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GBRC Board approves proposed 2020-2021 budget
Budget outlook optimistic despite light COVID-19 revenue losses
DIY Art Class
A GBRC staff member assists participants at a “DIY Art Studio” class for ages 6-12 at the Carl Soden Recreation Center Wednesday afternoon. The GBRC board approved its budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year Monday, and Executive Director Diann Henderson said she is optimistic opportunities for more classes and programs will increase in the coming fiscal year.

Despite recent revenue losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the outlook was positive as the Great Bend Recreation Commission board approved its 2020-2021 proposed budget at the board’s regular meeting Monday afternoon.

The total budget approved by the GBRC board includes projected expenditures of $4,135,043, which includes $3,650,897 for GBRC’s general fund and $484,146 for the Employee Benefit-Insurance funds. These two funds, according to GBRC Executive Director Diann Henderson, cover employee insurances, personnel, contractual services, commodities and supplies and capital outlay. It also includes budget carryover amounts and contingency funds.   

According Henderson, the approved budget reflects an estimated reduction of 2-4% of available funding from tax and program revenue appropriations due to COVID-19. 

GBRC has opted to keep its mill levy constant, though, despite a projected slight drop in property valuation, which is estimated to bring in $155,811 per mill for 2020-2021. The board approved at 7.0 mill levy to its general fund, as well as a 1.5 mill levy to its employee benefit-insurance fund. 

“The Recreation Commission is in good financial shape,” Henderson said. “(GBRC) will utilize their cash reserves to maintain their current mill levy to offset these estimated reductions of revenue for the upcoming budget year.”

The budget for the upcoming year includes provisions for nine full-time administrative staff and 167 seasonal part-time staff, all of whom are certified through the Kansas Recreation & Park Association and National Recreation and Park Association.

Instead of losing programs or staff, Henderson said, the pandemic environment has actually created new opportunities to increase programming and staffing as additional means have opened up to present GBRC programming.

In the budget presentation, Henderson outlined the goals and objectives GBRC hopes to achieve with 2020-2021 budget. Those goals are outlined in GBRC’s 2020-2021 Strategic Plan, which was approved by the board at previous meetings, and is available for public viewing on the GBRC website, 

She also offered board members a statistical look at what GBRC accomplished in the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

Party in the Park

Henderson advised the board GBRC staff have decided to move forward with hosting both the Oozefest Mud Volleyball Tournament and Kite Festival as part of the City of Great Bend’s Party in the Park at Veterans Park Saturday, Aug. 8.

One significant change Henderson noted, though, is a tightened registration timeline for the volleyball tournament.

Instead of allowing later registrations as in past years, Henderson advised the board the registration deadline for the volleyball tournament will be Sunday, July 26. The changes was made to allow the city additional time to plan and prepare due to additional safety and sanitization protocols that will be put in place for this year’s tournament. Henderson said additional safety and social-distancing measures would be put into place this year to ensure the tournament could be held safely.

Enrichment and Activity Center Director Garet Fitzpatrick advised the board after some initial uncertainty as to whether the event would be held, GBRC finalized the contract last week with Great American Kites in Polo, Missouri, to once again host the Kite Festival this year. He expressed hope weather will cooperate to create a successful event this year.

Other business

• Assistant Superintendent Chris Umphres reported Great Bend played host several successful youth sports tournaments in June with several surrounding states reopening later than Kansas. Between June 6 and July 12, The Rec hosted four tournaments which brought a total of 151 teams to Great Bend.

“Teams are out there playing, which is a good sign and hopefully we can keep that up,” Umphres said.

• Enrichment & Aquatic Director Megan Hammeke said Special Needs programs restarted in July, after no programs were held in June, as area agencies began to allow clients to attend programs at the Rec with the increased cleaning and sanitization procedures in place at GBRC facilities. She also indicated with the Senior Center reopening, they were hopeful to begin the Stop N Learn sessions again in July, and to start up senior craft classes in August.

“We’re excited to be back,” Hammeke said. “We’re working back to somewhat of a new normal.”

• In his report on June leisure activities, Fitzpatrick commended his staff on the outstanding job they have done putting on programs with the increased cleaning, disinfecting and social distancing measures which have been put in place for those programs. While most activities have fewer participants due to those measures, he said, he feels like those programs have been going well. With the later start, he said, most programs would be running a little longer this year, ending in early August instead of at the end of July.

• The board approved a Letter of Agreement from Kansas High School Activities Association (KSHSAA), along with the City of Great Bend and USD 428, to cohost the 2021 2A-1A State Baseball Tournament tentatively scheduled for May 27-28, 2021, at the Great Bend Sports Complex.

• The board voted to approve appointments and designations from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 with no changes from prior years. These included: GBRC Treasurer, Vandy Simpson; Signatures on warrants and warrant checks: Vandy Simpson, GBRC Treasurer and Diann Henderson-GBRC Executive Director; KPERS Representative, Diann Henderson, Designated Agent; Simpson and Umphres, Additional Signers.

The Great Bend Tribune was once again designated as the GBRC’s official newspaper for publication purposes.