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GBRC conducts budget work session
Rec to exceed RNR, exercise full budget authority
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With the previous fiscal year and multiple major projects in the rear view mirror, the Great Bend Recreation Commission began its look forward to further growth and improvements during its 2022-2023 budget work session Monday afternoon.

In order to achieve that continued growth, GBRC Executive Director Diann Henderson told the board the Rec Commission anticipates levying the full amount of its maximum budget authority in the coming year. In anticipation of this, the board previously approved a resolution of intent to exceed the revenue neutral rate (RNR) at its June meeting.

The RNR for the commission, or the mill rate at which it would collect the same revenue for the coming year as the previous year, would be 8.212 mills. However, the upcoming budget set for approval in August sets the mill levy at 9.75 mills, which includes 8 mills for the general fund and 1.75 mills for the employee benefit fund, the maximum budget authority (MBA) for the rec commission.

The board increased its MBA during last year’s budget process in anticipation of cost increases, including competitive wage increases for new and existing staff, and material cost increases for capital outlay projects. The board did not levy the maximum in the 2021-2022 budget year but anticipates the need to do so this year.

The goal, Henderson said, is to always budget in such a way that it is prepared for whatever contingencies might come the commission’s way.

“Each year our budget work session is to establish our maximum expenditures that we would want to expend,” Henderson said. “If the Recreation Commission would ever happen to spend every penny of everything that we have, we have to budget for it.”  

Beginning the 2022-2023 fiscal year, the GBRC had an unencumbered cash carryover of $2,204,444. This carryover is crucial, Henderson said, because the commission receives 88% of its property tax distributions between January in June, so it has to have enough carryover on June 30 to be able to operate from July through the end of the calendar year Dec. 31.

The estimated value per mill for the rec commission, according to estimated county valuations, is $169,811. Along with a small tax base in Stafford County, which generates a revenue of $3,424 per mill, the GBRC anticipates a tax revenue collection of $1,626,929. Property tax collections amount to approximately 77% of the commission’s total anticipated revenue for the coming year. The rest comes from fees for various sports, activities and facilities usage.

The official budget and RNR hearing will be held following the board’s regular meeting Monday, Aug. 22 at 4 p.m.

Approved expenses

As Henderson explained the proposed budget in detail, she drew specific attention to a couple of key budget increases for the coming year.

The budget includes a new line item for asset reserves of $25,000. The purpose of this, Henderson said, is to set aside additional funds for major capital outlay projects not covered by the commission’s insurance policy, such as previous heating system and roof replacements at the Great Bend Rec Activity Center.

However, when budgeting for capital outlay expenses, Henderson said they try to anticipate which projects they will be tackling for the coming year and budget accordingly.

One of those projects on the commission’s radar for the coming year includes possible improvements to the area on the south side of Brit Spaugh Park adjacent to 19th Street, what is being termed the Great Bend South Park project. The commission, along with the City of Great Bend, is exploring several improvements to the park.

For this project, the board also approved a $16,000 expenditure for a Master Plan Services Agreement with Professional Engineering Consultants (PEC) per Athco LLC to proceed with the design phase of potential improvements to the park. The services in the agreement include a three-month Master Plan timeline of completion; a color two-dimensional site plan rendering upon completion of the master plan; client design meetings; and any additional services specified by the rec commission. The rec commission has received a letter of support from the City of Great Bend agreeing to a half-and-half cost share agreement on this service. 

“This will give us a formal plan of development for that site for future sponsorship and development to get that project going. We want to start that first step,” Henderson said.

Henderson said the engineering survey that will be done as part of this agreement will help determine the scope of future improvements for the site. It will help determine site elevations, easements, utility and wastewater lines, all items that may dictate what types of amenities can be put in the space, and where they are able to be located. 

The board also approved a resolution for a wage increase for GBRC staff totaling $26,711. Henderson said this is in keeping with a plan approved by the board last year to gradually increase wages to bring the commission to a more competitive wage base. The increase will apply across all employee classifications.

GBRC Board Meeting at a glance

Here’s a quick look at what the Great Bend Recreation Commission board did Monday afternoon:

• Heard department reports from department heads Chris Umphres, Garet Fitzpatrick, and Megan Hammeke.

• Held a budget work session, outlining projected revenues and expenditures for the 2022-2023 budget year.

• Approved sweep cleaning services at the Great Bend Sports Complex baseball fields for $6,750 by Hellas Construction. The annual maintenance cost was previously budgeted as part of the Sports Complex cost share agreement with the City of Great Bend and USD 428.

• Approved a resolution increasing wages for GBRC staff by a total of $26,711 for the 2022-2023 budget year.

• Approved a $16,000 expenditure for a Master Plan Services Agreement with Professional Engineering Consultants (PEC) per Athco LLC to proceed with the design phase of potential improvements to the south side of Brit Spaugh Park adjacent to 19th Street.

• Approved a budget publication and revenue neutral rate hearing notice. The official budget and RNR hearing will be held following the board’s regular meeting on Monday, Aug. 22 at 4 p.m.

• Held a 20-minute executive session to discuss non-elected personnel. No action was taken following the executive session.