Park board facing funding issues heading into summer season

Posted March 1, 2012 at 5:33 pm

In what was to have been the Clinton County Rec/Park Board’s initial meeting of 2012 again turned out to be discussion only, as the on-going problem of not having enough members to attend to constitute a quorum again took place last Thursday night at Mountain View Park.

Although six members were in attendance, a total of seven was needed to have enough to officially conduct a meeting with action being taken. Those in attendance, other than Park Director Bobby Reneau, were Board Chairman Chris Lovelace and members Vince Ostertag, Carol Parrigin, Becky Means, Leland Hicks and Randy Speck.

Even though no official votes could be taken, the board reviewed the treasurer’s report submitted by Ostertag, and that report led to some serious discussion about the board’s current financial situation, as well as looking for ways to even keep the park open as its peak season begins–at least until spring when revenues from concessions and so forth begin coming in.

The treasurer’s report showed a bleak amount of just over $600, not counting some pending bills that would take that to just over $500.00.

Board members noted that the price of everything, from fuel to food, has gone up and there may be a necessity to raise concession stand prices to help offset some of the expenses. Concession prices have basically remained unchanged over the past few years.

The park board operates solely with assistance from the city, county and school board, with financial donations from the government entities, the city and county. Also, the board has one major fundraiser each year, that being the U.S. 127 Yard Sale. However, no funds during the fiscal year, which began last July 1, has come from the county thus far, as that governing body is still searching for ways to break even.

The city and county apparently budgeted $10,000 in last year’s budgets to help fund the park and as of last week, the city had given one-half of their budgeted amount. To make matters even more bleak this year, fears are that moving Hwy. 127 off the park’s roadway and onto the new bypass will curtail the number of booths rented and lessen the amount of revenue usually raised during the summer event. And, last year, the number of Little League participants was down from years past, meaning less overall revenues gained from concession sales.

At one point during the conversation, board chairman Lovelace noted at this point, there were two possibilities, either move forward if the money budgeted is there, or get revenue some place between now and the start of the spring season next month, or have a plan in place if the money budgeted last year isn’t received.

Reneau said “I’ll do everything I can to keep the lights on,” but added that if the bills couldn’t get paid, he would need permission (from the board) to go to RECC and the city and have the lights and water shut off.

With the current funds on hand and monthly bills such as electric and other utilities, as well as the cost of stocking the concession stand for the softball and baseball seasons, Lovelace noted that without more revenue, the board wouldn’t be able to pay next month’s bills. “We have to get into the Little League season somehow,” he added.

Lovelace also inferred that without funding from either one of the three entities that help the park board, it probably couldn’t operate throughout a calendar year.

Means, a Little League board member as well, noted that the league itself was financially sound right now, but told the other board members that the program will not be sanctioned under the Little League banner this year, due primarily to the high cost of membership and insurance.

Means said there was a possibility of getting into the Cal Ripken league and getting insurance privately and went on to say there had only been one Little League meeting so far and there are currently no officers for the year elected.

Means also mentioned the constant problem with enough members not coming to meetings to take official action and said those who are on the board and not attending should be notified.

Meanwhile, Lovelace said all the board could do now was take it day-by-day and hope that some funding comes in to get the board and park through to the spring season, when they can begin producing some of their own revenue.

The next regular meeting of the park board is scheduled for March 29 at 6 p.m. at Mt. View Park.