Contact: Tammy Miller, 874-7465
To clarify an inaccuracy reported in the local news, the City of Columbia does not actually spend $20 million on Parks and Recreation. The $20 million total reflected in the Fiscal Year 2013 budget document is an accounting balance for all the funds in the chapter and not intended to reflect the funds available for the department. The actual budget is $15,829,371.
In 2012, the City changed the way it organized its budget document. At that time the Park Sales Tax Fund was added to the Parks and Recreation Department's chapter in the budget document. Fund accounting requires that all the income and expenditures for each fund are reported and totaled. (Researchers can compare the FY 2011 budget document with the FY 2012 budget document for the same years and see how the change affected the summary totals).
With these changes in the way the document is organized, $5,088,424 in Parks Sales Tax is included twice in the $20 million total - reported once as an expense for the Park Sales Tax as it leaves the fund and reported again as it is transferred into the operating and capital improvement program accounts. The actual dollars available for Parks and Recreation is $15,829,371 ($20,917,795 - $5,088,424 = $15,829,371), which is less than is budgeted for the Police Department.
The Parks and Recreation Department generates $4.5 million in revenues as part of its operating budget and actively pursues grant funding. Only about $5 million of the Department's budget comes from the City's General Fund.