VALPARAISO | The city's Park Board approved a 2014 budget Tuesday that included 3 percent raises for all employees.
The total proposed budget of $2.7 million is $83,062 higher than this year's. Parks Director John Seibert said almost all of that increase is to cover the planned salary increases for full-time employees. The department also wants to provide 3 percent raises for part-time workers.
The part-time pay raise will cost about $12,600, and Seibert said the department plans to pay for that by reducing its supplies budget by $10,000 and covering the rest with additional revenue expected in 2014 from programs.
In going over the monthly finances, Seibert told the board the budget balance at the end of August is up about $240,000 from a year ago to $924,109. It follows a couple of years of decreasing balances as tax caps and the overall economy reduced park income.
The balance in 2010 was $1.3 million at the end of August, and Seibert said that is the goal for next year. The year has seen a lot of positive fiscal trends to brighten the budget situation from the past couple of years.
Revenue from programs is up about $30,000, led by the youth camp program that has had a 50 percent increase in participation to 1,579, and expenses are $25,352 below what was budgeted. Golf is $60,000 ahead of 2012, with expenses $54,000 below a year ago.
The 2014 budget also will mark the first time in 15 years the city is not paying for a bond issued for improvements to several park facilities. The approximately $400,000 a year will be used starting next year by the city to fund the construction of the new Public Works Department campus.
The parks budget still must go to the City Council for final approval, which is expected in October, before the city's entire budget is submitted to the state's Department of Local Government Finance.