The Blaine County Recreation District board of directors on Monday adopted a $5.78 million fiscal 2020 budget that Executive Director Jim Keating called “the largest budget ever in terms of expenses.”

Major expenditures include construction of a second pool at the Aquatic Center in Hailey, developing a parking lot at Quigley Canyon in Hailey and buying a new PistenBully machine to groom Nordic trails in the valley.

Though the budget shows a $753,000 deficit, it is balanced; the BCRD has been saving up for these larger projects, and still has additional grant money coming in.

“In a 10-year profile, one year you may see surplus because we’re accruing dollars to spend in different years,” Keating said. “This $753,000 expense—yes, we actually have the money because we’ve been accruing it, in addition to further revenue coming in.”

A large portion of the budget is dedicated to the development at Quigley, which is a long-term project. Many of the “Quigley dollars,” as Keating called them, have already been received and raised, to be used on the project in coming years.

“We’ve never seen this scale of fundraising before,” said Keating, regarding the Quigley development.

BCRD board President Mike Burchmore said, “We’ll be working on stuff at Quigley for three, five, seven years. I wish we could do it in one year, but we’re thoughtful about spending money wisely.”

The Aquatic Center project includes the addition of a leisure pool along with renovations to the existing lap pool. Keating said the district needs to budget not just for the capital project, but for additional expenses following it. Just this summer, the BCRD has seen an increase in pool use. With the new renovations, the pool will have a larger capacity, and the district is expecting a continued increase in use. With an additional pool comes new, higher operating costs, which means a slight increase in Aquatic Center fees.

“In about 19 years, we haven’t adjusted program fee pricing—and that’s great, we’ve never really wanted to,” Keating said. “There will be slight changes in price, but we want to continue to include as many folks as possible and not price anyone out. We want to get ahead of these things, so we don’t have to make any major, aggressive changes later.”

The public is taking notice of the BCRD’s projects.

“We love what you’re doing,” said Ted Angle, Galena Trails and Advisory Committee member in attendance at Monday’s meeting. “Keep up the great work.”

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