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What is Penny for Parks?

The Penny for Parks (PFP) funds were approved by the voters as a parks improvement fund and are supported by a dedicated tax.  By resolution, Penny for Parks is to be used exclusively for capital improvement needs.  Eligible projects include the repair, renovation, replacement, or expansion of existing park facilities as well as the construction of new facilities in existing parks.  Funds not spent in one year carry over to the following fiscal year and remain in this special fund for this purpose until spent. 


Please see the full 2008 Resolution "Special City Meeting – Proposed Charter Change Re: Penny for Parks Resolution Authorized”.


General management practices for the fund inherently require appropriations to be responsive to: emerging projects, neighborhood/community interests and values, trends in park development, capital initiatives, public/private partnerships, emergency repairs including natural disasters.  It is in this spirit that the Department has managed these funds since the program’s inception.


The 2008 Resolution specifies identifying an annual budgeting process to be authorized by the City Council.  The targeted improvement categories for this budgeting process are outlined below:


Playground Replacement/Improvement              $40,000.00

Court Repair and Resurfacing                           $20,000.00

Bike Path Repairs                                             $30,000.00

Building Repairs and Renovations                      $40,000.00

Athletic Field Renovations                                 $40,000.00

General Park Repairs                                        $50,000.00

Road & Walkway Repair/Replacement              $30,000.00

Community Garden Renovations                       $5,000.00

Reserve Fund                                                   $100,000.00

Estimated Annual Budget                                  $355,000.00*


*Annual receipts result from the Grand List.

Department documents further assert that reserve funds are to be used across various projects, not necessarily appropriated to a specific category, allowing the city to be responsive to critical needs and maximize opportunities.


The financial process defines that annually the City Council shall approve the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP).  This is the extent of the guidance provided by the Resolution.  This year, for the first time, the City Council approved the appropriations of the FY12 Penny for Parks work plan as part of this budget process. 


Please see the full June 27, 2011 Resolution "Appropriation of the General Fund Capital Improvements and the Penny for Parks budgets for Fiscal Year 2012.”


Five-Year Plan

The Department acknowledges the benefits of having a five-year Penny for Parks plan, and, while not mandated, is working toward the development of this tool.


Implementation of the five-year plan has been initiated based on input from the Department, residents, and the Parks and Recreation Commission.  Staff has completed the first steps, which were to reconcile and account for all project funds appropriated and spent since the program’s initiation.


Do you have a project?

Do you have a parks improvement project you would like to suggest for the Penny for Parks project list?  Email your suggestion to jsfrancis@burlingtonvt.gov identifying it as a Penny for Parks submission.  Thanks!


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