By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Gainesville parks department lays out budget request as public hearings near
Placeholder Image

Gainesville budget calendar

April 14: City Manager’s budget presentation and recommendations

May 17: First public hearing on budget at City Council meeting

June 7: Second public hearing on budget and possible adoption by City Council

With property tax revenues in Gainesville up a projected 9.34 percent, the city Parks and Recreation department is looking for more than $4.5 million in the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, to support ongoing programs and expansion plans.

That would be a 2.67 percent increase year over year.

City Manager Bryan Lackey will present his budget recommendations later this month, and public hearings before the City Council are scheduled for May and June.

Thirty-seven percent of the parks department’s’ current expenses are covered through fees and charges, totaling nearly $1.7 million in all. Officials hope to raise that figure to 40 percent.

Property taxes totaling more than $2.8 million cover most of the remaining expenses.

The department also benefits from 36 sponsorships worth $22,500, and has cut its energy consumption by 11 percent year over year as part of a cost-savings plan.

An estimated 750,000 visitors use the city parks and recreational facilities each year, generating a projected $16 million in direct and indirect spending in the local economy, according to city officials.

The department manages 22 parks, 454-plus acres, 20 athletic fields, for example, and youth athletic participants total 1,500.

Officials hope to increase facility rentals by 5 percent and expand volunteer hours from 8,500 from 8,000.

In the last year, the department has added volleyball and lacrosse leagues, among others, and hopes to spend additional funding to increase youth sports leagues.

Other spending priorities include renovating park restrooms and trail improvements, computer and wireless system upgrades, adding fitness bikes, plus purchasing maintenance equipment like mowers and utility vehicles.

These operating expenses would total about $132,700.

Construction capital expenses include $920,000 for replacing the roof of the Gainesville Civic Center, as well as parking lot repairs at the location; adding an outdoor education building at the Linwood Nature Preserve; and building out a new youth sports complex.

Funding for these measures will come from reserves, impact fees and special purpose local option sales tax revenue.

Regional events