By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
The Wood County Park District will be going back on the ballot next year – but the board won’t be asking for any additional funds.
The county park board voted Tuesday afternoon to start the levy process by asking the Wood County Auditor to certify the current valuation for the park district. The board then plans to place a renewal of its 1-mill, 10-year levy on next year’s spring ballot.
“I believe that will suffice to serve our financial needs for another decade,” Board President Denny Parish said.
Wood County voters have a history of supporting their parks, and will appreciate the district’s decision to not ask for more money, Parish said.
The current levy brings in a “pretty steady” amount of approximately $2.8 million a year. “I believe we can operate for another 10 years on the same millage,” Parish stressed.
Board member John Calderonello mentioned that some voters may still be stinging from issues on this November’s ballot. But Parish said the park district can choose between spring and fall of 2018. “We can’t wait till 2019,” he said.
And board member Bob Dorn reminded that if the park levy fails in the spring, it can be repeated in the fall.
Parish said many residents of Wood County don’t realize how the park district if funded. “There’s a misconception that we get funded by the general fund of the county commissioners,” he said.
The park district first passed its 1-mill levy in 2008. Since then, the district has made several improvements and acquired much more property.
“It’s all been done with prudent management with available funds,” board member Bob Hawker said.
Parish noted that some school districts and other agencies in the county are finding it necessary to ask for increased millage. “That will shine a nice light on Wood County Park District,” he said.
Also at the meeting, the board was introduced to Bob Callecod, who will be acting as levy chairman. Callecod, of Bowling Green, is a former county park commissioner, is active with the park district, and helped get the first levy passed.
“It’s a cause well worth working for,” Callecod said.
The Wood County Park District currently has sites throughout the county, including Adam Phillips Pond, Baldwin Woods Preserve, Bradner Preserve, Beaver Creek Preserve, Black Swamp Preserve, Buttonwood Recreation Area, Carter Historic Farm, Cedar Creeks Preserve, Fuller Preserve, William Henry Harrison Park, W.W. Knight Preserve, Otsego Park, Reuthinger Memorial Preserve, Sawyer Quarry Nature Preserve, Slippery Elm Trail, Rudolph Savanna Area, Cricket Frog Cove Area, Wood County Historical Center, Zimmerman School, and the park district headquarters.