Feature Article - June 2015
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Parks & Recreation

A Look at Trends in Parks & Recreation


Revenues & Expenditures

The revenue situation for parks and recreation respondents continues to improve in 2015, with a growing number of respondents reporting increases in revenue at the same time that the percentage who are reporting lower revenues year-over-year is declining. From 2013 to 2014, 44.1 percent of parks respondents said their revenues increased, and another 44.1 percent said revenues remained the same in that time period. At the same time, the percentage who reported lower revenues fell to 11.8 percent, from 15.2 percent who reported a decrease from 2012 to 2013. (See Figure 42.)

Looking forward, nearly half of parks respondents expect their revenues to be higher in 2015 and 2016. Some 48.7 percent of parks respondents said they were expecting higher revenues in each of those years, while 44 percent expect revenues to remain the same in 2015 and 46.9 percent expect no change in 2016.

Parks respondents reported that their average operating expenditures increased by 28.8 percent from fiscal 2013, from an average of $1,537,000 to an average of $1,980,000 in fiscal 2014. This is a sharper increase than the rate for all respondents, who reported a 24.9 percent increase in that time period. Looking forward, parks respondents expect more modest growth in operating expenditures from fiscal 2014 to fiscal 2016 than other respondents, projecting an increase of 2.8 percent to an average of $2,035,000 in fiscal 2016, compared with an increase of 5.5 percent for all respondents in that time frame.

Parks respondents were more likely than non-parks respondents to report that they had taken actions to reduce their expenditures. Some 86.4 percent of parks respondents had done so, compared with 82.8 percent of non-parks respondents. The most common measures taken by parks respondents to reduce their expenditures included: improving energy efficiency (55.8 percent of parks respondents vs. 51.7 percent of non-parks respondents); increasing fees (48.3 percent vs. 33.3 percent); reducing staff (39.5 percent vs. 33 percent); putting construction or renovation plans on hold (37.1 percent vs. 25.7 percent); and reducing hours of operation (22.3 percent vs. 15.9 percent).