Board explores levy for parks

Members expect to set small millage for Trumbull County

WARREN — A public meeting to gauge support of a possible levy for Trumbull County MetroParks is scheduled for March 28.

Though details of what the park board might seek from voters or whether the measure will make it to the ballot are not decided, what is being considered in this early stage is a small levy, like .5-mill, said Zachary Svette, director of the county’s park system.

It’s unclear how much money would be raised if a levy were approved.

“We would continue to maintain the parks at the lowest cost possible. We want to be fiscally responsible to the community, maximize our resources and offer the community the best parks we can. It would be a small millage — it would probably cost the owner of a $100,000 home $16 a year. It is minimal compared to what we want to accomplish with the amount it would raise,” said Nicolette Darkangelo, a member of the Trumbull County MetroParks board.

If the board chooses to move forward with pursuing a levy, it will not need to get approval from Trumbull County commissioners, just the park board.

“This meeting is to see if there is commitment from the citizens of Trumbull County to help put on a levy campaign. The money would go toward operations and capital maintenance, like repaving the bike trails, bridges that need rehabilitation, dealing with trees,” Svette said.

The board has a $95,000 budget. About one-third of that is for Svette’s salary. He is the board’s only employee.

To fund projects now, the board seeks grants, but often doesn’t have the budget for local match dollars, Svette said.

“If we had this, we could offer a lot more amenities at the parks, like permanent restrooms. But, what we can do will be dictated by the millage. We don’t intend to do a bunch of hiring, we want to take care of capital things,” Svette said.

The board will use the meeting to determine if there is a base of volunteers available to support the levy if one is placed on the ballot.

“We hope to see community leaders, youth, those who are invested in the park. We’ve seen a lot of support from the biking and canoe community, but we want input from everyone in the community on how this could help them in all park activities …” Darkangelo said.

The meeting will be 6 p.m. at Kent State University at Trumbull in Room 117 in the Technology Building. To be discussed will be the state of the park district, how it is funded, volunteering and donations.