Parks & rec 'total replacement' levy in the works

Cary Ashby • Jun 23, 2019 at 2:00 PM

Norwalk will request the Huron County auditor certify the total current tax value for the proposed parks and recreation department replacement levy.

Obtaining the current tax evaluation is the first step in getting the issue on the Nov. 5 ballot. Once city council has that information, council will need to pass a related piece of legislation.

The proposed five-year, 1.75-mill levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $26.59 per year and $19.95 annually for homestead residents. It would combine three smaller levies — all with various expiration dates — into one.

“This will replace what is there,” finance director Michelle Reeder told council. “This is a total replacement.”

Joe Lindenberger, parks and recreation superintendent, has said the levy is “vital for our operation” and much more efficient than going to voters every couple of years for the three existing ones. Also, he said the new tax would generate money at the current value for the parks portion of his budget instead of “collecting pennies on the dollar” and having his department do the difficult work of budgeting on decades-old money.

“I think people appreciate efficiency. … I think we are frugal (with) our budget,” Lindenberger said in an earlier interview. “It’s the same millage. We’re not being greedy. … We’re not asking for bells and whistles.”

Parks and rec has about a $1.8 million annual budget.

In other council action Tuesday, zoning officer Mitch Loughton said the burned house at 27 1/2 State St. has been torn down and a contractor is cleaning away the debris.

“The house itself is down,” he said. “We got a court order from (Judge Jim Conway) saying it was a safety hazard because it was burnt.”

Also, Loughton said he and law director Stuart O’Hara are in the process of obtaining a similar court order for 49 Jefferson St. Thirty days after the order, that vacant house can be torn down.

“It’s been abandoned for years. It’s falling down; the roof is rotting,” Loughton said. 

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