December 18, 2014

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Lorain County Metro Parks to ask for 10-year renewal levy

AMHERST — The Lorain County Metro Parks board will seek additional money from voters in November.

Metro Parks Director Jim Ziemnik said the board voted unanimously Thursday to ask voters to renew an existing 10-year, 1.3-mill levy with a 0.3-mill increase.

The levy now brings in about $7.9 million annually and provides the majority of the parks’ $10 million budget with the rest coming from revenue, grants and donations. If approved, the increased levy would generate roughly $9.8 million per year.

Some of that money will be used to make up losses that the park district has suffered in recent years, including a cut in local government funding from the state that cost the Metro Parks about $500,000.

The money also will be used to fund several projects, including new trails, Ziemnik has said.

Ziemnik said the Metro Parks goes out for a levy every 10 years and hopes to continue to enjoy the support of the voting public.

“We feel very confident in what we do,” he said.

The November ballot already is starting to fill up. School districts, cities and other county agencies are among those placing levies before voters in the fall and others are considering doing the same.

Ziemnik said the Metro Parks plan to stick to their once-every-10-years philosophy and focus on passing the levy rather than worry about what else is on the ballot.

“We don’t let the other issues affect ours,” he said.

If approved, the owner of a home valued at $100,000 would pay $50.31 per year, up from the $39.81 that would be collected from the owner of the same home under the current levy.

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