Feature Article - June 2013
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Regional Information

A Look at Regional Trends


Usage & Budgets

When it comes to the number of people using their facilities, respondents from the West were the most likely to report that usage had increased from 2011 to 2012, and again from 2012 to 2013, at their facilities. (See Figure 30.) Some 57.2 percent of respondents in the West said usage at their facilities had increased from 2011 to 2012, and 58.9 percent expect another increase in 2013. They were followed by the South Atlantic, where 55.2 percent and 57.2 percent of respondents reported increased usage in 2012 and 2013, respectively. In 2014, respondents from the South Atlantic are most likely to expect increases in the number of people using their facilities. Some 57.2 percent of South Atlantic respondents expect an increase in that time period.


Respondents from the Northeast were the least likely to expect increases in usage in every year covered by the study, with 48.4 percent reporting an increase from 2011 to 2012, 50.6 percent expecting an increase in 2013 and just 45.6 percent projecting an increase in 2014.

Respondents from the West were the most likely to indicate that revenues had grown from 2011 to 2012. They also were the most likely to expect revenues to rise from 2012 to 2013. Some 43.3 percent said revenues had increased from 2011 to 2012, and 45.7 percent said revenues had increased from 2012 to 2013. By 2014, they are overtaken by the South Atlantic region. Some 48.4 percent of South Atlantic respondents expect revenues to increase from 2013 to 2014, compared with 45.9 percent in the West. Respondents from the South Atlantic were the second most likely to report revenue increases in 2012 (43.2 percent) and in 2013 (44.9 percent).

Respondents from the South Central states were the least likely to expect increases in revenues in every year covered by the survey. Just 36.6 percent in this region saw their revenues increase from 2011 to 2012, and 41.5 percent expect increases in 2013, while 40.1 percent expect increases in 2014.

Respondents in the Northeast were the most likely to report that revenues had dropped in 2012, with 18.1 percent of Northeastern respondents indicating their revenues had fallen from 2011 to 2012.

Respondents in the West had the highest average operating expenditure of all respondents for fiscal 2012, a full 10.5 percent higher than the across-the-board average, at $1,609,000. They were followed closely by the South Atlantic region, whose average operating expenditures were 10.4 percent above average at $1,608,000. In the other regions, respondents' average operating expenses were lower than the across-the-board average. Some 6.7 percent lower for the Northeast and South Central states, and 7.3 percent lower for the Midwest. (See Figure 31.)


That said, respondents in the Northeast actually saw the greatest increase from 2011 to 2012 in their operating expenditures. In that region, operating costs rose 9.8 percent in that time frame. No other region reported an increase from 2011 to 2012. The greatest decrease in that time frame was seen in the South Central states, where respondents' operating expenditures fell by 17.2 percent from 2011 to 2012. They were followed by the South Atlantic, with a 9.9 percent decrease, the West (9.3 percent) and the Midwest (4 percent).

Between 2012 and 2014, every region projects operating expenditures will increase, with the greatest increase reported in the Northeast, at 7.9 percent. More modest increases are expected in the Midwest (4.4 percent) and South Atlantic region (4.1 percent), while those in the South Central states and Western states are expecting rather slight increases, of 1.9 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.

While a majority of all respondents reported they had taken action to reduce operating expenditures at their facilities, those in the West were the most likely to indicate they had done so. Some 90.7 percent of respondents in the West had taken action to reduce expenditures. They were followed by the Midwest, where 89.5 percent had taken action to reduce expenditures. Respondents in the South Central region were the least likely to report that they had reduced their expenditures. Less than four out of five (79.3 percent) had done so. Some 84.9 percent of South Atlantic respondents and 82.9 percent of Northeastern respondents had taken action to reduce expenditures.

Likewise, respondents from the West were the most likely to have taken nearly every kind of action measured to reduce their expenditures. They were the most likely to have improved energy efficiency (58.9 percent), reduced staff (50.6 percent), increased fees (48.7 percent), cut programs or services (33.5 percent), reduced hours of operation (31.1 percent), shortened their season (17.1 percent) or closed facilities (11.6 percent). The only exception was putting construction plans on hold, which was most likely among respondents from the South Atlantic, where 37.8 percent indicated they had done so.

At the same time, respondents from the South Central states were the least likely to have engaged in most of these activities. They were the least likely to have improved energy efficiency (49 percent), reduced staff (34.8 percent), increased fees (31.7 percent), cut programs and services (21 percent) or reduced their hours of operation (17.9 percent). Those in the Midwest were the least likely to have put their construction or renovation plans on hold (31.9 percent) or shortened their season of operation (6.7 percent). And those in the Northeast were the least likely to have closed facilities (5.2 percent) to reduce operating costs.