Seneca County Park District board members approved a 2014 budget Wednesday allocating $67,097 in expenses and $72,417 in income.
In his budget report, board member Jim Nordholt said the only income the park district receives is $22,500 from the rental of 90 acres of farmland at Garlo Heritage Nature Preserve and federal payment for 53 acres in the Conservation Reserve Program at Bowen Nature Preserve.
Other funds include $45,787 in a grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation, which can be used for roads and parking lots, and donations.
Nordholt said the biggest change in expenses for next year is a decrease of $10,000 in salaries. Director Pat Obringer has resigned as director, effective at the end of the year. Obringer said he plans to remain with the park district as an active volunteer but he prefers not to work with the time-consuming paperwork.
The board has decided not to hire another director and has divided the duties among board members and other volunteers. The board also has added a second monthly meeting on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 1 p.m. to keep each other better updated.
The main expense items are the capital improvements line at $25,787 and contract services at $20,000 - about the same as last year. Funding for those accounts is from the ODOT grant.
Nordholt said changes this year include placing $1,000 each in an advertising account "to let people know about us" and in an other expenses account to develop more events in the parks.
A budget for Out & About Preschool, a self-sustaining program operated by the park district, was approved at $12,400 for income and expenses.
Nordholt said salary increases are part of the preschool budget. Salary expenses total $8,400 for administrator and head teacher Linda Rose and assistant Tammy Vargo. The preschool is funded in part by $10,700 in fees paid by parents and an expected $500 in grants.
He said the preschool is filled to its 15-student capacity and is already filled for the next 2 1/2 years.
In another matter, the board approved a motion accepting an enclosed trailer if it is purchased and donated by the Friends of the Seneca County Park District. In the event the Friends buy a trailer, the board agreed to accept the donation, up to $3,000, and amended the 2014 budget to reflect the $3,000 change in income and expenses.
Board member Bill McAllister suggested the board consider creating an endowment fund through Tiffin Charitable Foundation.
As a result of the strategic planning process, he said the subject came up at a meeting and a person offered $5,000 to start the fund as an incentive for others to follow his lead. McAllister said a fund would provide a place for people to provide for the parks during estate planning, for example.
Board members plan to ask foundation representatives to attend their Nov. 26 meeting to explain the process.
Also on the subject of the strategic plan under way, McAllister reminded everyone to fill out the strategic planning survey before the middle of December. It can be found at the park district website, www.senecacountyparks.com, or directly at www.surveymonkey.com/s/SCPD95.
The board's next planning meeting is at 1 p.m. Nov. 26, and its next monthly meeting is Dec. 11.