To: Mayor Allen Green
Vice Mayor Mary Martin
Councilman Dennis Kennedy
Councilman Robert Pohlmann
Councilman George Steindoerfer
From: Kenneth W. Parker, City Manager
Subject: Parks and Recreation and Administrative Departments
Date: November 8, 2010
Since January, we have been reviewing levels of services in the various operating divisions. On Tuesday night, we will be looking at the final General Fund Operating Departments. You have seen all of the data and materials before.
Mayor and City Council, City Manager, and City Clerk
The City Council had already identified certain items that would no longer be done as part of their budget. The City Council decided that food would not be served on those evenings where there was a 5:30 p.m. workshop meeting. Those funds will be removed from the City Council budget.
Staff has identified a savings of $1,000 in communications if the City Council uses air cards instead of Brighthouse for internet connection. During the year, the City Council recognizes individuals for service to the City. Two such functions are the Wall of Honor and the Community Involvement. The Wall of Honor selections are honored each year during the Fourth of July Celebration. The Community Involvement Awardees are recognized each year during the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. The Wall of Honor Honorees has their pictures placed on the wall outside the City Council Chambers and the Community Involvement Awardees names are placed on the plaque at Memorial Park on Jackson Street. Also, the City conducts various neighborhood meetings during the year as well as new resident functions each year. The funds for those types of events come from the Public Relations account. If the City Council desired to reduce the number of events, then the amount could be reduced. These types of events are excellent. I am suggesting that the $3,500 and $1,000 be reserved from this budget. Our new resident meetings as well as our community meetings are part of what makes Port Orange unique. We attempt to remain connected to our community. Honoring individuals who have given so much to the City is one way to honor them and show appreciation for their contributions to Port Orange.
Because of the delay in filling the Deputy Clerk’s position, it appears that $7,000 will be saved. These funds are available for reservation.
Because of the document management program, it was suggested that a portion of the Deputy City Clerk’s position be allocated to the Information Technology fund. If 15% of the Deputy Clerk’s salary were allocated to the IT Fund, you would expect a savings of $8,593. The IT fund is an internal service fund. That means it draws its revenues from all of the other operating funds. Although it would mean a savings of about $8,593 to the General Fund, it would simply allocate those cost to the other operating funds.
You could justify at least initially 30% of the Deputy City Clerk’s salary be allocated to Information Technology. However, long term, the Deputy City Clerk’s salary needs to be totally allocated to the General Fund. If 30% of the Deputy Clerk’s salary were allocated to the IT Fund, you would expect another $8,593 savings.
Because of the reporting and supervisory responsibilities, you could allocate a portion of the Assistant City Manager salary and benefits to the IT Fund. The amount that is appropriate is $12,022. When William Whitson was the Assistant City Manager, a portion of his salary was charged to the IT Fund.
The growth in the City Attorney’s budget has been from two sources. The City Attorney was able to hire two individuals who were attorneys but were not licensed to practice in the State of Florida. They were paid as paralegals until such time as they obtained their licenses to practice law in the State of Florida. The other source was from increased legal expenses. We have been engaged in contract negotiations almost continuously for the past three years. We have engaged outside legal counsel to advise us on labor issues and on pension issues. Additionally, the City Attorney’s Office has been involved in other litigation that has required to the City to secure special counsel. We are still involved in labor contract negotiations but we have settled one of the cases that involved outside legal counsel after the individual decided not to pursue the case any further. The City Attorney’s Office has been authorized at 4.5 individuals since 2008. A part of the City Attorney’s salary is paid from the Insurance Fund since she represents the City in insurance litigation and discussions with attorneys on legal issues arising from claims filed against the City of Port Orange. Currently, there is one position vacant in the City Attorney’s Office. That is a paralegal position.
Leave the position vacant until January, 2011. That would save $10,827.
Leave the paralegal position vacant until April, 2011. That would save $21,654.
Leave the paralegal position vacant until July, 2011. That would save $32,481.
Leave the paralegal position vacant through September 30, 2011. That would save $43,308.
The City Attorney left this position vacant last year. Margaret will be prepared to discuss this with you on Tuesday night.
There are two factors that have created a reduction in the Finance Department budget. First, the retirement of a long term employee and the savings that was achieved when that position was refilled. The second is the shifting of the payroll function from Finance to Human Resources. For years, the Finance Department had a full time equivalent of 8.7 employees. Today, that number has been reduced to 7.45 full time equivalent employees.
Two years ago, we employed a firm to assist in doing internal audits. This is different from what the external auditors do. This allows us to go into the various departments and test all of the internal controls. It allows us to check on a variety of items related to our compliance with the internal controls that have been established. It has provided us with excellent insight into weaknesses and with suggestions on how to strengthen our internal controls. If this program and activity were eliminated from the budget, it would save the $8,722. Based upon past experience, this money is well spent checking on and identifying internal control weaknesses before they become a problem.
We have been able to achieve additional savings from our early retirement program. The amount of savings is $5,288.
In addition to the two areas identified above, paying a portion of the salary and benefits to the Revenue/Capital Project Coordinator from the capital projects fund. We have resisted this in the past because it takes away from the dollars that are available to pay for capital improvement projects. Although eligible, the City has attempted to use its capital funds for capital projects rather than paying reoccurring operating expenses. This would achieve additional savings of $6,535.
In addition to the three areas identified in Levels 1 and 2, Finance identified moving more of the Revenue/Capital Project Coordinator into the capital improvement fund. Again, it means less money for capital improvement projects. This would achieve a savings of $16,338.
In addition to the savings that could be achieved from Levels 1-3, Finance determined that the Financial Analyst could be paid from interest earnings from all funds managed by the City of Port Orange. This would achieve a savings of $11,212.
The increase in Human Resources is from moving the Payroll Clerk from Finance to Human Resources. The Payroll Clerk is now involved in payroll functions but also in benefits management. Without the transfer of the payroll clerk from Finance to Human Resources, this budget would have actually decreased.
HR identified reducing operating expenses by $10,000. The areas where it would be reduced are in employee training, advertising/recruitment, employee recognition, and drug screening, background checks and other security checks. In Rob’s budget certain items are not controlled by him. For example, should the City of Port Orange have to hire additional Police Officers during the upcoming year, we will need to budget for advertising, drug testing, physical examinations, psychological evaluations, etc. The number of positions dictates the advertising budget in his Department. Most of the training that is done by HR is required training for employees. We have invested in training to hold down our liability. In a time when we are not giving raises, recognizing employees for their years of service is something we can do. It is truly a very small cost.
Each level from 2 through 4 would require a reorganization of the department. It would lead to reduced work hours initially to if fully implemented at Level 4 would mean a reduction of personnel. HR not only handles the personnel functions for the City of Port Orange but they handle switchboard operations as well. In many instances, they serve as the information center for the City of Port Orange as well. HR works closely with the Clerk’s Office to handle residents who need a variety of information.
Parks and Recreation
There was an increase in Parks and Recreation Budget in 2009. That was in recognition of additional park lands that were brought on line that year. However, in 2010 and in 2011, the Parks and Recreation Budget has been reduced. We have been able to achieve that through early retirements and eliminating programs. For example, in 2010, we eliminated the pre-school program. Also, we have reduced the number of Summer Playground sites. All of this is formulated into our overall budget. The total number of employees in the Department has been reduced from 32.34 full time equivalents in 2008 to 27.375 full time equivalent employees in 2011.
Be aware that on October 1, 2010, we had to bring back in house certain positions that had been previously outsourced to a staffing company. We outsourced umpires, referees, and officials as well as scorekeepers and other part time and seasonal workers to a staffing company. Recently, you saw an email from one of our employees who worked as an umpire and referee with the City of Port Orange for a number of years. He is no longer eligible to work as a referee or umpire for the City because we would have to pay him his overtime rate rather than the standard fee paid umpires and referees. The reason for moving it back internally was because of a licensure problem with the staffing company. We are currently quantifying the cost of providing the staffing internally verses outsourcing.
Throughout the budgeting process, there has been a discussion about competitive athletics. In October, Parks and Recreation brought forward a new fee schedule which was adopted by the City Council. This will help close the gap between the cost of the programs and the cost of administering the programs. The Parks and Recreation Department has worked extremely hard to identify ways to increase revenue for the department without increasing the cost. They have been extremely active in recruiting volunteers. Susan’s team is extremely innovative in their approach to identifying ways to increase their revenues while at the same time not increasing their cost.
We have heard on multiple occasions that we are losing players to South Daytona’s competitive baseball program. We have discussed the need to move into a competitive baseball program. If we are moving into that arena this next spring, we will need to do some modifications to facilities beginning now. We will need to raise fences at one or more of our park facilities and change the configuration of the infield to accommodate the 90’ base paths. Also the pitcher’s mound would need to be modified in order to accommodate the larger field dimensions. The fences at City Center need to be replaced. As you may recall, we looked last year at the reconfiguring the fields at All Children’s Park to accommodate baseball. There is the potential for making modifications of at least one of the fields at All Children’s Park to lengthen the fences. We would need to take some of the capital dollars to replace fences and make modifications this winter so that we could begin play in a competitive environment in the spring.
I have pointed out in the past that an organizational change will occur after July 1, 2011 when the current Parks Superintendent retires. We will be changing the organization alignment at that time. Those dollars were taken into consideration during the original budget presentation but the full impact of that change will be realized in next year’s budget.
Although the Christmas Parade has been identified, we are already accepting applications for the 2010 parade. The savings would be $9,050. Currently, we have placed a hold on a Maintenance Worker position in the Department. The savings would be $33,887.
This would freeze one part time maintenance worker position. This would save $12,688. Reduce the Special Events Coordinator to part time effective July 2011. This would save about $7,908. Eliminate four special events: Fourth of July (fireworks only); concerts in the park (including Lakeside Jazz Festival and the 9-11 event); Artfest (City receives $5,200 in revenues); and the Annual Tree Lighting. The Annual Tree Lighting is only three weeks away. We are well into planning this annual event.
We would eliminate one of the playgrounds locations. We would have to limit the number of children that could participate in our playground activities. It is anticipated that we would reduce the budget by about $57,000. Our best estimate is that we could lose about $70,500 in revenues.
Eliminate the entire Summer Recreation Program. This produces savings of $95,435. It is estimated that we would lose an additional $97,500.
Parks and Recreation was able to reduce their budget by the prescribed amount. Additionally, they have worked extremely hard to identify ways to increase revenue needed to offset the cost. The City Council decided to keep the athletics internal and challenges Parks and Recreation to come up with ways to offset the $45,000 differential. They have come with a new fee schedule. They have increased the number of volunteers to assist them in running the concessions with the proceeds going into a fund that will help pay for scholarships rather than waiving fees. They have identified a way of making additional money off the snack machines located at the gym. Again, these funds would go into the scholarship fund that would be used to reimburse the City for fees instead of waiving the fees. Last year, the department instituted a program that allowed parents to do installment payments for summer recreation. A number of parents were very appreciative on this effort. It allowed them to spread their payments out over a period of time rather than having to pay the fee all at one time. This department continues to think outside the box in terms of finding ways to reduce cost and increase revenues.