• 52°

Boyle aims to close Bunny Davis gym

Budget plan cuts funding for fitness center, Perryville Main Street

Boyle County Fiscal Court voted for strategic cuts to its next appropriations budget Tuesday, designed to force the closure of the Bunny Davis weight room area and push the City of Perryville to provide some funding for its Main Street program.

The county now plans on cutting almost $10,000 in 2018-19 funding to Main Street Perryville, a non-profit that focuses on improving the city’s downtown.

The county also plans to provide $26,400 less than requested for the operation of the Bunny Davis fitness center and adjoining public pool.

Bunny Davis cuts

At the same time it voted to cut funding for the Bunny Davis center, the fiscal court voted to increase funding for the main Danville-Boyle County Parks & Recreation budget by $19,500, from $189,000 this fiscal year to $208,500 next fiscal year.

Judge-Executive Harold McKinney said the reorganization of Parks & Rec funding could “send a clear message that we want to put our resources in Millennium Park and not in the Bunny Davis center and the pool.” Multiple magistrates agreed with that assessment during Tuesday’s budget workshop session.

Magistrate Jack Hendricks was critical of the current funding arrangement for the Bunny Davis center — the City of Danville, which owns the building, is supposed to pay 45 percent of the operating costs; and the Boyle County Fiscal Court is supposed to pay 55 percent. That arrangement needs to be re-evaluated, he said.

Bunny Davis is “a fitness center that is outdated, old equipment — I haven’t heard anybody ever say anything different than it was old equipment,” Hendricks said, adding that there are now multiple commercial fitness centers in Danville with reasonable prices.

“On top of that, the city doesn’t think too much of this particular fitness center because they’re supplementing their employees to go to another fitness center,” Hendricks said. “So why on God’s green earth would we want to supplement paying for this fitness center? It just don’t make sense to me. I think that bottom floor just needs to be shut down and save us our money.”

Magistrate Phil Sammons went further, questioning why Boyle County pays anything to keep operations at Bunny Davis going.

“The city owns this; we’re not getting anything out of it. I don’t understand why we have to be involved in it,” Sammons said. “Why are we paying anything on this is what I want to know. I don’t like any of it.”

Boyle County Treasurer Mary Conley said in addition to the fitness center, the Bunny Davis facility is where people come to sign up for Parks & Rec activities held at Millennium Park; it houses office space for Parks & Rec staff; and there are things like classes held in other rooms at the facility.

Conley and McKinney said they sat down together to look at what was requested in funding for Bunny Davis and then tried to eliminate from that figure all costs associated with continuing to operate the lower floor, where exercise equipment, weights and locker rooms are located. After eliminating funding for weight room staff, fitness equipment, fitness equipment repairs and some additional line items, they came up with a figure of $39,600. The requested budget for the fitness center is $51,700.

Conley and McKinney also came up with cuts to the requested budget for the Bunny Davis pool. Conley said those cuts were designed to eliminate any cost to Boyle County for maintenance and upkeep of the Bunny Davis facility, which the county doesn’t own. Instead, the county only wants to pay 55 percent of the day-to-day operational costs to keep the pool open.

Instead of providing the requested $24,200 for the pool, the budget approved by magistrates Tuesday provides $9,900. Conley said the biggest difference was the elimination of a line item for capital repairs of the pool.

Hendricks said he believes capital improvements at Bunny Davis were never meant to be part of the original 55/45-split agreement between the city and the county.

McKinney said, “Nobody would rather be out of the pool business than me — except we have a bunch of young children out there who get to eat, they get to swim, they get some supervision, they get some things that they would not get anywhere else. It’s worth the $9,900 to me for that program to go forward … there is nothing else in this community that fits that need.”

Perryville Main Street cut

This is the first year for a new funding arrangement amongst Main Street Perryville, its fellow Main Street program, Heart of Danville, and the Danville-Boyle County Economic Development Partnership. In previous years, the EDP has received $110,000 from the Boyle County Fiscal Court and $145,000 from Danville City Commission; it then passed on $40,000 of the fiscal court’s money to Main Street Perryville and $110,000 of Danville’s money to Heart of Danville.

This year, the EDP and Main Street Perryville made separate funding requests to Boyle County, with the EDP asking for $70,000 and Main Street Perryville requesting $40,000.

McKinney’s funding proposal, which was approved by magistrates, would give the EDP its full $70,000 requested, but provide only $30,000 to Main Street Perryville.

“It’s a tough sell for me to say that we are going to fund one community over another, however, Perryville has at all times maintained a Main Street program,” McKinney said. “They seem to work very hard at that. I understand that Perryville itself has some cash that they are going to carry over. My recommendation is that we meet them three-quarters of the way — not halfway. I would recommend that we put $30,000 into Main Street Perryville, and if they want the program, they come up with the other $10,000.”

Sammons and Magistrate Patty Burke said they weren’t clear on what the funding for Main Street Perryville accomplished; Conley said the funds are earmarked for salary — they go to pay Director Vicki Goode.

Magistrate John Caywood asked for clarity whether the City of Perryville currently contributes anything to Main Street Perryville; he was told the city does not. “They should,” he said.

“The question becomes, ‘How much skin should they have in the game?’” McKinney said.

Magistrates found McKinney’s proposal of asking Perryville to contribute around $10,000 acceptable. McKinney said he would send a letter to Perryville following Tuesday’s unanimous vote, informing the city that “we want them to have some skin in the game.”

Planning & Zoning

McKinney’s funding recommendations also included $65,000 for the Danville-Boyle County Planning and Zoning Commission. That’s the same amount the county is providing this fiscal year, but $5,000 less than P&Z requested.

“I spent a fair amount of time just looking at Planning & Zoning. I think they’re doing some really good things at Planning & Zoning right now. They asked for a little more money,” McKinney said. “But when I look at what they have, they have a pretty decent carryover. … It’s not huge, but I thought we could hold them at $65,000. If you guys want to go to $70,000, I’m not going to fall on my sword about it.”

The proposed increase to $70,000 was designed to bring Boyle County closer to contributing the same amount to P&Z that Danville does — $75,000.

Hendricks said he had talked to P&Z Director Steve Hunter about keeping the county’s funding at $65,000 and Hunter was OK with it. Hendricks suggested the funding split for P&Z might be more fair if Danville had 65 percent of the cost and Boyle County had 35 percent.

“Even the city has said that 65/35 might be a better split,” Hendricks said. “Now they might not admit that now — they probably forgot it.”

The fiscal court members agreed they were fine with “leaving the door open” to provide more funding to P&Z if it becomes necessary as the fiscal year progresses.

SO YOU KNOW

The Boyle County Fiscal Court will hold a first reading of its 2018-19 budget on Thursday, May 24. At Tuesday’s budget meeting, the fiscal court tentatively approved budgets for Public Works and the Building Inspector’s Office, as well  as the county’s appropriations for government and community agencies. The funding levels approved are:

Community agencies

• Comprehensive Care — $2,000

• Nursing Home Ombudsman — $2,600

• BCTC Adult Education — $2,500

• Wilderness Trace Child Development Center — $20,000

• CASA of the Bluegrass — $3,000

• Boyle County Family Services — $19,000

• Boyle-Mercer Helping Hands — $9,000

• Danville/Boyle County Happy Feet — $1,800

• Danville-Boyle County Senior Citizens Center — $75,000

• Civil Air Patrol — $1,800

• Arts Commission of Danville/Boyle County — $2,000

• Main Street Perryville — $30,000

• Citizens Concerned for Human Relations — pay bills up to $800

• Veterans Appreciation Dinner — $600

• Human Rights Commission — pay bills up to $750

• West T. Hill Theatre — $1,000

• Community Arts Center — $15,000

• Brass Band Festival — $10,000

• Juvenile shelter expenses — $500

Government agencies

• Danville-Boyle County Airport Board — $15,000

• Danville-Boyle County Planning & Zoning — $65,000

• Danville-Boyle County Parks & Recreation — $208,500, main budget; $39,600, Bunny Davis center; $9,900, Bunny Davis pool; $50,000, Millennium Park capital improvements

• Danville-Boyle County Economic Development Partnership — $70,000