Champaign Park District revenue declines

The Champaign Park District, facing at least $1.8 million in lost revenue, is set to meet July 22 to discuss its budget for the upcoming year. 

The impact of the revenue loss has already hit with the district not filling some vacant positions.

Though the budget hearing is a month away, the budget is “very much a draft,” especially due to COVID-19-related changes, said to Andrea Wallace, the Champaign Park District’s business manager.

Wallace said in a June 22 email that “the last figure that was reported to the board for lost revenue due to COVID-19 was $1,800,000,” out of a budget of $24.3 million in revenue.

Part of the budget, which includes grants and the park district recently applied for a Rebuild Illinois grant. It is also in the process of applying for an Illinois Emergency Management Agency grant, but Wallace said in a phone interview Thursday that the grant has shifted to being administered federally and so the grant is more limited in scope. 

The annual budget for the district the past fiscal year was $24.8 million in revenue.

Wallace said the two grants together would have a value of $3.3 million.

“At this point, it looks like the only thing that may be eligible would be (any) overtime that we (pay) during this time, and maybe some equipment,” Wallace said.

At the board meeting on June 10, held over Zoom, Lawson said in the treasurer’s report that . within the last month’s spending was $100,000 of refunds from canceled programs. Park District events are canceled through the end of June.

The Park District also saw a decline in revenue from property taxes. Lawson said that the park district’s revenue was $3.8 million in the first installment of those taxes in 2018, which had decreased to $2.9 million in 2019. In 2020, that number rounded out to $1.25 million. 

In a phone interview on June 16, Park District Executive Director Joe DeLuce said that the Park District expects to see an increase in revenue from property taxes this year. However, DeLuce anticipates that revenue might drop if property taxes are not paid in full.

The Board also discussed recent staffing changes within the Park District. Tammy Hoggatt, Director of Human Resources, said that the park district has 73 full-time workers. Normally, the park district would have 81 full-time staffers. 

Hoggatt said in a recent phone call that the smaller staff size is due to the resignations and retirements, but the park district hasn’t hired for the empty positions due to a “loss of revenue.”

The park district currently has six part-time employees, but plans to bring back 30 part-time workers for summer camp, among other responsibilities.

The Champaign Park District also saw two retirements and three resignations within the last several months. One of the three employees who resigned left the Champaign community. 

The Board also discussed flowers. The Champaign Park District had a flower sale that generated $4,000. The Park District was set to receive another shipment of flowers in June, and  discussed how to spread the word about flower sales.

The board meeting wrapped up with a performance report. The report focused on how the park district is doing overall and included highlights about volunteers and park use. 

The report highlighted volunteers, noting that volunteer work is one of the most important aspects of the park district programming, and estimating that volunteer work was worth $215,000 (estimating that volunteer hours were worth $25.43 per hour).

The Park District board’s next meeting is scheduled for July 8 but the board is set to hold a study session before that.

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