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Unity official questions park funds

| Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014, 11:45 p.m.

Unity Supervisor Mike O'Barto questioned the finan-ces of the Latrobe-Unity Parks and Recreation Commission during the public comment portion of the board's meeting on Thursday.

O'Barto asked for the total of the commission's savings account, which officials said contains three to four months of reserves.

The reserves are about $232,000, enough to sustain operations of the commission if there were an emergency need, Executive Director Jeanne Ashley said after the meeting.

“We can't operate on a shoestring budget. We have to be able to operate in a sound financial fashion,” she said.

O'Barto said after the meeting that he asked because the board does not present financial statements to the public at the monthly meetings, and he wants to ensure that the funds are managed responsibly through the rest of this year.

The 10-year intermunicipal agreement that joined the City of Latrobe and Unity Township in the commission will expire at the end of the year. It was not renewed by the township in 2012.

The commission's annual budget for 2014 is $668,631. The township contributes $161,866; the school district, $72,000; and the City of Latrobe, $59,700. Foundations contribute $43,100; the United Way, $18,400; and other sources, $313,565.

O'Barto asked the board how the school district's contributions are determined.

Greater Latrobe School District contributes a multiplier of a portion of the tax millage, depending on the year and the tax rate, according to the commission.

Commission member Sue Mains, who represents the school district, said she did not know the exact multiplier this year.

“We started paying because the parks and rec provides service to the district,” Mains said after the meeting.

The commission maintains and develops school district property, including the Memorial Recreation Area on Irving Avenue and John Street Parklet, in addition to fields at Legion-Keener Park, which also are used by the school district, Ashley said.

O'Barto said after the meeting that he believes that contributing groups have not seen the same benefits.

“All I'm looking for is equal representation. That's all I've looked for,” he said.

Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6660 or sfederoff@tribweb.com.

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