In Fiscal Year 2016-17, the Parks & Recreation and Tourism Departments were formally combined, and the focus for the Tourism Division was redirected towards heritage tourism and addressing the need for increased maintenance of the City-owned historic sites. In addition, the 2016-17 budget development process considered return on investments (ROI) and operational efficiencies, which has resulted in an improved bottom line for the Tourism Fund.
As part of that budget development process, the Parks/Recreation/Tourism Department created a Historic Sites Maintenance Subdivision under the Tourism Division to address the maintenance and repair needs of the City-owned Historic Sites. Maintenance staff in this division has completed various maintenance and repair projects with budgeted funds and now requires additional funding to complete more maintenance and repair projects.
Based upon the improved position of the Tourism Fund, the Tourism Commission recently endorsed a fund balance reserve policy which calls for an amount equal to 25% of budgeted operating expenditures to be held in reserve. The Fiscal Year 2016-17 Operating Budget is now fully funded, the 25% fund reserve goal has been met and additional funds remain available. Recognizing the work that has been completed by historic site maintenance staff, the Tourism Commission then endorsed the concept of using some of the available funds to complete additional maintenance projects this winter at the City's historic sites. Examples of projects include window and water infiltration repairs at the Bingham Waggoner Estate; and window repairs, plaster work, and wood rot repairs (funding dependent) at the Vaile Mansion.
The Finance Department has reviewed and supports both the Tourism fund balance reserve policy and this request for additional appropriations. The Finance Department is working on a comprehensive fund balance policy for all major funds citywide, and the recommendation from the Tourism Commission for a 25% operating reserve for the Tourism Fund will be incorporated into that master policy for future review and adoption by the City Council. This appropriations ordinance is recommended now in order to allow time to proceed with pending maintenance projects this winter.