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Published: Tuesday, 8/24/2010

Bedford Twp. won't request Nov. parks levy

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

TEMPERANCE - Bedford Township residents will not vote on new millage any time soon to pay for maintenance and operation of park land.

The park commission decided last week against returning to the ballot in November with a levy request. A five-year, 0.175-mill levy request failed Aug. 3, the fourth defeat in three years to fund park operations.

Park commission member Pearl Albert-Green said levy fatigue may have played into the panel's decision.

"This was the fourth time. We felt that people would ask how many times will they run that before they really get sick of it," she said.

However, the board didn't rule out going back to voters in the future.

"We decided we would meet with the township finance committee and discuss it," Mrs. Albert-Green said. "There maybe a better time later on when we will have more information or when we will have more public meetings."

The levy request, which would have raised about $175,000 annually, failed by 349 votes. In the August, 2008, primary, the same millage proposal fell short of passage by 199 votes.

The township twice asked voters to approve a 0.30-mill park funding issue in 2006 - in August and November, and it failed.

Mrs. Albert-Green said the park commission examined aspects for the failure of the August levy, including voter fatigue with tax issues and misunderstanding on how the money would be spent.

Without an influx of money, Mrs. Albert-Green is concerned that the fences, playground equipment, recreational fields, and other equipment on the nearly 84 acres of developed park could fall into disrepair.

The township board this year cut $14,000 from the budget for park expenses.

"The parks are in very good condition because we used to have the money to do that," she said. "Each year, we cut back on our budget, and when it comes to park maintenance and operations we may have to cut back even more."

Sylvia Lennex of Lambertville said commission members made the right decision in not going back to the ballot.

She said the township's timing in asking for the millage after spending nearly a $1 million for the government center was questionable.

"Personally, for me it's not about the dollars. It is the principle of the thing. I think there is money, but they need to be spending it more wisely," she said.



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