COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

 

AGENDA TITLE:

Darden Towe Park Agreement

 

SUBJECT/PROPOSAL/REQUEST:

Approval of revised agreement recommended by the Darden Towe Park Committee.

 

STAFF CONTACT(S):

Messrs. Tucker, White, Davis, Mullaney

 

LEGAL REVIEW:   Yes

 

AGENDA DATE:

June 6, 2007

 

ACTION:                                INFORMATION:   

 

CONSENT AGENDA:

      ACTION:   X                     INFORMATION:   

 

ATTACHMENTS:   Yes

 

REVIEWED BY:

 

 

BACKGROUND:

In 1985, the City and County executed an option agreement to purchase property which now constitutes Darden Towe Park.  In February of 1986, both jurisdictions entered into an agreement which exercised this option and delineated City and County responsibilities for the development, operation, and maintenance of the property as a park and recreation area. This agreement is now over 20 years old and does not address current operational responsibilities or the function and make-up of the Darden Towe Park Committee. In recognition of the shortcomings of the existing agreement, The Director of the City Parks and Recreation Department and the Director of the County Parks and Recreation Department jointly developed a revised agreement for consideration by the Darden Towe Park Committee. At the February 21, 2007 meeting of this Committee, a motion was adopted recommending that the Board of Supervisors and City Council authorize the execution of the attached agreement.

 

STRATEGIC PLAN:

Park facilities enhance the quality of life for Albemarle County residents and also protect the County’s natural resources.

 

DISCUSSION:

The major revisions to the agreement are summarized as follows:

 

  1. Much of the original agreement addressed funding responsibilities for the purchase of the property as well as the first three phases of development of the Park. Since this work is now complete, this language is removed from the agreement.
  2. The original mechanism for allocating annual funding responsibilities for Park operations between the City and the County was never instituted and was ultimately replaced with a formula built upon daily County/City vehicle sticker census counts.  Since the City has eliminated its vehicle decal program, this methodology is obsolete.  Accordingly, the proposed agreement divides annual funding responsibility based on the population of the two localities.
  3. The current method of charging the City softball league program for field use is unwieldy especially in light of the fact that the City provides the programs equally for both localities. Therefore, the provision to charge this program an additional fee is eliminated.
  4. The agreement establishes a new five year term effective July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2012.
  5. The membership and role of the Darden Towe Park Committee are described in the agreement.

 

 

These revisions are discussed in more detail below:

 

Deletions/revisions from the original agreement:

 

SECTION I.  PURPOSE - This section has been restated eliminating references to the property purchases and the Joint City-County Park Report dated February 10, 1986.

 

SECTION II.  PLAN OF DEVELOPMENT and SECTION III.  APPROPRIATIONS - These sections have been eliminated entirely as they pertain to the three development phases which have been completed.

 

SECTION IV.  ALLOCATION OF COSTS - References to the first three development stages and an entry station attendant to collect fees from non residents and to monitor park usage are eliminated since the City and County have determined that the staffing costs associated with an entry station would exceed the expected revenue collections.

 

 

SECTION V.  PARK OWNERSHIP - References to the acquisition of contiguous properties are eliminated since all affected properties have been acquired.    The contiguous properties referenced in this section referred to the Snow and Bosely properties which bordered the Mahanes’ property. The Mahanes’ property was the initial property acquired for the Park.  The Snow and Bosely properties were subsequently acquired and are now part Park property. 

 

SECTION VI.  SUPERVISORY COMMITTEE - This section has been eliminated along with the formal designation and role of the staff supervisory committee.  Staff supervision of the park has been revised as stated under SECTION V.  PARK SUPERVISION in the new agreement.

 

SECTION VIII.  NIGHT LIGHTING AND SOFTBALL - The original agreement prohibited night lighting of competitive sport facilities in the first three development stages.  The new agreement recognizes the history of the lighting issue and requires mutual agreement of the City and County before any lighting of sport or other recreation facilities is installed.

 

SECTION XIII.  BREACH OF AGREEMENT and SECTION X.  NAMING OF THE PARK - These sections have been eliminated since they are no longer applicable.

 

Mechanism for determining allocation of costs:

The original agreement called for annual Park operating costs to be determined according to the percentage of actual park usage by residents of the two localities, averaged over the most recent two years.  Usage was to be monitored by an attendant at an entry station who would also collect a fee from residents of jurisdictions other than the City and the County. The City and County later agreed that it would be cost prohibitive to staff an entry station and decided instead to base park usage on a vehicle sticker count taken once per day in the parking lots.  The City/County agreement was never formally amended to reflect this change.  With the recent decision by the City to eliminate its vehicle decal program, the revised method is no longer viable.  Staff is recommending that costs be allocated based on the populations of the two localities according to the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service Annual Population Report, with the 2006 Weldon Cooper data being used for the allocation of costs for the period from July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2012.

 

The FY 2006-2007 budget divides the funding responsibility for the Park at 64.2% for the County and 35.8% for the City.  This is based on the average of the past two years use and dividing equally the responsibility for non resident use.  Examining just County and City use over the past 5 years, County usage has averaged 68.5% vs. 31.5% for the City.  Based on the Weldon Cooper estimates from 2000 through 2005, the estimated City/County population for 2006 is 131,700 with 91,800 (69.7%) being County residents and 39,900 (30.3%) being City residents.  It is recommended that the final agreed upon shares for the upcoming 5 year period be determined when the final 2006 Weldon Cooper numbers become available in 2007.

 

In agreeing to this higher percentage share for the County, it is recognized that Towe Park will be receiving increasing neighborhood use by County residents due to growth in the Pantops area residential population and that Pen Park, which is solely funded by the City, receives significant use by County residents.

 

Elimination of City softball fee for field use:

The City administers a softball league program with primary game sites at McIntire Park, PVCC, and the Park.  In the original agreement, a portion of the revenue derived from this program, after deducting program expenses, were to return to the Park as revenue based on the volume of total games played at the Park.  Since league expenses vary from year to year due to facility repairs and the maintenance needs at the other two (2) locations, the City league program has never been a reliable source of revenue for the Park and the computation of what constitutes a fair share is unnecessarily confusing.  Both Directors agree that since the City administers the softball program equally for residents of both the City and County, and that the City is already paying an agreed upon share for the maintenance of the Park, there should be no additional fee paid by the City for this program.  In agreeing to this, it is recognized that when administering a program as large and complex as the City softball program, there are indirect costs to the locality which are not accounted for when determining program fees.

 

Five year term of agreement:

The original agreement is over 20 years old and outdated.  The recommended term for this agreement is five years from July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2012. 

 

Darden Towe Park Committee:

The Darden Towe Park Committee evolved from the City/County committee which negotiated the original agreement and guided the original development of the park but was not recognized in the original agreement.  The new agreement identifies the membership and role of the Darden Towe Park Committee.

 

BUDGET IMPACT:

The County share of funding for FY 06-07 is $161,939 while the City share is $90,302.  Concurrently with reviewing the agreement, City and County staff have reviewed the operating budget.  Through realigning responsibilities, purchasing new equipment, and attaining other efficiencies (including the elimination of the time consuming daily sticker count), one (1) full time staff position was eliminated from the budget.  The combination of the increased County share for funding coupled with the reduced operating budget decreases the County’s funding for FY 07-08 by approximately $10,850 or 7%.  The combination of the decreased City share and reduced operating budget will decrease the City funding for FY 07-08 by approximately $24,600 or 27%.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS:

Staff recommends that the Board of Supervisors adopt the attached resolution authorizing its Chairman to sign the new agreement being recommended by the Darden Towe Park Committee.

 

 

ATTACHMENTS

A - Original Agreement

B - Revised Agreement

C - Resolution

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