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At its regular meeting Wednesday night, the Board of Directors for the Livermore Area Recreation and Park District approved the preliminary operating and capital improvement budgets for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.
The operating budget is balanced at $16,412,835. The District will be able to avoid layoffs this year with the exception of the Board voting to eliminate the subsidy to operate the Valley Rock Climbing Gym program. Board members previously asked staff to prepare a report examining multiple scenarios and ultimately voted to close the rock gym as of Jan. 1, 2013. LARPD assumed public operation of the gym in January 2007. Each year the District had to operate the rock gym using a subsidy ranging from $19,868 to $45,921.
Revenues from the gym, plus cost-saving measures, have ultimately not materialized in spite of staff and volunteer efforts.
The 2012-2013 budget will allow for a one-time retention bonus for all eligible employees, based on 3 percent of an employee’s gross wages from Oct. 1, 2011, to Sept. 30, 2012, as approved at the meeting. The bonuses, which will be paid in November, will be covered by $255,000 from the fund balance designated for economic uncertainty. The purpose of this one-time bonus was to recognize employees for their continued service, despite raise freezes for the past four years. The retention bonus is possible for the District because it is not a recurring expense. The Board expressed appreciation to employees for their hard work without pay increases during the last few years.
The capital improvement budget is set at $3,870,971. The focus for the coming year will be sports field conversion to synthetic turf at in addition to multiple projects involving .
Also during the meeting, the Board approved three additional designations to the District’s unreserved fund balance to put money aside for future predictable costs. There will now be funds designated for synthetic turf replacement, for repairs and replacements at the and for fluctuations in Extended Student Services grant funding.
Directors approved fee changes for use of sports fields, which will allow for increases in 2013 and 2014. Groups regularly using fields have already been notified of potential changes in order to allow for plenty of notice. The last fee increases were in November 2009. District costs to maintain fields has increased, as well as keeping up with additional use.