Bazetta, NF seek levies for parks, roads

While Bazetta Township officials are seeking to raise monies from a levy for park and recreation needs in the community, Newton Falls village officials are hoping to pass a levy to fund road improvement projects.

Residents of both communities are being asked to support levies in the May 8 primary election.

Bazetta is seeking passage of a 0.25-mill, 5-year additional levy for parks and recreation to raise $36,188 annually.

Newton Falls is seeking passage of a 2-mill, additional, continuing levy for roads and bridges to raise $117,877 annually.

∫ In Bazetta, township Trustee Chairman Ted Webb said the levy will provide money for day-to-day operations, upkeep, improvements and maintenance at the township park where the Imagination Station play area and ballfields are located.

Webb said the park is used for sporting events, family gatherings and picnics, plus the playground.

Fiscal Officer Rita Drew said, if successful, this would be the first park levy passed. Currently, the township takes money from the general fund to support park costs.

“This is to help replace the general fund levy that failed in 2014. The park levy will pay the full budget for everything at the park. The money generated by the levy can only be used for the park, not the general fund. The wages for those who work there and the needed upgrades at the park will be covered by the levy,” Drew said.

Webb said the levy money would provide matching funds for grants, which currently are not available.

If the levy fails, officials said fundraising will continue or the park may have to be closed.

“The only way the park is open now is the fundraising,” Drew said.

The township in recent years has spent $17,000 to keep the park open, which is a reduction from $27,000 in prior years. The fundraising is a “Band-Aid fix,” Webb said.

Park board members have said several years of various fundraising has generated $50,000 to help build a new pavilion and to complete other park improvements.

Webb said costs at the park include Imagination Station being checked daily for safety, thick mulch in the play area, trash collection and general maintenance. He said a section of the park is located on federal land, which the township maintains.

∫ In Newton Falls, Village Administrator Jack Haney said additional funding from a levy would allow for paving for one mile of roads per year, patching, crack sealing and other maintenance to roads.

“The terrible cold weather we have had has destroyed road surface. There has been funding cuts by the state and the price of asphalt has risen drastically making it difficult to keep up with fixing all roads,” Haney said.

“We are doing what we can and prioritize the roads that need the most work,” he said.

Attempts to pass a road levy in recent years have failed.

Officials said with no road levy, about $50,000 is received annually for road repairs after license fees were raised, but it takes $150,000 for one mile of two-lane asphalt.

Mayor Lyle Waddell has said the levy is necessary if residents want street department services and repaved roads. If the levy fails, officials said repaving would have to wait.