A quorum of the Almanor Recreation and Park District Board of Directors met for its regular meeting April 9 to discuss upcoming district business and to listen to guest speaker Troy Dunker about his offer to volunteer to establish and operate a recycling program for Chester residents.
District 3 Supervisor Sherrie Thrall also made an appearance later in the meeting to pitch the idea of the rec district taking over management of the Almanor Recreation Center, located just across from the ARPD building.
Little League coordinator Mike Klimek also came to the meeting to go over the new contract for the use of the Truman-Collins Sport Complex baseball field for the upcoming Little League program.
Susan Espana, acting treasurer, provided board members with the current profit & loss vs. actual fiscal year-to-date financials sheet, listing the district’s revenue and expense line items as of April 9, starting from July 31, 2017, through the projected budget ending June 2018.
Espana told the board members that she had yet to receive a cash reconciliation report from the county, as the county hadn’t completed the report in a timely manner to present to the board.
“However, as an approximation, the revenue to the district for the month of March was $1,585. … A lot of that was from sponsorship donations towards trails [restoration], plus the Mile High 100 bike ride sponsorships came in at $1,200” to date.
Although the figure of $1,585 represented the rec district’s revenues, overhead expenses were $2,316, a net loss of $731.
Some early registrations for the Upcoming Street Rod Extravaganza car show added some additional revenues that have been processed through March.
She directed the board members’ attention to a line item showing that the California Association of Recreation and Park Districts unemployment and workers’ comp insurance for March was pegged at $1,313, with an additional payment of $232 due.
Because the increased price for insurance had risen to higher levels than was paid in prior years, Espana said the district would have to find an insurance company with a better rate.
She remarked that she had already received a quote for $500 from one company, which is what the district had been paying previously, adding that she would work to get the insurance premiums that are now paid reduced by next year to avoid a penalty for early withdraw from CAPRI.
The projected revenue for fiscal year (July 1 to June 30) 2017/18 is $57,095. Expenses are projected to be $39,696, for a net estimate of $17,399.
The district currently has cash-on-hand in the amount of approximately $30,000, Espana said.
Guest speaker Troy Dunker of Chester attended the meeting to advance the idea of establishing a community-recycling center, located in the ARPD building parking lot next to the baseball field for CRV cans, plastic bottles and glass. Newsprint would not be recycled.
“I realized that the community had an issue; there was no place to recycle,” said Dunker. “And I know a lot of people including myself who just throw stuff away, taking it to the dump instead.”
Dunker said that he could operate the recycling operation during the summer, where collection bins — hopefully donated — could be brought in to collect recyclable items.
He also suggested he would be fine with volunteering to drive around town once a month collecting recyclables from the elderly or others who may not be able to drop off their items. He recommended that flyers could be printed to increase awareness of the pending program, plus posting information on ARPD’s Facebook page, along with ads at local radio stations.
Dunker explained that the recyclables could be loaded into a trailer and taken to Greenville or Susanville; both towns already have collection centers. The money raised would all be donated to the ARPD after expenses to help support its program initiatives and other needs such as maintenance and building repairs.
“It’s pretty much going to be me doing the majority of the work,” Dunker said, probably on Sundays after 2 p.m., “but if somebody would like to volunteer some of their time, I’m happy for any help I can get,” which could lead to additional days the center would be open.
Colleen Garrett, acting ARPD president, asked Dunker when he wanted to start the project.He said once he could find containers or other ways to bind up the recyclables, such as using chicken wire, he foresaw the center ready for cans and bottles in the next few weeks.
Dunker suggested that people start saving their recyclables now.
Anyone who would like to volunteer his or her time, donate bins, or provide the use of a truck with a large bed or trailer can call Dunker at 375-0060.
ARC management proposal
Sherrie Thrall, District 3 supervisor, attended the meeting to ask whether or not ARPD staff would be interested in taking on the management responsibilities for the Almanor Recreation Center, located just a few yards from the ARPD headquarters building adjacent to the Truman-Collins Sports Complex.
“Many years ago on behalf of the county, the rec district and I were working on a state grant, and as a result the Almanor Recreation Center was built. … At the time, the state required that the county take on the work of maintaining the building, removing snow and providing the funds for repairs, paying taxes and other requirements as a condition for the grant money,” said Thrall.
Thrall told the board of directors that at some point she would like to see the title of the recreation center transferred to ARPD, which would require a ballot measure creating a funded rec district, but that was likely years away, she acknowledged. The county currently owns the building free and clear, she added.
She said that she had a vision that eventually the area around the ARPD location would become part of a larger recreation complex.
In the interim, Thrall said there is no time pressure to take over the management duties at the center. If board members were interested, a proposal would have to be submitted to the county first, indicating costs and other factors associated with running the ARC, and a final contract drawn up.
Thrall suggested that if the board wanted to take responsibility for the center’s operations in the future, it could collect the rental fees that groups and organizations pay now for the use of the facility, and as part of an agreement with the county maintain a percentage of the revenues for its own programs, or charge a straight management fee.
Currently, Plumas County maintains the center and Memorial Hall in Chester through its general funds account, she said.
One positive aspect of ARPD providing management services is to reduce the confusion that presently exists in the community when calls are made trying to reserve time at the center. Too often, Thrall said, people can’t get through to facilities using the contact number they have, due in large measure to a vacancy position at the department.
Garrett said she was fully aware of the difficulty in trying to talk to the right person when the center is needed and keys aren’t immediately available to open the doors of the facility. “It can be so frustrating,” she confided to everyone in attendance, since she often reluctantly gets calls on her personal phone already over scheduling conflicts and other concerns.
Another problem that was raised in reference to the ARC was that it is often not inspected after use.
“I get all kinds of complaints from people that it’s not cleaned for the next person or group going in,” Garrett lamented.
Thrall said in her opinion the center is not working as efficiently the way the county had intended.
Thrall added that properly marketed, the center could generate more revenue for both the county and the currently unfunded ARPD, depending on upgrades like a full kitchen.
She said that the ARPD might consider submitting their proposal before the county budget was finalized in June for next year’s expenditures.
Espana interjected that she would like to review the cash flow history of the center for the past two years to get an idea how much revenue it generates. Garrett agreed, saying that they would have to apply due diligence before the board could make a final decision.
Thrall concluded her talk by praising the board members for doing such excellent work over the years.
Little League contract
With Little League opening day scheduled for Saturday, April 21, organizer Mike Klimek attended the board meeting to discuss terms of the new contract.
Espana noted that as written, the contract called for significant changes in the rental fee charged for use of the of the Truman-Collins Sport Complex during Little League season to $1,400, a substantial increase from last year’s rate of $400.
The higher fee was attributed to greater overhead costs incurred by the ARPD in years past, which included operational expenses by ARPD; the cost of field maintenance, water bills, program purchases such as a new set of bases, and direct expenses of managing the TCSC.
The contract read in part: “It is the fiduciary duty of the ARPD board to meet these expenses over the long term in such a manner as to ensure the ongoing health of our community recreational events. ARPD shall make every attempt to keep rental fees affordable, while at the same time ensuring the (fiscal viability) of the district.”
The rental fee is a flat rate for the entire season, and includes the use of the TCSC fields, trash facilities, one Porta-Potty, and one hand-washing station. The contract further states that teams may use the field during practice at no additional charge, but scheduled ARPD activities will take precedence. Teams may reserve practice times at the rate of $5 per two-hour practice, provided no ARPD events are scheduled.
Before the contract was written, Espana said that the board of directors had sat down and tried to go through what it cost the ARPD to maintain the fields, looking at the total overhead like liability insurance and other expenses, and as a result the board decided the fees charged to little league in prior years was generating only about 30 percent of the revenue needed to cover costs by the district.
Klimek, noticeably a little shaken by the increase, said he would have to discuss the new rate with the Little League board members before making a decision on how to proceed, noting that the increase was not within their original budget constraints.
Almanor Recreation Center facts
The Almanor Recreation Center was constructed with a combination of funding.
The 2002 Resources Bond Act provided approximately $957,000, and Proposition 12 provided approximately $30,000, for a total amount of $987,000 for construction of the facility.
Planning and design work started in May 2008, with final completion of the ARC in the spring of 2012.