Rec levy renewal on ballotPublished 10:19am Friday, October 25, 2013
Voters turned it down in 2012
A levy renewal that failed to pass in November 2012 is back on the ballot for this year’s election.
The City of Ironton recreation levy has been in place for many years and will expire on Dec. 31, 2013, if not passed in November.
“It is a replacement levy, not an increase,” Rich Blankenship, Ironton mayor, said. “It’s the same amount residents of Ironton have been paying for years and years.”
The City of Ironton oversees and maintains six parks. The five-year levy is for a half mill, equating to 5 cents per $100 of a home’s value.
“If we are going to keep our parks clean, it has to be renewed,” Blankenship said. “That revenue is necessary to improve our city’s parks.”
The levy’s valuation generates roughly $85,000 a year, from which one full-time employee’s salary and benefits are paid along with one part-time seasonal employee’s salary.
“We rely on some donations,” Blankenship said. “We use donated money to buy or repair equipment. No donations go towards anyone’s salary or anything like that.”
The one employee to whom Blankenship refers is Ironton Parks and Recreation Director Brett Thomas, who has been in his position for almost seven years.
“We — meaning me and a part-time employee — cut over 22 acres of grass every week in the summer,” Thomas said. “In the winter time it’s just me and we have 250 kids in our youth basketball league along with 80 cheerleaders. There are some Saturdays I stay at the Ironton Elementary School gym from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and I don’t get overtime. I don’t care to stay that long because I love it and it’s my job.”
Thomas said he has not discussed the future of his position with city officials in the event the levy fails to pass.