Thursday, March 20, 2014
Extravagant Spending Will Continue for Parks and Rec in FY15
Arlington Libraries and Parks and Recreation budgets were up for review at yesterday's County Board - County Manager FY15 Budget Work Session. While the Library System's budget and operations were scrutinized Parks and Recreation was given the go ahead for more extravagant spending for a wide range of activities, including a redesigned Longbridge Park Aquatics Center, which will include almost all, if not all, the previously-included aquatic amenities.
Based on questions by the County Board yesterday afternoon the Library System and Parks and Recreation are expected to operate under different management criteria. The Library System is required to justify its existence while Parks and Recreation is allowed an extravagant budget to fund a wide range of extravagant infrastructure and activities (e,g., the James Hunter Dog Park, architect and consultant designed playgrounds, purchase and demolition of a home adjacent to Douglas Park for open space).
The most cost-saving activity the Library System is engaged in, the photovoltaic arrays installed on the roof of Central Library funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, was barely mentioned. However, the photovoltaic arrays are saving a substantial amount that would be spent for electricity. Unfortunately, these savings are offset by the Library System having to pay for the Signature Theater's utilities in their shared Shirlington building.
In addition to a 7% budget increase for FY 15, Parks and Recreation will have $12 million in one-time paygo funds. Parks and Rec also has money stashed in various slush funds. So look for more of the same from Parks and Rec, neither County Manager nor County Board expects anything else from them.