Ironton levy again up for renewal

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 27, 2022

Proctorville voters will decide on two levies

Additional reporting by Heath Harrison

This spring, a levy for recreational activities in Ironton failed and Ironton City Council president Chris Haney has a couple theories on why that was.

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One, is that it was a primary election which always has the lowest number of voters.

Two, it was on the same ballot as a proposed county tax, which also failed as a ballot measure.

“I think that the general public thought the rec levy was also an increase,” Haney said, adding that the rec levy was a continuing levy, meaning that it wasn’t going to raise taxes, just continue it at the same rate that it has been at for years.

“Its been a .5 mil levy for at least 15 years, if not longer than that,” Haney said. “This is a renewal, so there is no increase in the tax. You’re not going to pay more than you are now.”

The .5 mil levy is 35 percent of the assessed value of a piece of property, which means that if the it is valued at $100,000 the total tax is $17.50 for a year.

The money goes to support the city’s parks including the Etna Street, Pocket Park, Eighth Street Park, the Splash Park and the Moulton’s Field Park. Two other parks in town, Beechwood and Ninth Street, are private and don’t belong to the city.

The rec levy is back on the ballot for the Nov. 8 election and Haney said the council has been trying to better inform voters about the levy.

“This gives us an opportunity to better explain it and how we are expanding and how we want to expand recreational opportunities for the community,” Haney said.

One recent expansion was two basketball leagues for the younger residents of the city, the Ironton Recreation League now has an instructional league for kids in Kindergarten- second grade and teams for third-sixth graders.

Haney is also looking to expand pickleball opportunities.

“The pickleball courts get uses a lot. If it is a nice day, the courts are always being used” he said. “So we would like to have a pickleball league. And we would like to continue our pickleball tournament during the Memorial Day weekend.”

Another important factor is that it is easier to get state and federal grants if the town has recreational funds to help pay for part of the project.

“It is so much easier to go after grants if we have some money for the project,” Haney said. The walking path along the Ohio River was paid for with grant money and Haney said the council would like to see the path expanded throughout the city.

They would also like to do things like improve the Storms Creek access, make improvements at Moultens Field and improve access to the Ohio River for boats as well as put in new restrooms at the riverfront.

“To do any of that, we have to have matching funds for grants,” Haney said. “If a town can pay for the first phase, entities like the Ohio Department of Natural Resources are more likely to help pay for the second and third phase. Basically, if you show you have skin in the game, they are more likely to help.”

He added that the goal of the recreation levy is to give the community recreational opportunities.

“No one wants to sit at home all the time,” Haney said. “And we want to bring in these opportunities to help build pride in the community.”

In the village of Proctorville, voters are being asked to vote on both a police and fire levy.

Mayor Rick Dunfee said police and fire have been long funded by such measures.

“We need people to vote for these,” Dunfee said. “We’ve got to have police and we’ve got have fire.”

Dunfee pointed out that the police levy is a renewal of 3.3 mills for five years.

“It won’t raise anyone’s taxes,” he said.

The Fire protection levy is for additional 1.5 mill for a continuing period of time.