Archived Story

City set for second try on rec levy

Published 12:00am Sunday, January 13, 2013

At its first meeting of the New Year, the Ironton City Council unanimously passed a resolution to put a renewal of the city’s recreation levy on the November general election ballot.

A renewal of the half-mill levy was defeated at the polls last November by a margin of 112 votes, but the recreation department will actually still be funded through 2013.

“Originally we thought it (the levy) ended in 2012 but it’s a year behind so we are fortunate to be able to continue our recreation services throughout this year,” said Mayor Rich Blankenship.

Blankenship said there would not be an increase in the levy, but that it is vitally important to maintain the city’s parks and youth activities.

“It is a daily chore to clean up at these parks and to keep them nice and neat and looking inviting to families to come and enjoy instead of having 30-year-old equipment in them,” Blankenship said. “We are trying our best to maintain what we have, but to improve upon that. We can’t do it all at one time because the money is not there. We are really striving to replace the equipment that is in need of replacing, maintaining the equipment that we have and providing a place for families to go and sit and cook out and enjoy the park, watch their kids play or just relax.”

The levy helps to maintain Moulton Field, Eighth Street Park, Etna Street Park and the Splash Park on Second Street, as well as operate the youth basketball league and cheerleading.

“That’s something we don’t want to lose for these youngsters,” Blankenship said. “I think it’s vitally important, not only for our kids but for anyone who wants to come in and see what we have.”

Blankenship also noted that even though youth football programs are not funded through the recreation department, the rec director still gives a lot of time to the program.

“They don’t just cut grass,” he said. “I invite anyone to go down there and look at those boys and girls playing ball on Saturday and then want to tell them “No, we can’t do this next year.”

In other business:

• Council unanimously approved Blankenship’s recommendation to appoint Ryan Watts as water treatment superintendent.

Watts, who has worked for the city for about a decade, will replace long-time superintendent Mark White, who recently retired after 10 years in that position.

“Ryan has stepped up and I’m optimistic to have him do that,” Blankenship said.

Watts will be responsible for overseeing the water distribution crew, manage the billing offices and water meters, as well as handle EPA paperwork, maintenance issues such as water line breaks and all operations of the water treatment plant.

Watts is currently a Class 3 operator working towards his Class 4 certification.

• Council had third readings to and adopted ordinances 12-83 authorizing and directing the mayor to execute a change order with Fields Excavating for reconstruction work performed for the north Ironton sanitary sewer separation project and declare it an emergency; 12-84 authorizing and directing the mayor to enter into a contract with Ohio University Southern and declare it an emergency; and 12-82 authorizing and directing the mayor to execute an agreement with Doll Layman Ltd., for replacement of the grit collector and bar screen at the wastewater treatment plant and declare it an emergency.

• Council had first reading of ordinance 13-03 authorizing the mayor to award bids for the purchase of chemicals for the year 2013.

• Passed resolution 13-01 authorizing participation in the Lawrence County Shared Services program.

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  • SRG

    If we can’t even come together as a community for the kids, we should keep our mouth shut when nothing positive seems to happen. No, they may not be your kids, by birth, but this is all one community like it or not, and the improvement of circumstances for the kids of the community, obviously benefits us all. Do I really have to elaborate?

    This desire to be left alone to only pay for the things we use is all good until something we need from the community is unavailable and then the same folk will complain the loudest. This isn’t that much money. Talk about a race to the bottom!

    (Report comment)

  • citizenkane

    From your comment pinkpearl, I would assume that these youth leagues are self sufficient and don’t need any tax payer dollars.Is that correct? Then why is the Recreation Dept. funding them?

    (Report comment)

  • pinkpearl6886

    As a parent whos children plays Football, Baseball, Softball and Basketball I want to say We pay so our kids can play and Fundraisers we buy the stuff most of the time instead of asking people Like the 50 bucks for candy bars we just pay and pass them out or the kids eat them. We also pay every time to get into games and food and drinks and we also do our time in concession stand Clean up and anything else that has to be done. And we are not the only ones there is alot of parents who do the same thing year after year

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  • Poor Richard

    Mayor Blankenship, I understand your frustration but I think it has alot to do with the culture here. Most areas of the U.S., including Ohio, would jump at the chance to provide recreation opportunities to its citizens and children, in fact, many locations spend millions to maintain recreation since it goes along with their quality of life, it’s apart of who they are and living without it is not an option. I’ve been in several Ohio cities no bigger than Ironton that have a soccer field, tennis courts, swimming pool, indoor gym — all paid for by the city.

    Keeping a city clean, maintaining a strong economy, preserving historical downtowns, and working together affords great rewards. When we have so many citizens here in southern Ohio with the opinion that recreation means up and down the road on an ATV, shooting automatic weapons off their backporch, hanging out at a drug house to get high, or wondering who they can steal from next since they are too lazy to work, well, not exactly the kind of culture that appreciates cleanliness, gardens, bike trails, boating, tours, conservatories, and art museums, …etc. I suspect that is why there are NONE.

    The only way I ever see the Ohio side of the river improving is if all the bridges were closed to WV and KY which is a very sad realization!

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  • citizenkane

    There should be limits on the number of times issues can be put on the ballot. Government entities just continue to add the issue until they either wear the electorate out or find an election with small enough turnout to squeak it through. Remember the Ironton New School Levy? As to the Recreation levy, my personal opinion is that we citizens should continue to fund improvements to our parks. However, the funding of the grade school basketball program should fund themselves. Parents should be willing to ante up money and have fund raisers to generate whatever they need to give “THEIR” children this recreation.None of my tax dollars should fund this one small specific group.

    (Report comment)

    • Digi

      I totally agree with you. What about people with no children? Is it fair that they pay for ball fields? These should be funded by the leagues and fund raisers not taxes. Yes the youth programs are important, but parents need to step up and get involved if they want their children to participate get out there and raise funds like other leagues do all around us.

      (Report comment)

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