Parks and Recreation millage renewal will be on August ballot

By: Cari DeLamielleure-Scott | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published May 18, 2016

 If the millage is renewed, it would enable the commission to continue its park programs, such as the summer concert series in Marshbank Park.

If the millage is renewed, it would enable the commission to continue its park programs, such as the summer concert series in Marshbank Park.

File photo by Donna Agusti

WEST BLOOMFIELD — West Bloomfield residents will decide the fate of the Parks and Recreation Commission’s millage renewal in the Aug. 2 election. 

If the millage is renewed, West Bloomfield will be authorized to continue levying up to 0.3892 mill for a 10-year period, from 2018 to 2027. For a household with a taxable value of $100,000, it would cost the homeowner $38.92 per year. 

The millage would provide funds for the acquisition, preservation, enhancement and maintenance of parkland. It is estimated that the proposal would result in the commission collecting over $1.2 million in the first year of the levy, according to the ballot language. 

“It is a significant portion of what we currently operate on. It’s also been responsible for development projects,” Parks and Recreation Executive Director Jennifer Tucker said. 

The development projects to which Tucker was referring include Marshbank Park shelter renovations, the previous purchase of the trail between the trail’s Arrowhead Road parking lot and Haggerty Road, renovations of the baseball field at Drake Sports Park, and expansion of the dog park and community garden at Karner Farm. Operating costs include things such as staff, maintenance and equipment, Tucker said. 

“If it weren’t passed, there would be some significant cutbacks. It would decrease our funding by more than one-third, which means a lot of those things we can’t put money into … and doing any development or capital outlay, those things would be difficult,” Tucker said. 

Tucker said that West Bloomfield taxpayers have been supportive of the parks in the past because the Parks and Recreation Commission is the only park system in West Bloomfield and the parks are “really their backyard.”

The millage would enable the commission to continue its park programs, including  the Concert in the Park series and the Touch a Truck event, which recently pulled in over 3,000 visitors, Tucker said.

“Maintaining the assets of the township is really our first priority. It’s very important to us that those are safe and clean and maintained the way taxpayers would want them to be,” Tucker said. 

The commission brought the language to the West Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees for the board’s approval May 2, and Trustee Steven Kaplan said that despite the commission being a separate entity from the township government, the state requires the board to approve the language. 

The board approved the ballot language 6-0. Township Supervisor Michele Economou Ureste was not in attendance.