Wednesday, Jun 20, 2018
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West Unity will try again for park levy

WEST UNITY, Ohio - Village leaders are hoping the third time's the charm for their request for a larger park levy.

Council filed a request for a new 1-mill, five-year levy on the Nov. 8 ballot with the Williams County Board of Elections on Monday. If approved, it would raise about $25,000 a year for the village, at a cost of almost $31 a year to the owner of a $100,000 owner-occupied home.

The village has had such a 1-mill levy on the books for years. In recent years, it was collecting $21,700 annually at a cost of almost $25 for the owner of such a home with an effective rate of 0.81 mills.

But in November, when village leaders asked voters to replace the levy - a move that would have increased taxes for the owner of such a home by about $6 a year - the request was defeated by a vote of 403-434.

Previously, the issue passed easily. In 1999, a replacement that increased taxes passed, and in 1995 a renewal that kept taxes at what was then the current level was approved.

The denial in November took the levy off the books. So when council returned to the voters in May, the 1-mill, five-year issue was listed as a new levy. And it failed by a significantly wider margin, 217-292.

In the past, levy funds provided upkeep for the village's Memorial Park and subsidized its Little League. It helped operate the summer youth program that buses children to swimming pools eight miles away in Montpelier and Bryan three days a week and offers arts and crafts programs two days a week.

This year, without the levy, the park director donated her time to lead arts and crafts classes early in the summer, village fiscal officer Beth Rediger said.

Then Solid Rock Community Church in West Unity donated the use of its church bus, insurance, and fuel, and the pool trips began July 20 - a month later than usual. They will continue through Aug. 12.

And an anonymous donation of $2,500 received late last month will be used to pay the park director for part of her time and the bus driver.

Because of the donation, the village has charged children riding the bus $1 for admission to the pool, instead of $2 as it did last year. An average of 20 children take the village bus to the pool each day.

The village has not, however, subsidized Little League. It previously gave the program $1,500 a year and provided other benefits.

Council voted 5-0 Thursday to ask again for the larger levy. Council President Bob Boldman was absent.

"We're just hoping people realize we need it to keep the park going," Ms. Rediger said.

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