OLD SAYBROOK — Harvey’s Beach and mini golf games showed a hearty increase in gross income of 13 percent during the 2019 beach season compared to last year, which the town’s parks director said was likely due to consistently warm and sunny weather during summer weekends.
“I think we had a really good summer. The weather always plays a major factor in what we’re doing in our summer facilities,” said Parks and Recreation Director Raymond Allen. “If you recall this summer every weekend was beautiful and that certainly is a factor. Our weekends tend to be more busy than during the weeks.”
From May to October of 2019, Old Saybrook Parks and Recreation took in $331,966 from mini-golf, Harvey’s Beach, concessions, and beach passes, according to income totals shared with the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday. That total was $292,850 in the previous year.
Allen said that the town’s beaches at the mouth of the Connecticut River have consistently made it a successful tourist attraction.
“Our location right at the mouth of the river is great and has a beautiful vista,” Allen said. Plus, I think it’s an affordable family activity. At $5 per person you can buy a day of fun for a family of four for just $20.”
Harvey’s Beach parking and town beach concessions in particular were both up about 27.5 in revenue from Memorial Day to Labor Day as compared to last year.
Harvey’s Beach parking revenue went up 27.5 percent from $62,180 in 2018 to $79,276 in 2019, and town beach concessions similarly went up 27.5 percent from $14,494.75 in 2018 to $18,491.75 in 2019.
The town’s total recreation budget for 2019-20 is about $577,200.
Mini-Golf at Saybrook Point and concessions as the mini-golf course together brought in $192,688 over the 2019 season. That’s up about 11 percent from 2018’s mini-golf revenue of $173,710.
The mini golf course’s budget for fiscal year 2019-20 was just about $65,500. In 2018-19, that budget was $63,500.
Parks income is the second highest grossing source of local revenue generated through town services, behind only the fees collected by the town clerk’s office. First Selectman Carl Fortuna, speaking after Tuesday’s Board of Selectmen meeting, said that these services help to reduce local taxes.
In a budget description book for the 2019-20 budget, the Board of Selectmen’s office projected that local revenues from all these services would be about $1,254,400 in 2019-20.
Of that $1.25 million parks, parks was projected to provide about $300,000. But the recently reported totals shows parks revenue exceeding that projection by about $30,000.
A million dollars in local revenue would be equal to roughly about a half of a mill off the town’s property rate tax rate, Fortuna said Tuesday.
Old Saybrook’s mill rate for fiscal year 2019-20 is 19.75, meaning residents pay $19.75 in local taxes for every $1,000 of taxable local property they own. The town’s annual budget (for both the town and schools) for fiscal year 2019-20, approved by the voters at referendum in May, is about $46.5 million.