Mexico City Council members recently heard the first reading of an ordinance approving the Fiscal Year 2013 annual budget and the Parks and Recreation Department is set to receive money from the general fund, plus revenue from a voter-approved dedicated parks property tax. This will allow for the purchase of tennis court lights, swimming pool enhancements, needed equipment and improvements at four of the city's parks.
"This budget reflects the city's response to our citizens, establishes expectations, sets priorities and reflects choices between what a government will and will not do. No other single document can compare to its importance or impact on our community and our organization," City Manager Bruce Slagle told board members during the Sept. 10 regular monthly meeting.
"Therefore this budget reflects well thought out, realistic, departmental budget requests that sustains most operations at close to current levels, supports progress in strategic priorities and does so with a decrease in the property tax rates."
Significant projects and/ or programs in the 2013 Parks and Recreation budget include:
• Swimming pool lift and stairs ($13,806)
• Pool house renovation ($21,500)
• Purchase of a 1/2 ton pickup truck ($20,150)
• Tennis court lights ($12,500)
• Park lighting ($10,000)
• Engineering design services contract ($38,000)
• Parks master plan and survey update ($25,000)
• Garfield Park new restroom ($42,500)
• Lakeview Park trail benches ($4,500)
• R.S. Green Park shelter floor ($12,000) and
• A.P. Green Estate Park fencing and receptacles, ($12,000)
In the last four fiscal years the park funds received fund transfers in the amounts of $375,000, $380,000, $390,000 and $465,000 respectively, with a total of $1,370,000 being transferred from the general fund and $240,000 from the Capital Improvement Sales Tax. Slagel said this was one major reason why the city supported imposition of the dedicated Park Sales Tax.
The Parks and Recreation Fund budgeted revenue for Fiscal Year 2013 equals $928,743 and expenditures equal $1,040,315. The budget reflects a reduction in the cash balance by $111,572 due to the capital outlay needs and the projects listed above that total $211,956. The ending fund balance by policy for the parks fund is recommended to be 8 percent; however, the ending fund balance for 2013 is estimated to be 10 percent. Revenue from the dedicated parks property tax and charges from user fees for parks and recreation programs are also deposited in the fund.
The new sales tax revenue dedicated for parks is estimated to bring in $451,933 in revenue to support the parks fund and will begin being collected Jan. 1, 2013. The city will then start receiving payments in March and work on the proposed projects will start thereafter.
Slagle said the passage of the sales tax "will greatly improve the financial outlook for parks" by helping fund overdue repairs and improvements within the system.
He also noted the passage will improve the city's overall financial future by significantly reducing the annual transfer from the general fund to the parks fund for daily operations.