November 24, 2014


Lorain County Metro Parks weighs levy in November

CARLISLE TWP. — The Lorain County Metro Parks board is weighing whether to ask voters to approve an increase in its operating levy in November.

Metro Parks Director Jim Ziemnik said the current 10-year, 1.3-mill levy brings in about $7.9 million per year and comprises the bulk of the Metro Parks roughly $10 million annual budget. The rest comes from revenue, grants and donations, he said.

But he also said the park district has faced declining revenues in recent years as expenses have gone up. For instance, he said the state decision to cut funding to local governments saw the Metro Parks lose about $500,000.

Ziemnik also said additional money is needed to complete several projects and launch a new round of developments, including new trails.

“We’ve worked in these 20 years relative to getting a lot done with our facilities and our trails, and we want to maintain (that),” he said.

Metro Parks board members will decide at a meeting next month whether to add .2 mills, which would bring the total the levy generates to a little more than $9 million, or add .3 mills, which would bring the levy total to about $9.8 million per year.

“We’re just trying to bridge that shortfall a little and that would allow us to go forward with some of our new ideas,” he said.

Ziemnik said the Metro Parks has promised to seek a levy only every 10 years, and that time has arrived.

He also said even if the board decides to go with the larger increase, it would cost the owner of a home valued at $100,000 about $10.50 annually.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or Follow him on Twitter @BradDickenCT.

  • GreatRedeemer

    I would like to see some financials on how the current revenue is being spent.

  • golfingirl

    Hold onto to your wallets folks…..a lot of levies and tax increase requests gonna be on the ballot.

    • Mark B

      when will they be happy? when they get 95% of our earnings ?

      • golfingirl

        No, that still leaves 5% for the taking.

  • RealLHS

    I will vote NO if they ask for an increase. I will vote YES if they keep it at the current level.

  • Pablo Jones

    The LC Metro Parks have done a lot with the little amount of money they have. And the fact that they have turned Lakeview around shows they are more competent than the cities are.

  • Otter

    The fact that they are asking for @10.50 more, and haven’t asked for 10 years seems a pretty reasonable request. (unlike some who ask for money every 6 months…) Before you all start whining about your poor hard earned tax dollars being sucked out of your wallets, you might want to see what they have to offer first.

    • HankKwah

      ….you might want to see what they have to offer first.

      Visit ANY MetroPark and look at how they spend the money. They’re all beautiful, well-kept parks. And as you said, for $10.50 more per year? That’s less than 3 cents per day. Between Mill Hollow, Schoepfle Gardens, Lakeview Park and Beach, those three ALONE are more than enough return on $10.50 per year. This would be a wise investment for Lorain County.

      • golfingirl

        I do think this is one levy which is worth supporting.

        My experience has been they are very good with managing their money and put out a nice product.

        • Oneday67

          “Ziemnik also said additional money is needed to complete several projects……..
          Leads me to believe they started projects they didn’t have enough money to finish. Not very good money management in my opinion. Never trust a bureaucracy to do well with money. That being said, I’m down with the $10-20 a year as I do enjoy the parks.

          • golfingirl

            I agree. However in the Metro Parks, an unfinished project also includes a trail, which is intended to go say 2 miles at some point, but only has 1.5 miles completed.

            The project can still be used and enjoyed, while being completed. Not covered with “orange cones.”

            I am in favor of very few taxes, however I do feel this one is worth the money. When weighed against other tax requests, this one wins out in my opinion.

            Have a great weekend.

      • Otter

        The Halloween Walk, and Christmas lights alone are worth it !

      • Bill Love

        I would support you but the problem is the property owners pay for everything in Lorain Countyhow about asking a levy that everybody has to support not just homeowners

        • HankKwah

          Trying to do that is liable to cost everyone more than just $10.50 per year. I understand what you’re saying, but I have no suggestions as to how to make it fair. Sales tax is the only thing that I could think of and I can guarantee that would cost everyone more than that. In the long run, that probably would be advantageous for the MetroParks, but….

    • Mark B

      Its not that the metro parks are asking , it is every other place that is always digging into our wallets. LCCC, Elyria Schools, Library, Mental Health , City of Elyria , Lorain County. In the course of the last 2 years a person with a 100k house tax bill has increased Over $200.00 and it never stops , this time around the City wants more , the Metro Parks , Lorain County , its to the point that a average working person just cant afford to pay it. Those who are working for the Government making 100k a year think it is no big deal . But it is a big deal for those in the private sector making 40k a year .

      • Otter

        I understand what you are saying, I plan to vote no on most (if not all) requests for additional funding…I just think the parks are among the few that are worth the money.

  • Pete

    Have any of you posting here even visited any of the Metro Parks lately? They are all beautiful. Well worth paying less than a quarter a week for!!

    • luvmytoaster

      I think the point is that there is no end to the requests for funds – the everyday citizen is tired of funding what the state and federal government no longer support.
      Unfortunately even if the answer is “no” they will just keep asking….but anytime we say “yes” to a levy request they never question why….

    • Bill Love

      they are beautiful and I enjoy them a lot but why don’t you ask for letting everybody pays for not just homeowners

  • oldruss

    Instead of an additional property tax, how about an additional sales tax? Let’s let everybody help pay for our parks. Why is it always homeowners and small businesses they bear the burden? Between school property taxes, and library property taxes, and county health dept. property taxes, and mental health property taxes, and human services (welfare) property taxes, and metro-parks property taxes, and city/township property taxes, etc., etc., this tax payer, at least, is all taxed out.

    • Bill Love

      very well said I agree 100%but the way Americans now if you own a house you’re considered privileged not that you work for the house back like everything was given to us