Thursday, Jan 19, 2017
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Olander parks to put tax levy on ballot

Olander Park System officials today decided to put a property tax levy that accounts for most of the park district’s budget on the ballot for the next general election. Their other options included filing to be on the May ballot for a special election or to be on the primary election ballot in September.

“It’s very low-turn out,” parks commissioner John Zeitler said of a special election. “Plus, I think this gives us time to gear up a campaign instead of trying to rush it.”

The move is necessary after parks officials last year failed to file the required paperwork to place a proposed 0.8-mill levy on the November, 2016, ballot. That levy was to generate $1.093 million a year and replace a 0.5-mill levy, which expired in December, 2016.

The park system’s budget will take a hit this year without the property tax revenue, and two full-time and two part-time employees were laid off to curb costs. The remaining four employees also saw their salaries cut this year.

Lucas County Board of Elections director Gina Kaczala estimated it would cost between $30,000 and $48,000 for the Olander Park System to hold a special election because they likely would have been the only entity with an issue on the ballot. That factored in to the commissioners’ decision to hold off until November.

“I think its probably the best decision. It’s too costly to do it as a special election,” board chairman Harold McElmurry said.

Officials said they will firm up details such as how much the request will be for at their meeting in February.

Contact Sarah Elms at: selms@theblade.com or 419-724-6103 or on Twitter @BySarahElms.

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