Parks and rec agency sees positive year

WOODSTOCK – Shenandoah County’s Parks and Recreation Department generated money through its activities last year.

Director Jered Hoover presented a report to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday that highlighted the department’s successes in the past fiscal year as well as into the current budget cycle.

The department spent $429,999 of its $473,862 operating budget for fiscal 2015. The department did not have a director for almost five months, resulting in a savings of $43,860, which remains in the county’s general fund.

The department also oversees a program budget, which Hoover identified as an enterprise fund within the department, related to the activities it holds throughout the cycle. The agency charges for participation in some activities and events. In fiscal 2015, the department collected $375,588 in revenue but spent $348,209, thus generating $27,379.

In response to a question by board Chairman David Ferguson, Hoover noted that the department remits the extra revenue generated from activities to the county rather than keep the money in the agency’s program budget.

“This year we agreed to roll it back to the county so we did not take it back to our department,” Hoover said.

“So you’re generating revenue,” Ferguson said.

“We’ve had a very good year,” Hoover replied.

“You’re not taking money out of the general fund; you’re actually putting money back in the general fund that wasn’t there to start with,” Ferguson said.

Vice Chairman Conrad Helsley asked Hoover why the department decided to let the extra revenue roll back to the county rather than keep the money.

“We just felt where we were at, you know, we did the budget – of course, I was not the director at the present time,” Hoover said. “We were short-staffed. We thought it was best in the current process to do it that way.

“We sat down as a committee as you know and we all agreed that was the best interest in this particular budget year to do that,” Hoover added.

In past years, the department made separate requests at the beginning of the fiscal period to the board to move extra money from the program budget from the county’s savings to the line item in the agency’s spending plan. In fiscal 2015, the department used some of the extra revenue to complete repairs to a basketball court at the County Park. The supervisors must take action to transfer those funds at the department’s request.

Ferguson noted that the goal of an enterprise fund is to break even in order maintain the price of the programs. Ferguson said it’s not the department’s intent to make more money from programs than it spends. Hoover concurred.

The department added programs during the fiscal year that were not anticipated, Hoover said. Many of the department’s program met the maximum number of participants.

The agency also saw a 24 percent increase in the number of children who registered for its summer camps this year compared to 2014, Hoover said. The director noted that three staff members coordinate the camps. Almost 1,300 people registered for all summer programs through the department’s brochure, he added.

The department also hosts activities in the Charter House School in Edinburg. The number of reservations to use space in the school and the revenue generated by those activities continues to increase. The department collected $1,589 in fiscal 2013, $4,363 in fiscal 2014 and $5,657 in fiscal 2015, Hoover reported. The increased revenue comes largely from events such as birthdays that the department holds at the school, the director said in response to a question from Ferguson.

Hoover also reported on the use of the county park that served as host for several events this summer. Upcoming events include the dedication of the Alms House site on Sept. 27. The department also plans to host more than 80 activities this fall through Nov. 30.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com