Date: July 26, 2016
Clermont County Park District to be on Fall Ballot
The Clermont County Park District will be on the November ballot for a half mill, 10-year levy in order to fund its continued operations. The Park District currently operates 5 parks, 3 nature preserves, the Williamsburg to Batavia Bike Trail, and 6 greenspaces totaling over 600 acres.
The parks receive about 200,000 visits per year. The Park District hosts approximately 500 events each year for 35,000 to 40,000 people. These events include family reunions, weddings, birthday parties, baby showers, Scout campouts, naturalist programs and more.
The Park District operates 17 sites, including the popular Pattison Park with its lodge and gazebo. Pattison is the site of over 130 weddings and receptions each year. Sycamore Park, near Batavia, hosts approximately 85 picnics each year in its reservable picnic shelters, while nearby are the playgrounds, tennis courts, paved walking trails, and more than 3 miles of hiking trails in the Wilson Nature Preserve.
The half mill levy will cost the owner of a $100,000 home $17.50 per year, according to information from the Clermont County Auditor’s office.
Currently, the Parks District budget is approximately $587,000 a year not including grants and donations for special projects. It is funded primarily through a tenth of a mill property tax, (approximately $400,000), rental fees to use Park District’s Pattison Lodge, shelters, and donations.
“The current budget is about the same as the 2005 budget. Through changes in state law and a decline in property tax revenues due to the recession, the park district lost over $100,000 in revenue. The Park Commissioners were able to balance the budget through cost saving measures and increased fee revenue. Staffing levels went from 7 fulltime employees in 2010 to 5 today, along with 4 part time and 3 seasonal employees,” said Chris Clingman, Director of the Clermont County Park District.
“It’s remarkable what the Park District has been able to accomplish with such limited funds. The district has operated on a shoestring budget for years. It has worked hard to obtain grants and donations, nearly $12 million since the year 2000,” said Clermont County Commissioner and honorary levy committee chairman Bob Proud.
“But that is not enough to preserve these parks and add to them, so that all Clermont County residents can continue to enjoy our natural heritage,” Commissioner Proud said. “The Park District needs an assured source of funds for its operations, and this levy, and its modest amount, will help make that happen.”
The levy will not only fund the day to day operations of the Park District, but will also provide for the upgrade or repair of aging facilities such as:
Restrooms at Pattison and Sycamore Parks
Complete deferred maintenance of historic buildings at Chilo Lock 34 Park and Hartman Cabin
Trail and walking path improvements
It will also fund the Park District educational programs, habitat restorations, natural areas preservation, and new park facilities.
Park Commissioner Dave Anspach added, “The levy will allow us to finish Shor Park in Union Township, open Ten Mile Creek Preserve in Pierce Township, and fund much needed upgrades to the facilities at our existing parks. And it will allow us to continue our efforts in protecting the water quality of the East Fork and preserving natural areas.”
For more information on the Clermont County Park District go to www.clermontparks.org or call the main office at 513-732-2977.