Next year’s budget for the Great Bend Recreation Commission could include 2.5 percent cost-of-living wage increases for full-time employees, upgrades to the software and an early payoff on the debt for the new Great Bend Activity Center, Director Diann Henderson told commissioners Monday.
The board held a budget workshop and approved publishing the budget for fiscal year 2012-13 this week in the Great Bend Tribune. The board also voted to hold a budget hearing at 4 p.m. Monday, July 9, at the Carl Soden Recreation Center, 1214 Stone St., during the regular monthly board meeting.
Henderson said the actual amount of revenue that will be available next year is unknown, but the published budget sets the maximum that could be spent. What is known is the mill levy, which has not changed since 1999. The Great Bend Recreation Commission receives 5.0 mills from the property owners of Great Bend Unified School District 428 for its general fund, plus another 1.0 mills for its employee benefit/insurance fund.
Pay raises for GBRC employees will cost about $8,000 next year, Henderson said. The 162 seasonal employees won’t receive the cost-of-living raise, but may move up on the salary schedule, making the average raise about 2 percent.
Henderson said valuations will be finalized by July 1. For purposes of the budget, she estimated tax revenue at $846,000, but said that estimate is probably high.
Since 1999, when the general fund mill levy increased from 4.0 to 5.0 mills, the Recreation Commission has tried to limit the amount budgeted for capital outlay to 1.0 mills, Henderson said. However, unencumbered cash that carries over may also fund capital outlay. This year she’d like the board to consider spending just over $303,000 to pay off the 10-year lease on the new Great Bend Activity Center. Payments are made to the GBRC Foundation. “The savings to us and the taxpayers would be over $79,000,” she said.
Another big capital outlay expense next year will probably be for technology. Henderson budgeted $50,000 for technology upgrades and another $35,000 for computer hardware and printers.
“Our operating systems are getting to be very dated,” Henderson said, noting servers were last replaced in 2005. Updating hardware and software could allow GBRC to offer employees direct deposit of paychecks, and electronic filing of federal and state forms.
Henderson also budget $21,000 of capital outlay money for “outdoor recreation projects.” The amount budgeted represents the sale of the former fitness facility on 17th St., which was sold after the Activity Center opened. Money in this line item could include playground equipment and a bicycle rack at the Activity Center.