Justifying budget requests

Here are some great thoughts from STMA members on working your budget goals:

“I find sometimes even for us it is hard to get enough labor to do the work and labor is the highest part of the cost of your budget. Owners can have a hard time with this but you need to have people to operate the equipment and do the tasks needed for the job. I always tell people, ‘you can get fired now for wanting things to do your job, or wait and get fired when things are not done to the [boss’s] liking, it is your choice’.”-Joel White, turf manager for Toyota Park, Bridgeview, IL

“For me, not having an actual budget for our facility, but rather pulling from the department’s overall budget, the past couple years we have been able to better track the amount of usage on our fields, especially for our field marking paint expense; last year alone it went up 40% from the previous year.  On turf maintenance, we have been able to show the benefits of being aggressive with our cultural practices to reduce the use of synthetic pesticides. The only product we used in the past year was a preventative for grubs.”-Rick Perruzzi CSFM, CPRP, South Portland (ME) Department of Parks, Recreation and Waterfront

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“Regardless if it’s a capital or operating request, self-implemented due diligence is the key along with providing the necessary information and documentation to back it up. We researched autonomous paint robots for over 3 years. During that time we saw numerous in the field, real life demonstrations. We made sure we saw the unit on our fields and our staff had the opportunity to see it and ask questions. We brought in IT staff, mechanics, management, and anyone else that might have input. We did demonstrations of all other competing manufacturers; we wanted to see everything that was available before making our decision.  To justify to our Board we showed videos to give a visual and compiled a detailed cost saving analysis using current methods vs. potential new methods. We also contacted other agencies that owned the machine to get their unfiltered opinions. Ultimately if the budget request is needed then you have to believe it yourself and do the homework to back it up.”-Noel T. Brusius, CSFM, SportsPark and Athletic Field Maintenance Supervisor, Waukegan (IL) Park District

“We justify our budget requests on a number of factors, including historical data. We track varying assets based on life cycle and overall use (popularity of the function, or sport), unique aspects, and/or “one of a kind” characteristic of our facilities. User requests and petition to the agency typically factor in to where limited dollars are spent as well.”-John Cogdill, Park Turf and Irrigation Manager, Boulder (CO) Parks