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Open Space >> The Economy

The Long Slog

2012-08-01, Department

 Park and recreation agencies share their views on the economy.The worst of the recession’s effects may be behind us, according to an online survey of park and recreation agencies. While the majority of park professionals continue to feel the repercussions of economic uncertainty, they nonetheless see a deceleration in negative trends, and in some sectors outright improvement. Mostly, though, park professionals see a longer road ahead to prosperity.  

The opinion survey specifically focuses on questions relating to departmental budget, revenue, and personnel. The survey was distributed to NRPA member and nonmember park and recreation professionals between April 16 and May 4. Six hundred and fifty-seven responses were received. Almost 50 percent indicated that their department’s fiscal year began on July 1, 2011, while a third of the respondents indicated that that their department’s fiscal year began on January 1, 2012. 

The executive summary below focuses on key economic trends on the national level. NRPA members can access the full report, including comparisons with NRPA’s 2010 economic survey, by visiting www.nrpa.org/knowledgecenter. 

Key Findings 

- More than 50 percent (53.2) of the respondents indicated that their cost recovery target percentage did not increase in the last two fiscal years. Of those respondents who stated that their cost recovery did indeed increase, 47.7 percent indicated that it did so by 5 to 10 percent while 12 percent indicated that it did so by more than 20 percent. 

- 69.4 percent of respondents indicated that since FY2012 began, their operating budget has remained the same as the adopted budget. For those whose operating budget has been reduced from the FY2012 adopted budget, 60 percent indicated that their operating budget has been reduced by less than 3 percent while 6 percent indicated that their operating budget has been reduced from the FY2012 adopted budget by more than 18 percent.  

- 79.1 percent of the respondents did not anticipate additional reductions in the remainder of FY2012. For those who anticipate additional budget reductions in the remainder of FY2012, 81.4 percent anticipate a reduction of less than 3 percent while 1.9 percent anticipate a reduction of more than 18 percent. 

- 65 percent of the respondents did not have to cut parttime and seasonal positions this fiscal year and 76.4 percent did not have to cut fulltime staff positions this fiscal year. 

- More than half of the respondents (54.9 percent) indicated that their department did not anticipate additional budget reductions in FY2013. For those who anticipate additional reductions to their FY2013 budget, 54.5 percent anticipate a reduction of less than 3 percent while 1.6 percent anticipate a reduction of more than 18 percent.     

- 70.8 percent of respondents did not anticipate reductions in parttime or seasonal staff in FY2013. For those who anticipate reductions in parttime or seasonal staff in FY2013, 65 percent anticipate a reduction of less than 3 percent while 3.2 percent anticipate a reduction of more than 18 percent. 

- 77.7 percent of respondents did not anticipate reductions in fulltime staff in FY2013. For those who anticipate reductions in fulltime staff in FY2013, 76.5 percent anticipate a reduction of less than 3 percent while 1.6 percent anticipate a reduction of more than 18 percent. 

 47.7 percent of respondents do believe that their department will eventually return to FY2008 levels of resources and services. Of these, 32.2 percent are not at all confident that the future will be better than ever and 9.8 percent are quite confident that the future will be better than ever. 

- 41 percent of respondents anticipate that their department will be impacted by the slow economy through 2015 or longer. 

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