MetroParks of Butler County Board voted to place a 0.7 mill replacement levy on the ballot
The Board of Park Commissioners of MetroParks of Butler County voted on July 15 to place a property levy issue on the 2021 county-wide ballot.
Butler County voters, the park system’s customers and owners will be asked to consider a six-year, 0.7 mill replacement levy on November 2nd. MetroParks current six-year operating levy will expire in December 2022. The Butler County Auditor’s Office estimated that a 0.7 mill replacement levy would generate $6.7 million in funding annually for the MetroParks over the course of its next six-year levy cycle. Revenue from the replacement levy would begin to be distributed to the park system in 2023.
“MetroParks proudly manages 11 parks, 60 miles of trails and approximately 85 different park facilities across Butler County,” according to MetroParks Executive Director Jonathan Granville. President of the Board of Park Commissioners, Daryl Nelson, said that “MetroParks saw record breaking visitation to the parks in 2020, with an estimated 1.2 million visitor occurrences. Although the pandemic has dramatically increased the public’s demand for natural greenspace and passive recreational opportunities, MetroParks has always been committed to providing a diverse, educational and safe park experience for all.”
Granville added that “About 80% of the MetroParks annual operating budget relies on funding generated from the local property tax, which would be collected as a result of the passage of the levy. MetroParks does not receive any operational funding directly from the county, and costs to maintain and improve the parks have continued to rise. For example, MetroParks saw a 25% increase in the cost of contract mowing for all MetroParks locations from 2020 to 2021, amongst other increases in necessary expenditures. It was important to MetroParks that the rising prices of capital improvements were not passed on to the residents Butler County.” Nelson said that “MetroParks is looking forward to leveraging levy funds to enhance park facilities through grant sponsorships, partnerships, and donations, as we have in the past. Although the park system has been very successful in securing outside dollars for improvements, the levy is the primary source of its operational dollars.”
According to the Butler County Auditor’s Office, property owners can expect to continue to pay approximately $24.50 a year per $100,000 of valuation for their properties, the same amount that Butler County taxpayers committed to MetroParks in the current levy cycle. “MetroParks is dedicated to maintaining quality parks for its residents, and securing funding through the upcoming levy will ensure that the parks remain accessible, safe and open for all to enjoy for the next six years,” said Granville. Nelson concluded that “Continued funding will not only allow MetroParks to maintain the high standards that its park customer owners have come to expect within the parks, but also to be able to offer new experiences to those who visit.”