Rec levy renewal on ballot

Published 9:03 am Friday, October 27, 2017

If fails, parks, leagues at risk

Ironton voters will decide the fate of the city recreation levy on Nov. 7.

The levy is a renewal of an already existing levy, which means there are no additional costs.
Brett Thomas, the Ironton Recreation director, said the levy has been in effect for decades.

“The money goes directly towards a couple of programs and taking care of the six parks we have,” he said. The programs include a youth basketball program used by 2,500 kids, grades three through six, and men’s and women’s softball leagues that will start next summer.

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The renewal is a half-mill levy that brings in about $68,000 annually. The cost of the levy to the owner of a $100,000 home is $4.15 a month or $50 a year, for a $80,000 home it is $3.33 a month or $40 a year and for a $50,000 home it is $2.08 a month or $25 a year.

A small portion of the levy is used for Thomas’ salary and two seasonal, part-time workers. The rest is for maintenance and to run the leagues.

“If the levy fails, then the city will have to come out of either the general fund or somewhere else to fund getting grass cutting, equipment,” Thomas said. “Even the leagues, we do have registration fees, but you have to have operating costs covered before you get into the season. It would be a very big, substantial loss to the city if the levy were not passed. It will put a damper on another fund somewhere else.”

The city doesn’t track how many people use the parks every year, but Thomas notes that the spray park attracts 50 or more people a day during the summer months.

“And not just people from Ironton,” he said. “People come from out of town, use the spray park and then go eat somewhere. It’s very nice, it’s a big attraction.”

Ironton Mayor Katrina Keith said that without a recreation levy, the general fund is unable to maintain the parks.

“Once the equipment breaks, I cant foresee purchasing new equipment. The only maintenance that we will be able to provide is cutting the grass,” she said. “And that will be a chore since we don’t have adequate staff to perform these services.”

She added that they would no longer have the funds necessary to offer youth basketball in the winter and the city could face the possibility of losing the spray park.

“It’s imperative we pass this levy,” Keith said. “Providing an active recreation department we are able to help empower our youth, in-still positive attitudes, self discipline and self control. With so many cuts being made to the city’s workforce in the past, I would hate to have to now cut recreation services for our children.”