SHERIDAN — The Sheridan Recreation District has several big changes on the horizon, but staff and board members must collaborate quickly with their joint partners before officially setting anything in motion.
In the SRD Board of Directors meeting Wednesday, members considered establishing the nonprofit board of directors, but held off for more focused, in-depth conversations with the board’s consultant, Bob Wyatt, on the establishment of the status at a later date.
SRD Executive Director Seth Ulvestad presented the idea of reorganizing the district as an independent nonprofit organization to expand funding options to Sheridan City Council in a study session June 5, 2019, at the beginning of the month in which SRD’s contract expired with the city of Sheridan. SRD and the city agreed on a one-year contract and established an ad-hoc committee to work through logistics of SRD working under a nonprofit status.
The one-year contract — which expires June 30, 2020 — requires SRD maintain seven board members. Upon its expiration, the entities must mutually consent to an extension, modification or amendment to the contract for a set amount of time.
In Wednesday’s SRD board meeting, board member DJ Dearcorn noted language in the proposed nonprofit bylaws was weak, thus potentially creating issues down the road if a member of the nonprofit board went awry and attempted to manipulate any part of the nonprofit.
A lack of consensus on whether current SRD board members — consisting of president Jesse Swanke, vice president Casey Osborn, secretary Molly Steel, treasurer DJ Dearcorn, Thayer Shafer, Diana Riesen and Art Baures — would double as board members for the nonprofit. Shafer, Dearcorn and Osborn all mentioned the importance of keeping the two boards separate, similar to The Hub on Smith, who operates independently from its nonprofit sector.
“The 501c3 needs to stand as its own entity and be integral to itself and not just a piece of, a shadow of the board,” Shafer said, noting it is more attractive to donors if the two entities are separate. “It works two ways because the rec district could go awry, too, and if the rec district is failing, the board may not want to give them money right now from the 501c3 until they get sorted out.”
Ulvestad said he would follow up and set a time where Wyatt and board members could meet together to discuss logistics of the nonprofit.
Movement on establishing a nonprofit is critical, though, to moving forward with SRD’s joint entities, Sheridan County School District 2 and the city of Sheridan. SCSD2 and the city created the SRD per an agreement established June 23, 1998.
In reference to maintaining and updating recreation elements of the parks and recreation structure of the city of Sheridan, Ulvestad said tax revenue tightens the budget and the entity’s — as well as the city’s — ability to update some of the infrastructure.
City Public Works Director Lane Thompson told SRD’s board and staff members the city of Sheridan begins budget discussions in March, giving SRD a short amount of time to figure out the nonprofit status before again going before Sheridan City Council with a proposed plan for a reconfigured district under the city.
The ad hoc committee meets at 11:30 a.m. Thursday in Sheridan City Hall council chambers to discuss the future of the SRD partnerships.