Huntington Park Board Vote

By: Dave Benton
By: Dave Benton

Many people feel they're taxed to death with user fees, municipal fees, property taxes. Now the greater Huntington Parks Board is asking property owners to cough up 95 dollars more a year to upgrade the park district.

It’s not an imposed tax like a user fee. The park board passed a resolution. Now, there will be referendum on the ballot in November and voters can choose whether or not they want to pay an extra 95 dollars in property taxes for a better park system.

The district says the 1.5 million dollars is not enough funding to keep the parks at a level where they need to be.

Jim McClelland explains, “While the parks look nice, we mow it all, a lot of infrastructure is 50-60 years old and it needs attention.”

The board voted unanimously to place a referendum on the November general election ballot asking property owners to vote for a 95 dollar per year fee.

Concerned citizens who questioned board members for two hours say they hope the fee increases passes on Election Day.

Don Williams, “I hope it will pass. I don't want to lose the parks. What board wants to?”

Jim McClelland says a fee increase is a last resort. If people vote for it, that could raise more than 3 million dollars a year for the park system and make it more eligible for grants.

While many people will oppose another fee hike in the city, supporters hope nay-sayers will think twice.

Originally, the park board wanted to put on the ballot, two fees to be collected two different ways. A property tax of 50 dollars per year and 39 dollars for people who work in the Huntington area.

But that was nixed toward the end of the meeting. Board members feared that version wouldn't pass. That's why it would just fall on the shoulders of property owners.

Nothing is set in stone. The people get to vote on this come November.

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