Parks and Rec impacted by leaner city, county budgets

Published 8:21 am Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Danville-Boyle County Parks and Recreation department is anticipating a leaner year with potential changes coming to the subsidies the department gets from the Danville City Commission and the Boyle County Fiscal Court.

“We’re getting all these warning signs from both governments that subsidy may not be close to the same. The county actually sent us a letter in July or August of last year to prepare for budget cuts,” said Parks and Rec Director John Drake during Wednesday’s meeting.

Drake cited a recent article in The Advocate-Messenger which laid out how much more the city government is going to have to pay in retirement costs due to the ongoing pension crisis.

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“In saying that, we need to have good weather this summer (so) we can increase our revenues (from) travel events. We have a meeting scheduled with tourism in the next month to 45 days,” Drake said, explaining that he hoped that conversation would lead to ways to increase revenues.

Drake said the budget for the upcoming year is usually determined based on the previous year. So far, no huge expenses are anticipated, beyond what has already been budgeted for.

In fact, he said, the Parks and Rec department has seen some savings in utilities.

“Utilities were down $7,000 last year,” Drake said. “All the bills are paid, to date, and there’s no overlap … With new LED lighting and heat, we’re looking at several, I hate to use the word thousand, but a significant reduction there. Those are plusses.”

In other business

• The board heard about the basketball and cheerleading programs that started in December. A few of the games had been rescheduled due to weather, while some practices had to be canceled. In the future, Drake said, they were going to have to probably figure out more facilities, as some of the schools’ gyms go offline during their construction and renovation plans. He said many of the gyms are also full because more schools are hosting their own after-school programs.

“The real need in our community is a multi-purpose gym,” Drake said.

• The board set the next Parks and Rec Board meeting for 4:15 on Feb. 21 at Danville City Hall.