The Parks Department is still a hot topic, and at the last city council meeting it was determined that there should be a workshop with the Parks officials, but it did not come to fruition.
Two weeks later, the workshop was again discussed and this time a formal format was set specifically to exclude public comments. Explaining his suggestion to ask the public to only observe, alderman Bob Thomas said he has been inundated with opinions from the public regarding Parks business.
Thomas requested the format of the workshop be exclusively between the two governmental bodies, city council and Parks commissioners, where financial activities and ordinances can be discussed. Additional topics expected to be discussed are the Parks Master Plan, the one-quarter percent tax for general parks use, the Lake Leatherwood one-eighth percent tax, the potential annex of the 30 acres of donated land to Parks, as well as trails expenses and shuttle services.
After the workshop, council is expected to follow-up with suggested actions for Parks at the next regular council meeting.
Pat Costner and Chris Fischer spoke during public comments urging council and Parks to abide by Ord. 2176, to use the one-eighth percent tax income “exclusively for and to improve and maintain Lake Leatherwood City Park in accordance with the approved Lake Leatherwood City Park Master Plan.”
Costner said the Parks Commission was aware that the one-eighth percent tax levy would sunset in 2017 but failed to prepare for it accordingly, therefore missing out on annual revenue.
“If the commission had set the tax renewal in motion earlier, there would have been no three-month gap in Parks’ receiving the tax and Parks income from the tax would’ve been thirty percent greater in 2017. Parks really needs a good bookkeeper,” Costner said.