County Issues Summary of Details For Request For Supplemental Appropriation For Parks and Rec
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 20, 2017
ELKTON, MD -- Stemming from discussions after yesterday's Council work session, a summary of details in regards to the Resolution No. 58-2017 Supplemental Appropriation - Parks and Recreation - Former Bittersweet Golf Course and the County Executive’s request to give additional expenditure authority to the Department of Parks & Recreation in the amount of $138,000 is as follows:
- The acquisition of the former Bittersweet Golf Course to serve as park property to the citizens of Cecil County will be purchased utilizing Project Open Space grant dollars in the amount of approximately $952,425. No County tax dollars are going to fund the purchase of the property.
- The request of the Department of Parks & Recreation for the operations and maintenance of the property is not being funded through the use of unassigned fund balance. In November, Finance came to the Council and shared the 1st quarter 2018 results with Council. During the presentation, information was provided to show real property assessments are greater than the FY2018 approved budget. Annual assessments are for the most part complete and there are only slight fluctuations in billings beyond this point in the fiscal year.
- The Administration’s goal of paying for the cost of current operations with current revenues is exemplified with this budget amendment in front of Council. The additional funds needed will be funded by the current year’s increase in the real property assessed. The increase to parks and rec is only using a portion of what is projected to be received. The Administration is not using emergency reserves to fund park operations and maintenance.
- Per Section 507(c) of the Cecil County Charter, “After July 1, the Annual Budget and Appropriation Ordinance may, upon request of the Executive, be amended by resolution approved by the affirmative vote of not less than three members of the Council. The Council may, but is not required to, hold a public hearing prior to taking action on a proposed budget amendment.”
- The national standard for park maintenance workers per acre of park land is one staff member per 24 acres. Currently the County has one park maintenance worker per 116 acres. Adding the two requested positions and acquiring the new property would bring the County to one parks maintenance worker per 88 acres.
- It should be noted the department requested two additional Parks Maintenance staff personnel in their FY2018 budget request. The County Executive supported one additional position in his proposed FY2018 budget. The deficiency of personnel has been documented and Budget has taken incremental steps to fix the issue. The purchase of additional park property now accelerates the need.
- The FY2018 Budget did not support any additional budget requirements for the operations of the park property, because it was premature. The State Board of Public Works had not yet approved the purchase and Administration was not willing to add additional expense to the budget without an approval in hand. The approval of the purchase came in October and the County has been working with the seller to agree on a settlement date (proposed for January) while calculating the costs of operations.
Once the property is purchased, the goal in FY2018 is to assure that the site is secure, properly maintained and provides safe, preliminary access to walking paths and fishing amenities to the citizens of Cecil County.
For more information, contact:
Public Information Officer