LIMA — The Johnny Appleseed Metropolitan Park District will be on the May 7 primary ballot with a 10-year, 0.34 million replacement levy, district Director Kevin Haver said Monday.
The levy, most recently approved by voters in 2003, represents 80 percent of the park district’s $1.5 million annual operating and capital improvement budget, Haver said.
“This levy is our lifeblood,” Haver said. “We’ve been very much in a repair, renovate and replace mode, and not an expansion or capital improvement mode, since the legislative changes to our funding in 2005 and 2006.”
The district is seeking a replacement levy because the original levy does not raise as much money as it did when it was first approved by voters in 1993.
Action by the Ohio Legislature in 2005 reduced the value of the levy, Haver said. With the elimination of the tangible personal property tax, the park district receives about $250,000 less a year from its levy. Also, the state reduced local government funding to the park district by $73,000 a year. And delinquent property tax costs the district more than $100,000 a year, Haver said.
With the reductions, the park district has delayed some its capital projects and expansions because the district does not want to build anything it can’t care for, or can’t pay employees to care for, Haver said. The district includes 12 park areas in Allen County; it also does outreach programs in schools, senior centers, churches and for civic groups.
The average home value in Allen County is $106,000. For the owner of a home with that value, the annual levy cost would be $24.32 a year.
District officials and levy campaign volunteers will conduct a door to door campaign this spring. Haver is available to speak to groups about the levy.
The park district is in its 41st year.