A Strategic Plan at the Core of Public Recreation Financial Management: A Case Study of Gwinnett County, Georgia
Keywords:Public sector finance, strategic plan, management
AbstractMany public sector park and recreation departments are experiencing financial difficulties as states, counties, and municipalities face severe revenue shortages as a direct result from a struggling economy. This trend may result in decreased operating and capital budgets, decreased or eliminated grant monies, and/or frozen vacant staff positions. This crisis is not entirely unfamiliar for many public recreation agencies who over the years have grown accustomed to responding to high expectations from the public for quality facilities and services within significant budget constraints.Unfortunately, many agencies may have overextended themselves in the 1990’s by acquiring and developing recreation facilities such as parklands, fitness centers, and aquatics complexes without anticipating potential negative financial conditions. This struggle with operating costs may threaten the agencies’ ability to sustain these facilities, as well as the programs that have been implemented and whose delivery is dependent upon the utilization of such facilities. This dilemma may be the result of poor capital planning, inaccurate operating and/or maintenance planning. As a result, some multi-million dollar recreation facilities are poorly maintained, under-utilized, and in extreme cases, abandoned. Fortunately, there are public recreation agencies who have managed to maintain financial health while continuing to improve and expand facilities and services. This financial health is accomplished by piecing together an intricate puzzle consisting of various financial management practices, while maintaining public support through the adoption and continuously updating of a recreation and park comprehensive strategic plan.To further complicate the situation, some communities’ efforts to generate revenues through property tax increases, establishment of special taxes, and increased fees and charges have been met with stiff resistance from the public. Agency efforts to reduce operating costs through the reduction of operating hours, less frequent maintenance scheduling, and the purchasing of lower quality supplies and equipment are also publicly frowned upon. Fortunately, there are public recreation agencies who have managed to maintain financial health while continuing to improve and expand facilities and services. This financial health is accomplished by piecing together an intricate puzzle consisting of various financial manage ment practices while maintaining public support through the adoption and continuously updating of a recreation and park strategic plan.The purpose of this paper is to examine the finance system and structure of a county park and recreation department, Gwinnett County, Georgia, and to examine potential explanations for its financial health and stability by identifying unique management practices and philosophies, that when combined, contribute significantly to positive agency outcomes. Gwinnett County was chosen for examination because of its dedication to utilizing sophisticated and diverse methods of financing its recreation and park facilities and programs. A history of Gwinnett County recreation finance will be presented along with revenue sources, budget structure, and existing partnerships, while emphasizing the relationship between finance and a current recreation and park comprehensive strategic plan.
Sagamore Publishing LLC (hereinafter the “Copyright Owner”)
Journal Publishing Copyright Agreement for Authors
PLEASE REVIEW OUR POLICIES AND THE PUBLISHING AGREEMENT, AND INDICATE YOUR ACCEPTANCE OF THE TERMS BY CHECKING THE ‘AGREE TO THE TERMS OF THIS COPYRIGHT NOTICE’ CHECKBOX BELOW.
I understand that by submitting an article to Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, I am granting the copyright to the article submitted for consideration for publication in Journal of Park and Recreation Administration to the Copyright Owner. If after consideration of the Editor of the Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, the article is not accepted for publication, all copyright covered under this agreement will be automatically returned to the Author(s).
THE PUBLISHING AGREEMENT
Assignment of Copyright
I hereby assign to the Copyright Owner the copyright in the manuscript I am submitting in this online procedure and any tables, illustrations or other material submitted for publication as part of the manuscript in all forms and media (whether now known or later developed), throughout the world, in all languages, for the full term of copyright, effective when the article is accepted for publication.
Reversion of Rights
Articles may sometimes be accepted for publication but later be rejected in the publication process, even in some cases after public posting in “Articles in Press” form, in which case all rights will revert to the Author.
Retention of Rights for Scholarly Purposes
I understand that I retain or am hereby granted the Retained Rights. The Retained Rights include the right to use the Preprint, Accepted Manuscript, and the Published Journal Article for Personal Use and Internal Institutional Use.
All journal material is under a 12 month embargo. Authors who would like to have their articles available as open access should contact Sagamore-Venture for further information.
In the case of the Accepted Manuscript and the Published Journal Article, the Retained Rights exclude Commercial Use, other than use by the author in a subsequent compilation of the author’s works or to extend the Article to book length form or re-use by the author of portions or excerpts in other works.
Published Journal Article: the author may share a link to the formal publication through the relevant DOI.
- The Article I have submitted to the journal for review is original, has been written by the stated author(s) and has not been published elsewhere.
- The Article was not submitted for review to another journal while under review by this journal and will not be submitted to any other journal.
- The Article contains no libelous or other unlawful statements and does not contain any materials that violate any personal or proprietary rights of any other person or entity.
- I have obtained written permission from copyright owners for any excerpts from copyrighted works that are included and have credited the sources in the Article.
- If the Article was prepared jointly with other authors, I have informed the co-author(s) of the terms of this Journal Publishing Agreement and that I am signing on their behalf as their agent, and I am authorized to do so.