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Parks and Recreation


Excerpt of Joint Council/Parks and Recreation Commission Minutes

July 16, 2007

 

Report Item 5.a Joint Meeting with the Park & Recreation Commission

Report Item 5.b Update on the Imagine Roseville 2025 Process

           

5.         Report Items

a.                 Joint Council/Commission Meeting – Meeting with the Parks and Recreation Commission

Chair Jeff Johnson spoke on behalf of the Commission and introduced commissioners present.  Parks & Recreation Commission members present included: Harold Ristow, James Stark, Jeff Johnson, Robert Willmus, Gale Pederson, and Mark Kamrath. 

 

Mayor Klausing complimented the Commission on the recent ceremony at Harriet Alexander Nature Center (HANC) for the vision-impaired sculptures, and thanked the Commission for their work and achievement.

 

Mr. Johnson noted that this work of art display was very unique and tastefully installed at the arboretum, and was making a significant impact on the art community.

 

Mr. Johnson provided a Bench Handout, attached hereto and made a part thereof, reviewing the department’s accomplishments from 1993 to present; noting that the City’s park acreage had increased from 504 to 680 acres, but that Park Improvement funds were reduced a total of forty percent (40%) in the last four (4) years.

 

Mr. Johnson opined that the City’s park system was a remarkable asset for residents.

 

          Mr. Johnson reviewed specific agenda items developed by the Commission for tonight’s meeting, asking that the City Council take this discussion under consideration as they develop the 2008 budget.

 

1)                   Parks & Recreation maintenance and improvement resources inadequate to meet the demands and expectations of the community – as verified by Imagine Roseville 2025

Mr. Johnson thanked the City Council for the $25,000 increase in the 2007 budget; however, he noted that with the 38.5% decrease in the OVAL budget, they were left with a deficit.

 

Mr. Johnson opined that he had accepted the challenge of Councilmember Pust to identify revenue sources, and provided his interpretation of three (3) alternatives for additional funding:

a)     Addition of an endowment fund for park improvements similar to the City’s Pavement Management Plan (PMP) with interest on reserved funds being available for the department;

b) Bond referendum to be used for parks.  Mr. Johnson provided his calculations on the impact of such a referendum on homeowners on an annual basis. Mr. Johnson sought clarification from staff and the City Council as to whether bond funds could be used for increased staff for the department, or if only for capital improvement projects.

c) Tax Levy increase taxes.  Again, Mr. Johnson provided his calculations on the impact to the average taxpayer on a monthly and annual basis.  Mr. Johnson noted the emotional support expressed by residents in their recent comments during the Imagine Roseville 2025 process.

 

Mr. Johnson repeatedly recognized the difficult balance required and challenges of the City Council in meeting every department’s needs; however, he also recognized the apparent public support and ownership for the City’s park system and their desire for it to improve and not deteriorate.

 

Mr. Johnson, from a business perspective, opined that the current equipment was about to compromise the integrity of the business; and asked that the department’s capital stock be viewed as an enterprise, and not be politically driven.

 

Mr. Johnson advised that it was the consensus of the Parks and Recreation Commission that those three (3) options were what needed to be considered by the City Council in order to maintain existing structures, equipment and facilities.  Mr. Johnson opined that it was also the consensus of the Commission that what was needed for the Roseville park system was to improve “branding” consistencies and maintain existing facilities; that new structures weren’t needed, including the proposed community center.  Mr. Johnson advised that the public’s message during the visioning process was loud and clear that the City needed to take care of what we have.

 

Discussion among Commissioners and Council members included: the concept of an endowment fund and discretionary appropriation of such a fund; potential voter support of a bond issue and removing pressures from other areas with confined uses of bond funds; and vociferous and consistent public comments and perceptions of the deterioration of existing equipment, structures and/or facilities.

 

Councilmember Kough suggested the possible sale some golf course property for town home development as a way to generate funds.

 

Mr. Johnson advised that would be a more appropriate discussion for the City’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA), and in conjunction with Park Master Plans, depending on locations.

 

Further discussion included programmed park space versus open space; ongoing available and potential assistance from various recreation associations and their proactive dedication of time, monies and efforts to subsidize the City’s park system; increasing utilization of fields (open space); potential for and cost of low-maintenance turf; and in-kind monies and/or labor maintenance normally provided by the City.

 

Commissioner Roe, with consensus of remaining Council members, noted the need for more prioritization of needs in the parks system by the Commission to address the most urgent needs.

 

Mr. Johnson emphasized that the department was losing ground, and anticipated that the Park Improvement Fund would need an annual $75,000 to maintain existing facilities and equipment.  Mr. Johnson recognized the tough choices faced by Parks and Recreation Director Lonnie Brokke; and [re-]

 

2)                   Imagine Roseville 2025 – Discuss Commissions’ Role

Mr. Johnson commended the City Council on their acceptance of the Imagine Roseville 2025 final report; and enthusiastically supported the merits of the process, the report, and empowerment granted to citizens in providing input into their community.  Mr. Johnson noted the challenge to implement that vision; and sought City Council direction to the Commission in how they could assist.

 

City Manager Bill Malinen noted the daunting task staff had undertaken in developing the specific and department-wide or department-specific program goals provided to the City Council tonight in a later agenda item.   Mr. Malinen noted that regular feedback and input from Advisory Commissions would be welcome, following a review of the first draft by the City Council, and anticipated Council directive to Commissions following that review.

 

Councilmember Pust opined her desire for advisory commission involvement and input running a parallel track along with staff and City Council review of the 42-page document developed by staff, listing short- and long-term goals, particularly with prioritizing. 

 

Councilmember Roe concurred with Councilmember Pust’s comments; encouraging brainstorming by advisory commissions to allow the City Council to have more information and ideas, as well as priorities an implementation suggestions, available for informed consideration and decision-making processes and how goals of each specific commission were incorporated with the community’s vision.

 

Mr. Johnson advised that the Commission would await direction from City Manager Malinen through Parks and Recreation Director Brokke.

 

Additional discussion included advantages and disadvantages in pursuing a city sales tax for regional park and recreation needs; perceptions and actual impacts of sales taxes versus property taxes on senior citizen populations; and potential impacts on the business community, as well residents, tax alternatives.

 

Councilmember Ihlan expressed her support for pursuing a bond referendum, seeking additional information on impacts to businesses and residents and comments from each as to their support.

 

Mr. Johnson volunteered the Commission to pursue additional information with staff on bonding referendum potentials and impacts.

 

3)                   Park Dedication

Mr. Johnson briefly addressed the recent increase in park dedication fees; and advised that the Commission was in the process of researching and updating comparison rates in other communities to provide a norm, and anticipated bringing that updated information and more solid research to the City Council in November of this year.

 

Depreciation

Mr. Johnson brought forward an additional non-agenda item related to asset depreciation to equalize future needs and legacies.  Mr. Johnson opined that, as responsible servants of the community and looking to future generations, it was imperative that the City provide n annual sinking fund for equipment and facilities; and opined that had this been done initially, the department wouldn’t be facing annual budgetary spikes. 

 

Mayor Klausing concurred, and noted that Finance Director Chris Miller proposed depreciation schedules for park equipment and facilities.

 

Councilmember Pust noted the balance in current needs versus future needs, and how setting aside funds for future improvements impacted current needs; emphasizing the need for defined revenue sources, and expressing appreciation to the Commission for taking that initiative in identifying potential options.

 

Councilmember Kough asked due diligence from the Commission and department to ensure that safety was a number one priority for City equipment and facilities.

 

Mayor Klausing thanked the Commission for their succinct and organized presentation and on behalf of the City Council, staff and citizens, for their continuing work on behalf of the City of Roseville and its Park and Recreation Department.

 

b.                 Update – Update on the Imagine Roseville 2025 Process

            Presentation

City Manager Malinen provided a brief overview of the Imagine Roseville 2025 Goals and Strategies recently detailed by staff through initial brainstorming sessions on the public input provided during the visioning process, incorporating proposed timelines and costs.  Mr. Malinen advised that staff would be following the document during the 2008 budget process; however, he noted that some items would need to be phased in for future years, depending on City Council direction and a review by Commissions, staff and the City Council of priorities and overall city-wide needs.  Mr. Malinen noted the detail to be completed by all entities in prioritizing items, from broad to specific programs and needs, and future facilitated meetings to accomplish a more detailed analysis by the City Council with staff.

 

Discussion included City Council consensus to receive as much public participation and follow-up involvement as possible to provide citizen ownership of the process, goals and strategies.

 

City Manager Malinen was requested by City Council consensus to solicit input, comment and priorities from each advisory commission.