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Published: Wednesday, 8/11/2010

Bedford Twp. parks may get new millage try

BLADE STAFF

TEMPERANCE — A decision to go back to voters on the November ballot for millage to support the Bedford Township park system could be made at next Monday's park commission meeting.

“We will definitely discuss it at the next meeting,” said Pearl Albert-Green, park commission member.

For the fourth time in three years, voters last week rejected a millage issue to pay for operation and maintenance of township park lands. The five-year, 0.175-mill property tax was defeated 2,257-1,908. The issue lost in 12 of the township's 14 precincts. The issue was equally divided at 153-153 in the second district.

It won in the 14th precinct, which is composed of residents who live in the township's southeast corner.

Mrs. Albert-Green said the reason for the nearly 350-vote difference could be the community didn't understand the message the committee Parks 4 Bedford tried to communicate.

“They worked very hard to explain to people that the money would be only used for operation and maintenance of the township parks,” she said. “I don't know if people didn't understand that or maybe they are tired of paying taxes. I am still thinking that if all the people who use the parks got their families to vote yes, then we would have passed it.”

The issue was put to voters two years ago when voters rejected a 0.175-mill property tax by 199 votes. After the August, 2008, primary defeat, the park commission decided against returning to the ballot in the November election.

Mrs. Albert-Green said she is concerned about the future of township parks because of the township board's reluctance to fund operations with money from the general operating budget.

“The township is having financial problems because the state doesn't give as much money to the general fund. The township can't go on funding this all the time. It is like the roads. People complain about the roads, but I don't think they will vote for a road millage,” she said.

The township this year set aside $129,000 from the budget for park expenses, about $14,000 less than the previous year.

The deadline for the township board to act on a tax issue request from the park commission to place it on the November ballot is Aug. 24.



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