain open until 8:30 p.m. Weekend hours will be 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Weather permitting, the outdoor pool will be open Labor Day and close for the season the next day.

In still other business at Monday’s meeting, the board discussed recent memorial gifts in honor of the late Dick Nelson, past park board president who recently died.

The Princeton Park District was honored that Nelson’s family chose the park district as beneficiaries for donations, Russell said Tuesday. To date, more than $4,000 has been received in Nelson’s name and she continues to receive phone calls in regards to the Living Tree Memorial project, as well as other memorial projects at the park district, she said.

“A meeting of the Princeton Park District Foundation is currently being scheduled so we can discuss how to best remember all Dick has done for us from being park board president to backing the building of the Bureau County Metro Center,” Russell said.

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