Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District's proposed $3 million budget for 2020-21 comes with many caveats.
Be prepared for every scenario, Skyler Archibald, the district's executive director, told board members during its Tuesday budget session.
With a likely decrease in revenue because of closed services due to the coronavirus, the district will freeze employee wages and there will be less expenses for administration, the pool, recreation and the community and youth centers.
The district laid off 50 of 57 employees in March because of coronavirus. The district lost between $100,000 to $120,000 in revenue since the facilities were closed in March because of Gov. Kate Brown's executive order and could continue to bleed $100,000 monthly during the shutdown.
“We are predicting a decrease in our ability to generate revenue, particularly for the first and second quarters of the fiscal year,” Archibald said. “There’s a lot of concern. We don’t have any revenue coming in. The majority of our operations are funded by the residents of the district through their taxes. That’s pretty stable for this fiscal year and moving forward for the short term, but after that period, and given our inability to generate revenue, we’re taking a really cautious approach.”
More than 50% of revenue comes from taxpayers amounting to around $1.76 million. Additional revenue comes from program fees, timber taxes, donations and special events.
The pandemic comes at a period when the district had the “most well-funded budget to date,” Archibald said, as property values continued to grow within district boundaries.
“The district is in good shape,” Archibald said. “We’re still able to invest in infrastructure and capital expenses.”
“Essentially we had the budget down about the middle of February, to have it be able to be presented with small adjustments as we saw fit,” Archibald said. “Then in the middle of March, life changed and things got a lot different, we essentially scrapped that budget and presented the budget here today.”
Personnel expenses stand at $1,829,474 in the General Fund, which includes money for administrative, aquatic, the youth and community centers, recreation and special events funding.
The Sunset Pool, which operates at a cost of just over $1 million, is the district's most expensive facility.
“We’re taking a cautious approach but a hopeful one,” budget committee chairman Ronald Bline said. “But as things come back in this town, as we build slowly, this pool is going to be an important component as long as people are assured that it’s going to be a safe experience, it’s going to be an important contribution to us feeling about everything.”
Employees will not receive cost-of-living increases in addition to frozen wages. Travel and training will also be curtailed or prohibited, Archibald said.
“We try to be prepared for every scenario, unfortunately we have to present a budget. If we have to adjust as we go on, we’ll adjust, we’ll do a supplemental budget, we’ll look at other things to make sure we’re accounting for other things are happening,” Archibald said.