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First look at DeKalb Park District’s 2020 budget

January 12, 2019

DeKALB – The DeKalb Park District released the first draft of its budget for fiscal 2020 on Friday, and board President Phil Young said it’s better than it looks.

The proposed budget shows revenue of $7,207,405 (propped up in part by an increase in bond proceeds), and expenses of $7,360,797. As the numbers stand now, the district would be operating with a deficit of $153,000, which Young said has happened four out of the past five years.

“I know in the last couple of years we’ve had a deficit, but we’re not really in the red,” Young said Friday. “If you look at our monies, it’s just how we’re allocating. We’re putting this in the negative so we’re going to pay a little more in the balances.”

Thursday’s board meeting operated more like a study session, said Young, especially because commissioners Patricia Perkins and Dean Holliday were not in attendance.

Young said the golf operations, specifically, are a point of concern, as golf interest continues to decline in the county and nationwide. The Park District’s golf programming has not brought in the revenue it expected for the past few years, Young said.

The golf fund in the budget has not been on par with other revenue streams for a number of reasons, he said.

“There is a saturation of golf in this area,” Young said. “It’s not traditionally been a kind of sport that kids or young adults play. How many teenagers do you see playing golf?”

From the Park District side, golf programs are pricey to maintain, Young said. He cited the almost $600 for a season pass to play golf in the city, the long playing time and the aging population of people who would have traditionally played.

Overall, Young said it’s “a very sound budget,” and he looks forward to Thursday’s meeting, during which the board will formally kick off the 30-day budget process period, which includes a monthlong, required public exposure period, a public hearing and a final vote set for Feb. 21.

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