Parks officials look over preliminary budget
Scott Miskiel, interim director of the Eureka Springs Parks and Recreation Department, met for more than two hours on Wednesday, Dec. 23, with parks commissioner Kevin Ruehle and grounds and natural resources manager Dave Renko to review preliminary budget figures for 2021.
Although the discussion was nominally a meeting of the parks commission’s finance committee, Ruehle was the only commissioner present as Miskiel outlined a draft budget that projects a net income of minus-$200,317.28 for 2021. That number could change significantly because expenditures such as $25,000 for a new maintenance vehicle could be deferred for another year and Miskiel said he intentionally took a conservative approach when projecting income from sources such as shuttle service for the downhill mountain bike trails at Lake Leatherwood City Park.
The draft budget also includes expenditures for maintenance projects that Miskiel said are overdue.
“Just because of the COVID and the chaos that we had this year, we’ve got a backlog of of maintenance and repairs that we need to do out of Leatherwood,” he said, noting that more than $40,000 in revenue from the 0.125 percent sales tax dedicated to the Lake Leatherwood park will be carried forward in 2021. “So a big portion of our expenses here are really deferred expenses that should have been incurred this year.”
The draft budget projects payroll expenses of a little more than $448,000. That includes $52,000 in salary for Miskiel and $62,400 in salary for Renko, who was hired after the parks commission went into executive session during a Dec. 15 meeting to discuss the creation of the grounds and natural resources manager position and then voted to offer the position to Renko without identifying him by name.
Miskiel’s draft budget included actual 2020 numbers through Nov. 1. Miskiel said he planned to update those numbers this week, and Ruehle said he and commissioner Scott Bardin — the other member of the finance committee — would send the proposed budget to the other commissioners for their review.
“I do not want big, long, protracted discussions because nobody’s looking right until the meeting time,” Ruehle said. “So if we can do that, then we can get this thing voted on in January.”
The parks commission is scheduled to hold a workshop at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 5, at the Auditorium. The commission’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19, at the Aud.