RARA boosts its fund balance by $35,000

An unexpected increase in revenues at the Rochester Avon Recreational Authority (RARA) in 2018 led to a fourth quarter budget amendment that will add about $35,000 to the organization's fund balance, RARA Executive Director Ron Jewell told Rochester City Council on Monday, November 26.

Jewell said in September that revenue tied to memberships has increased by about 15 percent, with overall membership up by about 33 percent over the past seven years. At the time, Jewell had projected about $149,720 to be added to the organization's fund balance at the end of 2018. However, he said additional revenues and lower than expected expenses will boost the previous figure to about $187,204 – $40,000 more than anticipated.

Jewell said the increased revenues are tied to increases in activities, such as dance programs, day camps, volleyball, building rentals, fitness memberships, party rentals and investment earnings.

In December 2017, Jewell came under fire after he presented Rochester and Rochester Hills city councils with fourth quarter amendments that included an unexpected spend down of its fund balance by more than $600,000. The spending was related to the organization's new building.

RARA has traditionally maintained a fund balance of about 20 percent of overall expenditures, but last year's revelation brought that figure down to about one percent. The issue resulted in additional oversight of RARA's budget process, with Rochester Hills Chief Financial Officer Joe Snyder appointed as RARA's treasurer to provide additional financial oversight.

"We are happy to report good news on the fund balance," Jewell said on Monday. "It's been a tough year in planning and with staff changeover, but it's been very smooth and RARA has maintained a healthy fund balance. We are back on track."

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