Field Maintenance Priority and Budget
In January 2011 the Assembly received information about parks and recreation deferred maintenance needs. Links to the materials presented at that time are below. As a follow up to that meeting, the Parks and Recreation Department and the Public Works Department developed a budget and plans for routine and deferred maintenance to these facilities. This information is set out in summary sheets for each field which can be accessed through links on the page for each field. Some of the summary information can be found through the links below for the February agenda materials. The links below provide copies of documents relating to the Parks and Recreation identified maintenance needs; the Public Works Department identified maintenance needs; the list of planned maintenance projects for which money was appropriated in 2011; and the current status of those projects.
Subsequently, in the 2011-2012 budget the Public Works Department budgeted $145,000 for the specific maintenance items listed for Dudley field, funds for improvements and maintenance at Walker Field, and certain other parks maintenace items. The total budgeted for the fields capital improvement work was $235,000. The Assembly added an additional $200,000 through the budget process. A link to the final budget detail is provided below. You may notice that the 2011 budget includes $192,000 for capital improvements parks. This number corresponds with the $192,000 for parks improvements at Grant Street Park and other parks in the February 7, 2011 materials. There is also a specific item with $150,000 for the Skate Park project.
In June the Public Works Department indicated its intended use of the additional $200,000. See the June 6, 2011 agenda link below. Some of these improvements have been accomplished, like the Walker Field announcer's booth and some reparis to the grand stands, while others, such as replacing the restrooms at Dudley Field, proved to be more than the amount budgeted when bids were obtained. Of this money, about $35,000 has been spent. The balance that has been appropriated and not yet expended is approximately $400,000, of which $145,000 was intended for the specific items identified at Dudley Field.
The method of operation up until this point has been to look to using money from the Borough’s parks and recreation capital funds (which is made from proceeds from the ½ percent sales tax for parks and recreations capital improvements). These funds represent 100% local sales tax money. Additionally, they are limited in that the bulk of these funds are required for debt service on the swimming pool bonds. After the bond payments the projected balance available for parks and recreation capital projects is expected to be about $ 100,000 to $150,000 per year for the next 5-10 years.
Another option with respect to the school athletic fields is to use the State School Construction Financing program. This program allows communities to bond for improvements for schools, and has the benefit of the State covering a portion of the debt service. In the case of the Borough, this is currently at 70% State funding and 30% local funding for the debt service. By way of example, the Borough could spend $300,000 of its local parks and recreations CIP sales tax money to construct $300,000 worth of major maintenance improvements to these facilities, or it could elect to issue bonds for the improvements as school improvements and spend $300,000 in local funds and $ 700,000 in state funds to construct $1 million in major maintenance improvements. Clearly we can get more for our money by leveraging the funds with the state school facilities funding program.
The State School Construction Bond Financing Program will not fund fields for only extra curricular activities or community use, and the improvements funded in this manner will need to be related to the School curriculum use (i.e. they must actually be used by the physical education classes as part of their curriculum.)