Park Commission Supports FY 2013 Budget

At its April 17, 2012 meeting, the Ann Arbor park advisory commission unanimously approved two resolutions related to the city’s fiscal year 2013 budget, the year beginning July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013. It’s the second year of a two-year budget planning cycle. PAC had previously recommended approval of budgets for both years at its April 2011 meeting. The parks budget is part of the city’s overall budget, which city administrator Steve Powers presented at the April 16 meeting of the Ann Arbor city council.

The portion of the city budget relating to parks can be separated into two parts: (1) park operations; and (2) parks and recreation.

On Tuesday, PAC recommended approval of the FY 2013 parks operations budget, which includes the following proposed changes: (1) increasing the frequency of the mowing cycle from every 19 days to every 14 days; (2) increasing seasonal staffing between April 15–October 15 to maintain active recreation areas better; (3) establishing three seasonal park steward/supervisor positions to improve park maintenance and enforcement; and (4) increasing seasonal staffing at the ice arenas to improve facility cleanliness.

In a separate resolution, PAC recommended approval of the FY 2013 parks and recreation budget. The resolution commended parks staff for its work, and made several general recommendations: (1) reduce energy expense to reflect the benefit of infrastructure energy improvements at recreational facilities, including Cobblestone Farm and Mack Pool; (2) reduce materials and supplies used to maintain various facilities as a result of recent improvements; (3) reduce water usage expense to reflect actual usage better; (4) eliminate unnecessary software installations where appropriate; (5) increase revenue by initiating additional programming at the Argo Cascades; and (6) increasing revenue by increasing fees for admission to swimming pools.

Most of these changes have already been implemented, as part of the current year’s budget. Colin Smith, the city’s parks and rec manager, reminded commissioners that there will be no increase in budgeted expenses. These changes will be made within the budget plan that was discussed last year for FY 2013, when the FY 2012 budget was formally adopted. The city of Ann Arbor adopts budgets annually, but uses a two-year planning cycle.

This brief was filed from the second floor city council chambers at city hall, 301 E. Huron, where PAC holds its meetings. A more detailed report will follow: [link]