Vashon Park District to vote on a tight 2014 budget

The Vashon Park District will vote on its 2014 budget at its board meeting next week. The public is invited to attend.

The budget is slightly more than $1 million, according to Elaine Ott, who manages the district and has been preparing the budget with commissioners this fall. Notable in the budget, she said, is that the district is moving toward contracting out a sizable portion of its maintenance and relying on seasonal workers during peak times.

“That is a big change from prior years,” she said.

The district also needs to determine how much it will have to spend to complete the clearing and grading permit at the VES Fields, she noted. That work must be finished by 2015.

Reached on Monday, commissioner Lu-Ann Branch characterized the budget as tight overall. She added that she is unhappy with the district’s financial condition, but she believes finishing the work at the fields is necessary.

“It’s important to bite the bullet and push through,” she said.

As of the last park board meeting, commissioners did not have firm numbers on what it will cost to complete the work at the fields, though estimates are that it will be more than  $100,000.

Branch noted she would prefer firmer figures before voting, but if necessary, she said, the new board can change the budget as it moves ahead.

“Thinking might change with new board members,” she added.

The most recent draft of the budget Ott brought to the board for discussion included nearly $782,000 for district administration, approximately $307,000 for maintenance, $21,000 for the Vashon Pool, $8,000 for programming and slightly more than $100,000 to complete the work at the VES fields.

In other park district news, Scott Harvey, a new board member, was seated Nov. 26. John Hopkins had served in that position, but because he was originally appointed to the board to fill an unexpired term, his tenure ended with the certification of the election. Doug Ostrom, who also won a seat on the board, will begin his term in January.

The meeting will be at 7:45 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10, at Ober Park.

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