Council votes 7-1 for park levy on the ballot


The 10 year, .25 percent earned income tax levy to raise $25.7 million for recreation projects

By Melanie Yingst - myingst@civitasmedia.com



TROY — Troy City Council voted 7-1 in favor of the proposed $25.7 million parks and recreation levy on Tuesday.

The vote included both the resolution and ordinance to place the levy on the May 2 primary ballot for Troy voters to consider.

Robin Oda was the lone “No” vote for the proposed 10 year, .25 percent earned income tax for $25.7 million in recreation projects, including a second skating rink at Hobart Arena. Council member Tom Kendall was not present at Tuesday’s meeting.

If the levy passes, the earned income tax would increase to a 2 percent rate from the city’s current 1.75 percent. The tax base includes those who are employed within the city limits, but are not Troy residents.

The 10-year levy would raise approximately $25.7 million over the decade of collection, but could “sunset” if the collection is achieved at an earlier date.

Following the meeting, Oda said she was against the emergency designation, concerned about staffing levels in the recreational and parks department, and the proposal adding the additional $10 million project after the ballot issue was removed on the Nov. 8 ballot.

“We didn’t get to vote on it in November and now we’ve changed it and increased it, so that’s an issue,” Oda said.

The new proposal includes expanded project features of the initial recreation proposal presented this fall with the 2.1-mills property tax levy on the Nov. 8 ballot. Council voted to remove that levy due to an error in the ballot language on Nov. 7. That levy proposed to raise $8 million for projects with a goal of raising $4 million in private donations.

“I don’t think it should have been an emergency and I think staffing is still a question. I’m not clear on how that is going to be handled,” Oda said. “Even though we are being told (staff levels) are going to be OK, if we can increase our parks by this amount — with this size — and not have any increase in staffing, then we are seriously over staffed right now.”

Council member Bobby Phillips noted that Penny Hoekstra will be the treasurer for the Operation Recreation 2020 levy. President Marty Baker had asked who was in charge of the levy initiative at a previous meeting.

The city of Troy has pledged $1.86 million over the 10 years to help fund the projects. An additional $840,000 in grants and $1.1 million in foundation and private pledges was also included in its projections.

The Operation Recreation plan includes improvements to the Duke Park North infrastructure, Miami Shores Golf Course, Troy Senior Citizens Center with an addition to the initiative of a proposed $10 million Olympic-sized second ice rink adjacent to the newly renovated Hobart Arena.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA DISPENSARIES PUBLIC HEARING ON JAN. 17.

On Dec. 14, Troy Planning Commission voted to recommend to city council a citywide ban on cultivators and processors of medical marijuana and allow a maximum of three medical marijuana retail dispensaries in the B-4 Highway Service Business District only.

Council will hold a public hearing on the marijuana dispensaries issue on Jan. 17, according to the agenda.

The public hearing on Jan. 17 will also include the rezoning of 214 S. Mulberry St. from M-2 light industrial to B-2 general business.

Council unanimously adopted the following legislation: a resolution to authorize the use of Internet auction sites for surplus property; and the final plat of Halifax subdivision’s section two and three.

Public service and safety director Patrick Titterington advised city staff are still conducting leaf pick-up in the city through the end of the week, weather permitting. The city offices will observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 16. The city’s trash pick-up and services will stay on its regular schedule.

The 10 year, .25 percent earned income tax levy to raise $25.7 million for recreation projects

By Melanie Yingst

myingst@civitasmedia.com

Follow Melanie Yingst on Twitter @Troydailynews

Follow Melanie Yingst on Twitter @Troydailynews

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU