ARPD directors discuss budget deficit, grants, safety meeting
The Almanor Recreation and Park District Board of Directors met for its regular meeting March 9 to discuss a number of agenda items including the renewal of the Chester Little League field contract for upcoming games in April, and an update on the Per Capita Grant to be issued by California Department of Parks and Recreation.
First on the agenda was to review and approve the meeting minutes for Jan. 13 and Feb. 10. Members voted unanimously to approve the minutes with one board director not present.
A review of the treasurer’s report was presented by ARPD Board Member and Treasurer Susan Espana, which currently shows a deficit in both the month (-$2,477.20) and year-to-date (-$6,766.63) ending Feb. 29. The cash operating reserve account was listed at $49,694.24.
“This is just a result of our revenues being down,” explained Espana, indicating that the district took a bit of a hit with lower proceeds from this past year’s ARPD-sponsored Chester Classic Fourth of July Fun Run, due to a 20 percent reduction in the number of runners participating.
She said that, “We did well with the Poker Paddle event,” but saw revenues down for the 33rd annual Street Rod Extravaganza classic car show that was held in Chester Park. “That, combined with the doubling of our liability insurance, meant additional costs that we had to absorb,” she said.
Espana informed the board members that she expected rec district reserves to continue to decline through May until recreational programs start up again beginning with the Mile High 100 bike riding fundraiser, organized by Randy Robbins, president of the nonprofit Susanville Area Bicycle Association, who has undertaken the position of lead coordinator for the event over the past two years.
The report was also provided to the board members in more detail, listing several line items in terms of expenses and revenues.
A motion was made to approve the treasurer’s report, which was passed by the directors without further discussion.
Chester High School football coach T.J. Ragan, has been working with ARPD to manage the administration of registration fees and sponsorship funds for the Chester Youth Football League clinic during the upcoming six-week youth football camp planned for the spring season.
Finding liability insurance coverage has been a sticking point.
“The district’s insurance company CAPRI will not cover the football program,” Espana informed the directors, adding that Ragan then contacted K&K Insurance, a leading provider of coverage for sports, leisure recreation to see if ARPD could write a separate policy that would cover liability insurance.
Because the district is covered by a state self-insured program and not the national program, the cost of the premium would be around $850, about double what was anticipated.
In the meantime, because that amount was deemed too much to pay for liability insurance, Espana said that coach Ragan is looking into fundraising as an alternative to cover insurance costs. The board also will offer to partner in fundraising efforts using social media and the district’s website to raise the funds needed to insure the football program.
Coach Ragan will continue to evaluate his overall program.
UPDATE: Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the youth football program will be postponed until spring of 2021.
The Plumas County Special Districts Association (PCSDA) is asking ARPD to renew its membership in the organization for as little as $20.
The PCSDA provides various workshops and trainings, and was formed so that every special district in Plumas County would have the opportunity to interact with each other, share resources, experiences, concerns and information, and to assist boards in operating efficiently and to propose constructive means for the improvement and functioning of special districts in Plumas County.
Espana made a motion to continue the rec district’s membership going forward and the board all voted yea.
Per Capita Grant update
Carlos Espana has taken the lead in applying for a $200,000 grant, available to “all qualified state recreation districts,” to finance eligible recreational projects.
The grant is available under the California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection and Outdoor Access for All Act of 2018, managed by the Office of Grants and Local Services, to allocate funding to park districts toward the future development of recreational facilities situated on rec district property.
The grant is only for new facilities or major renovations, but not for maintenance of existing facilities.
ARPD has lined up the required 20 percent matching funds. “Once the state qualifies the district and announces an award, then engineering plans and a budget for recreational development will be submitted for review and approval,” said Espana.
She stated that a letter was sent on behalf of the district requesting that it be considered for a grant with a decision for grant approval supposedly to be announced by last December, but so far the district has heard nothing back from the granting agency.
“We’re trying to get ready; we have a plan to improve an area where we can start immediately,” he said, between the Almanor Community Center and ARPD office once funding for the rec district comes through.
Planned features within district boundaries include a community garden; covered picnic areas; concrete play elements including a Ping-Pong table, benches, foosball, corn hole and chess/checkers; and other elements like landscaping, bicycle racks, storage and extended parking.
The exact features planned would depend on estimates from contractors on how much could be built within the $200,000 grant, he said.
An environmental report is required before any grant money can be distributed, and before the rec district’s vacant 2 1/2-acre vacant parcel site across from the ARPD office can be developed. He said he expected a certificate to be issued around June 15.
Upon obtaining additional future financing, it’s hoped that a skate park, pump track, pickle ball court and a covered picnic pavilion would be constructed as well.
Sierra Nevada Conservancy trails grant
Carlos Espana also announced to the board that ARPD was approved for a $75,000 award by Sierra Nevada Conservancy to initiate a study of the Rail Trail, owned by the Collins Pine Co., which has agreed to donate the 12 miles of trails to the district.
The board still needs to sign the SNC contract in order to move forward, he said, and sign a donation agreement negotiated with the Collins Pine Company.
Other potential trail opportunities
Moving on, Carlos Espana said he and others talked to Caltrans about constructing a paved trail within its right-of-way next to Lake Almanor along Highway 89.
“It turns out they’re going to issue a grant request in March for projects like this,” said Carlos Espana. It will require the county to act as the lead agency to submit for the grant. The transportation commission arm of the county agreed to support the proposal because they have a master contract with Caltrans.
“It’s complicated but I’m optimistic,” said Carlos Espana.
Stewardship Council grant
The Stewardship Council is offering another possible grant, Carlos Espana said. The Council controls sections of PG&E land after the company fell into bankruptcy several years ago.
“They’re willing to entertain proposals for improvements to PG&E properties that include trails. … During the past three years our local Almanor Basin Trails Coalition has created plans for two trail alignments located just north of Canyon Dam up part way along the east shore of the lake, and if we qualify, we’re going for it.”
As per the directives of the district’s insurance company, CAPRI, a quarterly Safety Committee meeting will be held March 28 to address safety issues.
The board plans to have all three chairpersons from each of the big three events the district sponsors during the year at the meeting to talk about safety as it relates to their respective events including adequate first aid or known hazards and contingency plans.
Due to the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis, upcoming monthly ARPD board meetings will be limited to just 10 people, so that spacing guidelines can be adhered to.
For information on programs and other questions, call 258-2562 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The office is closed every third Thursday of the month. The district can be contacts by email, [email protected] and 258-2562.