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  COVID-19 Has Severe Impact On Budget At Boardman Park  
  June 11, 2020 Edition  
     Boardman Park’s indoor rooms and open-air pavilions have been closed since mid-March due to COVID-19. Fees generated from renting these facilities represents approximately 1 per cent, or $220,000, of the park’s annual income. In addition, several of the park’s annual recreational programs have also been cancelled, (for example the Adventure Day Camp)
      Program fees represent approximately 10 per cent, or about $140,000 of the park’s income. Currently, these internal revenue streams are not generating revenue at a sufficient rate in order to meet the budget numbers by the end of the year.
      Rental income for facilities is down by 60 per cent, and program income is down by 75 per cent, resulting in approximately $200,000 of lost income, that is about 15 per cent of its annual income. This will severely impact the park’s budget. Even though the indoor rooms and open-air pavilions reopened on June 8, the lost income cannot be recovered.
      “Income generated by these internal revenue streams play an important role in stabilizing the park’s annual budget, with the understanding that Boardman Park is in its 72nd year of operating on the equivalent of a 1 mill tax levy,” Executive Director Daniel Slagle said.
      Boardman Park’s first tax levy was a 1 mill levy that was approved in 1948, and today, 72 years later the park’s budget is primarily funded by two voted levies---a three-tenths mill and sixth-tenths mill and one (1) inside millage levy of one-tenth mill. Annually, these levies generate approximately $871,000 and account for approximately 65 per cent of the park district’s annual income.
      “Unfortunately, these internal revenue streams are collapsing,” Slagle said.
      Boardman Park’s budget has been further challenged by:
       •1) A dramatic increase in attendance, which has resulted in a 40% increase in operating cost since 2009;
       •2) Reductions in local government funding from the state; specifically, the park has lost $185,000 or about 14 per cent of its budget since 2009, and due to COVID-19 the state is going to further reduce local government funding; and •3) The park’s budget has not kept up with the rate of inflation, because there is no inflation factor built-in real property tax levies.
      “Over the years, in an effort to operate within its budget, Boardman Park has implemented cost reductions, (e.g. reducing employee cost by replacing full-time positions with part-time posts, along with reducing total staff through attrition; eliminating capital improvement projects; and foregoing major repair and maintenance projects,” Slagle said.
      In order to meet the recent challenges as a result of COVID-19, Boardman Park will not fill two recently vacated full-time staff positions, and it will not provide overtime pay or purchase supplies and materials that are absolutely critical to the basic operations of the park.
      Boardman Park will also implement policies to reduce utility cost, in addition to eliminating some programs and events, as well as reducing turf mowing frequency and other landscape maintenance procedures (like annual flower plantings, weed control).
      “It is important to emphasize that Boardman Park is the only park in Ohio that has been operating on the same tax millage rate for the past 72 years. According to the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association (OPRA), which has over 2,000 members, the OPRA “is not aware of any other park or park district in Ohio that has been operating at the same tax millage rate for 72 years.”
      Moreover, the Mahoning County Auditor has provided information regarding the allocation of the tax dollars paid in Boardman Township that reflects that Boardman Park receives just one per cent (1-cents) of each tax dollar paid in Boardman.
      “In other words, just a small piece of the pie keeps the Green Oasis green,” Slagle said.
      He added, “We believe that the park plays a vital role in keeping Boardman ‘A Nice Place to Call Home.’ Please be assured that the Board of Park Commissioners and its staff are committed to preserving and protecting the Green Oasis and the many benefits it provides to our community. We will continue to work diligently to meet the recreational needs of our community and create wholesome opportunities to live and interact with family, friends, and neighbors while serving as prudent stewards of the tax dollars entrusted to the park.”
     
 
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