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DeKalb Park Board tweaks accounting practices

Published: Monday, July 14, 2014 10:45 p.m. CDT

DeKALB – After reviewing the DeKalb Park District's accounting practices, park commissioners decided money for Hopkins Pool and the district's golf courses will be handled similar to the rest of the entity's finances.

Both the pool and the golf funds will switch from enterprise to special recreation funds. While the change won't affect operations, it will make paying for large building and equipment expenses simpler, officials said.

The district has operated Hopkins Pool, as well as the district's golf operations at River Heights Golf Course and Buena Vista Golf Course, out of enterprise funds separate from the rest of district operations for more than 20 years. Under an enterprise fund, the user fees for the amenity pay for its operations.

Enterprise funds also require the district to measure depreciation, meaning the costs for capital purchases are spread out over the life of those expenses. For example, a purchase that costs $50,000 that had a life of five years would be accounted for as a $10,000 expense for five years.

There's no legal requirement for the park district to operate those funds as enterprise funds.

“The reason you would separate out an enterprise fund and have separate financial statements for it is so you could make management decisions on how you're running that business as separate from your tax-supported endeavors,” said Lisa Small, superintendent of finance.

Historically, the user fees for Hopkins and the golf courses have not been enough to support expenses. A financial report from February 2013 shows the golf course fund's revenues were nearly $82,000 less than expenses. Hopkins Pool ran a $38,000 deficit in 2013.

“Those shortfalls are depreciation, not operations,” Executive Director Jason Mangum said.

Mangum said while many park districts have enterprise funds, others run similar amenities out of special recreation funds where depreciation isn't a factor. The district will still move money from the general fund to support capital expenditures, but that will be treated as a transfer rather than a loan, he said.

Officials will still expect user fees from Hopkins and the golf courses to support operations, but paying for capital projects will be streamlined.

“This is a truer representation of how we're operating those facilities,” Mangum said.

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