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MetroParks seeks levy

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Vivian Moon View Drop Down
MUSA Council
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    Posted: Mar 07 2016 at 6:10pm

Posted: 5:15 p.m. Monday, March 7, 2016

MetroParks seeks levy renewal and increase

By Ed Richter

Staff Writer


Voters next week will consider Issue 6, a six-year levy renewal and increase to fund MetroParks of Butler County, an action that MetroParks officials say will allow for improvements at some of its 4,500 acres of land across the county..

MetroParks is seeking to renew its current 0.5-mill levy and a 0.2-mill increase to fund its operations starting in 2017. The current revenues for the park district with the current 0.5-mill levy are $3.4 million.

If voters approve the request during the March 15 primary election, it would generate about $5.16 million for the parks system.

The renewal and increase would cost the owner of a home valued at $100,000 would be $24.50 a year or about seven cents a day or an additional $9.19 a year, according to an estimate from the Butler County Auditor’s Office.

The current 0.5-mill levy costs that same owner of a home valued at $100,000 about $15.31 a year.

“The funding will be used to keep the parks open, clean and safe,” said Kelly Barkley, MetroParks senior manager of community relations. “In addition, when the parks are open, they are a real asset to the county.”

Mark Hecquet, executive director of the Butler County Visitors Bureau, said the Voice of America Park in West Chester Twp. attracted some 40,000 spectators and participants from 14 major events assisted by the visitors bureau. He said those events alone represented a direct economic impact of just under $4 million and about $13 million in overall economic impact to the county.

“Certainly the VOA park has been a tremendous economic benefit not only to the surrounding area around VOA park but to the entire county,” he said.

Barkley also said levy revenues have also helped to fund various partnerships, collaborations and sponsorships for capital projects, including the proposed River Center facility in Middletownas well as the expansion of the sports fields at Voice of America Park in West Chester Twp. andworking with the city of Fairfield on its Marsh Park expansion.

MetroParks is working on other partnerships with other communities to improve recreational opportunities as well, including its purchase last year of Weatherwax Golf Course in Middletown.

“We’ve received a lot of positive feedback,” Barkley said. “Passage of the levy would be a vote of confidence that we’re doing our jobs.”

MetroParks’ levy revenues help to maintain the parks as well as subsidize most programming costs for county residents, Barkley said. In addition, all county residents, which she calls the “park customers and owners,” can obtain a free motor vehicle permit to access all of the parks.

The increase was needed, she said, as state budget cuts has cut its funding for parks by 50 percent and that operational and maintenance costs have increased due to increased park visitation. Barkley said without the levy funding, MetroParks would need to close parks and/or reduce park maintenance as it does not receive any funding from the county’s General Fund.

ISSUE 6: MetroParks of Butler County six-year 0.5-mill renewal and 0.2-mill increase

·                       Would cost a property owner $24.50 per $100,000 of taxable value a year, which is broken down at $15.31 for the renewal and $9.19 for the additional millage.

Projected levy expenditures:

·                       63 percent for operational expenses such as maintenance, programming, utilities, safety, land stewardship and management.

·                       9 percent for repairs and replacements such as updating worn-out infrastructure, playgrounds, restrooms, pavement, athletic fields, trails/walkways and buildings.

·                       28 percent for capital improvements for construction of new facilities, local match for state and other grants, and for planning and design.

Source: MetroParks of Butler County; Butler County Auditor’s Office


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Bill View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bill Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 08 2016 at 9:46am
I'm guessing the fans of Weatherwax won't be voting for this levy due to the scheming by Metroparks and Myron Bowling to rob Middletown of the golf course.
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middletownscouter View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote middletownscouter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 08 2016 at 9:50am
I'm generally a fan of parks in general (as if my username didn't give that away) but for this one I'm kind of conflicted after the bait and switch the county commissioners pulled after the 2010 metroparks levy passed by cutting funding to the metroparks by $400,200.
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itsamee View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote itsamee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 10 2016 at 9:37am
Huh. I think this is cheaper than the Senior Center bailout of a couple years ago. I would much rather vote for the parks than a country club for old people.  At least I can use the parks. 
Itsa me, mario!
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