Friday, October 24, 2014

City to Delay “Prop P” (Parks) Vote

ROLLA – In April 2014 Rolla voters narrowly rejected a ¼ cent park sales tax initiative (51% to 49%) that would have supported both the traditional park system and to a lesser degree the community’s Health and Rec Center.  Much of the rhetoric before and after the initiative focused on the need to support the City’s traditional park system.  In an attempt to be responsive to citizens concerns and suggestions the City Council and Parks Advisory Committee moved forward to put Prop P, a ¼ cent parks-only sales tax initiative, on the November ballot – 8 months after the April defeat.

It was discovered this week that the authorizing statute, RSMo 644.032, was amended to restrict going back to voters with such a sales tax initiative “sooner than twelve months from the date of the last proposal”.  In order to follow the spirit of RSMo 644 the City of Rolla will be postponing the Prop P Parks vote until 2015.  The City will need to apply for a court order to instruct the County Clerk’s Office not to count the ballots.  City Administration sincerely apologizes to the voters and park users in the oversight and in the delay in providing the opportunity to sufficiently support the park system. 

The condition of the community’s park system has been well publicized as has the significant and impending cuts facing the park system in the recently adopted FY 2014/15 budget.  Not only has the City been unable to maintain the public assets and facilities in the park system over the last several years but funding cuts will substantially affect the routine maintenance of virtually all neighborhood parks.  With the delay in a new park sales tax effort Mayor Magdits and the City Council will be convening a plan to address the current fiscal year operations and a future ballot initiative to sustain and support our parks in the future.


Anonymous said...

This is just a mismanagement of funds. We trust these people with our tax dollars and somehow just all of a sudden they won't be able to maintain certain parks unless they generate revenue if this Prop P isn't passed? What has changed in order for them not to be able to maintenance our parks, here's a short a answer, THE CENTRE. If the Centre isn't making enough money quit asking taxpayers to shell out more money for this place that only caters to wealthy portion of Rolla. Just raise your rates , its what most small business's in your position would be forced to do. Not ask for the "EVERYONE" to pay the difference.

City of Rolla said...

Just to clarify neither the City’s General Fund nor the traditional Park Fund has transferred any money to support the SplashZone or the Centre. Both operations were constructed and supported by the 15 year Park Sales Tax approved by the voters in 1998 for the express purpose of building those two facilities and to build up a special reserve fund to maintain them. The traditional Park Fund has been traditionally funded by a small property tax levy, limited park user fees and a transfer from the City’s General Fund. With stagnating revenues and increased costs, primarily in the General Fund with respect to public safety needs and economic development, the City has made cuts to the General Fund – including transfers to the traditional Park Fund. Sadly further cuts are pending with respect to our park system. Those cuts are generally facing park maintenance employees who in turn maintain the many parks (and the Rolla Cemetery) that many residents have come to enjoy and treasure. Prop P, while delayed, will give voters a chance to support the traditional park system with no transfers to the Centre. The Centre will continue to operate predominately off of member fees and services with limited support from its reserve fund until fees are increased, expenses are cuts, and membership is grown. Feel free to contact City Hall or the Parks Department for further details.

John D. Butz
City Administrator

Anonymous said...

Whoops! It seems Lance Thurman, the city's "counsel" failed to do his job.

Or, more accurately, the Robinson law firm the city retains to provide legal counsel failed.

Just goes to show why the citizens must and should question everything the city does, and not be intimidated by the so-called "leaders" - like Magdits, Butz, Thurman, etc. - who have such an elitist attitude.

What an embarrassment this is! And to say you chose to follow the law???? You must follow the law, and you are supposed to know the law. The citizens are expected to know the law.

Comment moderation??? Who is doing the moderating? Scott Grahl???? Oh, whatever happened to Scott? How much money was wasted on him???