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COMMISSION BUDGET WORKSHOP MINUTES
March 29, 2001 at 5:30 p.m.
City Council Chambers
734 Third Street
Brentwood, CA 94513

CALL TO ORDER: 5:50 p.m.

ROLL CALL: Present were Vice Chairperson Jan Melloni, Chairperson Karen Rarey, Commissioner Lanny Brown and Commissioner Scott Shepherd. Commissioner Jeffrey Cowling absent. Commissioner Cowling later arrived at 7:10 p.m.

Others present: Sue Barry, Recreation Services Supervisor; Janet Hansen, Park Planner; Ken DeSilva, Park Manager; Mac Kaiser, Recreation Services Supervisor, Tammy Homan, Administrative Secretary; Poldina Scherff, Recreation Services Supervisor; Pam Ehler, Director of Finance and Information Systems.

AGENDA REVIEW: No changes or additions.

CITIZEN COMMENTS: None

WORKSHOP:

Pam Ehler, Director of Finance and Information Systems opened the meeting to present and discuss the budget for the Parks and Recreation Department. She was there at the request of Craig Bronzan, Director of the Parks and Recreation. Her role was to explain the process for the general budget and also for the capital improvement budget. The general budget is not done, not even far enough along to give good numbers. She brought figures on what happened during the previous year, what was budgeted this year for revenue and expenditures for the department. This is a very large budget, and she explained they are responsible for 26 lighting and landscape districts, which alone has taken approximately 3 months and should be completed next Thursday. She discussed difficulty in planning utilities since PG&E has not billed yet, and may not be able to bill them for 10 months. Discussed increased rates, and fact that amount budgeted will very likely be well under actual bill when received for pool. Budgeted $50,000, estimated now could be $100,000 or higher. Chairperson Rarey commented that they had been considering reducing fees for the pool, however in light of this information, this would probably not be feasible. Other discussion of how to reduce costs of pool. City looking at generators and other ideas to assist in the electrical problems. Ms. Ehler pointed out that one of the largest sources of revenue was the property tax which generated $312,000 last year, budgeted $384,000, and in reality ended with $401,000. It increased about 15%, will budget again next year for 15%, and the year after 15%. Also, annexed some property this year, so don’t know just how this will affect income, plus property values are going up. She believes 15% still a very safe number.

Ms. Ehler said that the Parks and Recreation Department are one of the best for staying within their budget. She further explained that by the end of April, Finance Department will hold a workshop with the City Council. There will be a public hearing so the public can discuss any of the budgets. This will be the entire city-wide budgets, then will go to first meeting in June to adopt the budget. Main thing that will be brought to this group each year will be the capital improvement budget. She then proceeded to discuss this budget with the Commissioners, going through the entire budget page by page. She explained where a negative balance had been projected last year of $1,000,000, they actually achieved a positive balance of over $800,000. This due to the overwhelming amount of building permits granted, they had projected 400 for the whole year and received 586 in one month alone. Also, fees have been raised, and 1400 permits have been pulled and these will be built. There was some discussion among the Commissioners as to what a slowing economy would do, or recession if it happened to these planned and permitted homes. Ms. Ehler said it would not affect those already permitted and would be slow in affecting this area since this is still one of the best buys in California. 

She then reported that last year it was projected that they would be 4.7 million dollars overdrawn if the pool and all projects were completed and still adopted that budget. However, with the 1,000 permits, we are going to project this year $125,000 to the good. Ms. Ehler said they have been very cautious and are keeping a sharp eye on expenditures, although aggressive building; also spending a lot, so it comes out to almost at the same level. 

She then brought them to this year and feels that some prioritizing will have to take place. Revenues expected this year of 4.5 million, with fees and with being very aggressive with builders. Expenditures project even with this income, would leave the budget 2 million dollars in the hole. This is with projection of permits being pulled this year of 825. This for 2001. Then in 2002 and 2003, with another 5 million dollars in projects (5.5) looking at 3.5 million over, and the next year 2003-2004, dropping down to 4 million in projects, but still a 3 million dollar deficit. Ending at year five, with a negative balance of 5.2. She explained that this is where you are going to have to start thinking since this amount would never be taken to the Council for approval. This is not an acceptable budget that the City Council could live with and approve. Especially if the economy does start a downturn.

At this point she took the Commissioners through each project. Commissioners asked several questions regarding figures and increases on some of the projected projects. She explained how they project these figures and basis for income. Currently projecting 21.4 million dollars in projects, these are to be looked at in this workshop to see changes could be made. Brentwood Gym, pool park, separate from skate park, discussed. Janet Hansen responded to some questions regarding pool, park and design cost changes with Commissioners. Ken DeSilva also responded to questions. 

Mayor Mike McPoland discussed some new maps and new areas being projected. All of the projects were discussed at length with the budget director, with various ways of reducing the projected budget. 

Discussion of new schools and parks being planned, what could be eliminated to bring down costs. Possibility of buying the land for parks near schools and not actually build the parks until schools were built, a suggestion of Chairperson Rarey. 

Sunset Park was then the focus of discussion, how to phase in different projects at different times. Discussion of soccer fields being put ahead to future dates. Some soccer parks will be in parks developers are planning. Soccer has promised to raise money if they can get fields for tournament play. Ms. Ehler reminded them that although a conservative budget needs to be adopted, then as they get to actual year and see that more money is coming in, you can then get something else going on these projects. Considerable discussion of Commissioners on how to reduce budget, areas to be reduced or put over to another year. (Commissioner Cowling arrived at this point.) Trails project discussed. It was reported that there are a lot of grants for trails and most are being built by developers, often to connect to get children to school. 
Discussion of new group who are located here and are assisting in writing grants for government money. They have been very successful and can bring in these funds for local projects. Commission would like to have them come in and work with them. 

Chairperson Rarey asked Ms. Ehler what the time line is on this budget, and she said they go to Council on April 11, so must have this budget ready by Thursday. Must have recommendations by tonight to complete on time. She also suggested that the Commissioners discuss projects with staff and find out what they in reality could produce, and the time lines to produce them. She indicated that what they put over now as unfunded can always be brought back later if funding is found. 

Chairperson Rarey suggested to move 1.5 million over from the Sunset Park Expansion Plan 2001-2002, and leave $330,000 to start next year, and move l.5 million over each year thereafter, but only funding l million dollars. Leave $500,000 unfunded for last three years. Clarification of this motion by Ms. Ehler. Then after workshop on April 11, will bring back to Commission the first real draft after the workshop to be the preliminary final draft. Can then be looked at and see final figures, and see what you may wish to look at for grants and other things. She will bring the next draft to them and the Commission will stay in the process. Commissioner Brown then asked if they could then move things around at that point? She said you could still move, but need to be very careful at that point because of the EIR information gets rather set. Can still make some changes, as long as bottom line numbers remain the same to throw in a negative status. Then once commissioners have looked at it again, the first meeting in May will be for the final adoption of the Council.

ADJOURNMENT:

Workshop adjourned at 7:35 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, 

Betty Jo Whincup
Minutes Recorder

City of Brentwood Park and Recreation Commission
35 Oak Street
Brentwood, CA 94513
(925) 516-5444
Fax (925)516-5445