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Published: Wednesday, 2/8/2006

Delta: Alternates being considered to pay for park operations

DELTA - Village Council has put off a decision on whether to ask voters to approve funding for park operations.

Delta's 1-mill park levy, which generates $43,000 annually, expires at the end of the year. Voters approved the measure five years ago.

Council earlier this week discussed the possibility of placing a five-year levy on the May ballot as a renewal or replacement issue. A renewal would bring in the same amount of money, and taxpayers would continue to pay the same amount, about $27 a year for an owner-occupied $100,000 home, said Gary Baker, village administrator. A replacement issue would cost that same homeowner an additional $3 a year, and overall, the replacement issue would generate $3,000 more than the renewal levy, or $46,000 a year.

A third option would be to let the levy expire, but without funding drastic cuts to the park's program would have to be made, officials said. Mayor Don Gerdes said that the village has a nice park, but that it does take money to run it.

Councilman Keith Lantz suggested that a renewal levy would be easier to pass because it wouldn't raise taxes when people are stretched dollarwise.

Filing deadline is Feb. 16. With council members Marcy LeFevre and Cathy Buehrer absent from the Monday night meeting, council lacked enough votes to proceed with an emergency measure to start the process to put a levy on the May ballot. Special sessions could have been called to meet the filing deadline, but council instead will wait and consider a November ballot issue.

Also during the meeting, Police Chief Garry Chamberlin told council that the police department has been awarded a federal grant that will pay for technology upgrades, including the replacement of four work stations. A fifth one will be added, and two laptops will be put in patrol vehicles to allow officers to work on reports in their cars, the chief said. When the officers return to the station, the reports can be transmitted to the office's network.

This new process means that police officers can stay out in the community while working on reports, increasing the police department's visibility in the village, the chief explained.

Total cost for the upgrades is $15,454 with the grant covering about $13,900 of that amount. The balance is being paid by the police department.



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