Licking Park District preparing to go back to voters
GRANVILLE – Licking Park District Director Russ Edgington said the Licking Park District Commissioners are laying the groundwork for a possible ballot issue, although the ballot date and millage have yet to be determined.
“We discussed looking to the future, looking at our financial needs,” he said. Once those needs are determined, Edgington said the commissioners, who met last Tuesday night, may be ready to determine what should go on the ballot and when.
Edgington said the commissioners are reviewing the district’s five-year plan, which was supposed to be active through 2012. However, when voters narrowly defeated a 0.2 mill five-year levy Nov. 2, plans changed. District employees were laid-off and parks were closed.
Some of the five-year plan’s goals will not be realized. “Once we’ve updated the plan, we’ll be in a better position to decide when to go on the ballot and the millage,” he said.
Edgington said he and the park district commissioners discussed having the district take a more significant role in maintaining Licking County’s bike trails. They’d like to work more closely with the Licking County Commissioners and the political entities through which the trails pass.
The Licking Park District’s budget was cut by 53 percent for 2011. Operations Manager Cathy Fetter said previously that the district laid off three of its four full-time employees and closed all facilities following the levy failure and reduction in county funding. One of the lay-offs occurred Jan. 1, and the other two lay-offs occurred Jan 14. The facilities closed Jan. 2.
Licking County Commissioner Tim Bubb previously explained that the park district is an unmandated expense for the county, meaning that the county is not required to contribute money to the district like other county departments such as the Licking County Sheriff’s Office, hence the need for the district to pass a levy.