BG voters to decide park levy PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff   
Monday, 06 May 2013 09:27
Bowling Green voters will be asked to renew a long-time commitment to parks and recreation on Tuesday.
The city is seeking renewal of a 1.4-mill property tax levy for three years, starting Jan. 1, 2014.
Funds from the levy, which generated $634,000 in 2012, are used for repairs, maintenance, equipment, programs and services. The levy represents one-third of the parks and recreation budget. Other revenue for parks and recreation comes from a portion of the city income tax, fees and charges and donations.
The cost to the owner of a $100,000 home is $43 a year, according to figures provided by the parks and recreation department.
Director of Parks and Recreation Dr. Michelle Grigore points out that since 2007 revenue from the levy has been reduced 10 percent, due to changes in state tax law and declining property values.
She points to rising expenses caused by state-mandated raises in the minimum wage, which amount to $2 per hour per worker since 2007. With in excess of 90 seasonal workers, that has amounted to a $90,000 increase in salaries.
The staff has been reduced by 2.5 full-time equivalent employees and some adult sports have been cut.
There have also been reductions in the maintenance budget, along with less replacement of equipment. She said work is prioritized to meet the most critical needs and to prevent increased costs if maintenance is delayed too long.
Simpson Garden Park has been developed with the help of donations of money and citizen volunteers, while membership at the Community Center has doubled since 2006, without an increase in staff.
Among other projects and services she cited are:
• ADA accessibility improvements in the parks.
• Addition of new sports activities, summer camps, skills clinics and tournaments for youth.
• Working with area youth to design and build the skatepark at City Park.
• Restoration of Needle Hall at City Park, a structure more than 100 years old.
• Worked with Bowling Green State University construction management classes to construct and install boardwalks on wet trails and structures at Simpson Park.

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