Feature Article - June 2009
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A Look at Trends in Parks & Recreation

Money Matters

Our respondents reported some good news and some bad news when it comes to revenues and budgets for their facilities. Positively, while less than half (45.6 percent) of last year's respondents indicated that they expected to see higher revenues in 2008 versus 2007, more than half (51.2 percent) this year indicated seeing higher revenues, a jump of more than 5 percent. Another 37.6 percent said their revenues had remained unchanged for the year. Less positive news came for those who experienced a decrease for the year. While just over 3 percent of last year's respondents projected seeing a decrease in their revenues in 2008, this year, just over 11 percent reported actually seeing such a drop.

Furthermore, park respondents are more likely to expect a bigger crunch this year and in 2010, with 19.3 percent expecting a drop in revenues in 2009 compared to 2008, and the same amount expecting a decrease next year. That said, the majority still expect their revenues to hold steady or increase this year and next: 80.7 percent expect no change or an increase in revenues in 2009 and 2010. (See Figure 38.)

Naturally, it follows that respondents would be expecting to spend in accordance with their revenue expectations and, indeed, parks respondents are projecting a drop in their operating expenditures from fiscal 2008 to fiscal 2009, of 13.5 percent. Then in 2010, they project their operating expenditures will nearly hold steady, falling by just 0.2 percent. While the number reported for fiscal 2010 is a drop of 13.7 percent from the number reported for fiscal 2008, it is an increase of 11.5 percent over the operating budget reported for fiscal 2007 in last year's report.