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Parks and Rec Responds to Market Crash with Millage Questions

West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Commission to ask for millage renewal and increase in Aug. 7 primary election.

Edit: 11:34 a.m.
Clarification has been added to indicate what has been cut from the budget in recent years. 

Outsiders and West Bloomfield residents alike may not be able to easily understand how the has dealt with the global recession for the past four years.

Parks remain a popular destination, according to Director Dan Navarre, and the commission has been in operation for 42 years of maintaining and managing quality parks and programs.

However, $500,000 in operational spending and staffing has been cut over the last three years, using savings to recoup losses of $950,000 in tax revenue since 2008.

"When we adopted the budget this year, the commission said, we’re not going to do this going forward. We want to maintain the proper fund balance," Navarre said. "So, we said, let's let the public make the decision."

A general fund millage levy renewal proposal will be on the Aug. 7 primary ballot, as well as a millage increase proposal.  

The general operating millage rate, currently set at 0.2435 per $1,000 of taxable value on taxable property in the township and due to expire in 2013, would continue for 10 years if approved by voters, while an increase of 0.35 per $1,000 would be set for 12 years beginning in 2013.

"I’m hopeful that this will pass because if not, there will be some tough decisions the board has to make," Navarre said, adding that some grant appliations benefit from the commission being able to match outside funds for a project.

It is estimated the combined proposals, if approved by voters, would authorize the township to collect just less than $1.85 million in the first year of the increase.

"If this is not passed, they will have to cut back on the services they provide," said board Trustee Howard Rosenberg, a liaison to the commission, in May . "This is the same type of millage proposal that this board put forth to the  (in 2011)."

For more information on the millage proposals, visit the Parks and Recreation website.

Larry Kohlenberg July 30, 2012 at 12:41 PM
One of the great features of West Bloomfield are the parks we enjoy; the efforts of the Parks Commission to create wonderful green space and parks and places to gather have always been important to this community. Running a first class operation does not come without a price, and the millage renewal is a small price to pay to keep our wonderful parks and programs produced by the Parks and Rec intact.

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