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DeKalb park board approves ‘tough budget’

ADA improvements, phone system included in $7.5M deal

DeKALB – The DeKalb Park Board unanimously approved a $7.3 million budget for the fiscal year ending in 2015 during their meeting Thursday night.

In the fiscal year that started March 1 and runs through Feb. 28, 2015, the park district is slated to receive $7,081,451 in revenue and spend $7,315,324. The district will carry over funds saved during the previous fiscal year to cover the $230,000 shortfall.

The district should have $3.4 million in fund balances at the end of the fiscal year.

The budget is based on the assumption the district won’t see any growth in its tax base and with the pay-off date for the bonds for the Sports and Recreation Center in 2019 in mind.

“It’s a tough budget,” Commissioner Per Faivre said. “I don’t feel like any department feels like it got enough money. We just have to hope the economy gets better.”

Bigger projects during the current fiscal year include $240,000 in Americans with Disabilities Act improvements across facilities; $235,000 on trucks, lawn mowers and lawn grooming tools; $125,000 on building maintenance; $136,000 in paving projects and $75,000 on playgrounds. District officials also plan to spend $35,000 to replace the park district’s phone system, an expenditure Faivre briefly questioned.

Assistant Director Lisa Small explained the district’s Panasonic phone system was bought in the 1990s and has garnered several complaints.

“We’ve had complaints about it actually. It’s hard to navigate through, you’re on hold forever waiting to get through,” she said. “It’s a very old system.”

The projected revenues and expenditures are $200,000 and $300,000 less than last fiscal year, respectively. Small said the reduction was because of a grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources the district had the past fiscal year.

Interim Executive Director Ray Ochromowicz said although he wasn’t involved in the budget process, he had input once it was completed.

“I have challenged the staff to perform 10 percent better than where we’re at,” Ochromowicz said.

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