06/26/12 Monday night members of the Plymouth Common Council motioned to table action on the ordinance that would move the idea of extending park and recreation services to residents in Center and West Townships to the ballot in November.
Councilman Mike Delp explained that he had been on vacation last week and he “wasn’t comfortable” to make a decision at this point. He clarified his comments by thanking member of the park board, petition signers, and those in opposition for the investment of their time on the issue. He said he understands the need to increase funding for the park and said, “I think a better way to fund the park maybe to piggy-back on the Blueberry Festival.” He continued, “I know it would be a nightmare to begin with.”
Delp said he understood bringing in taxes from the residents of Center and West Townships won’t bring in additional funds immediately but it could open up the possibility for raising the levy in the future. He also said he was disappointed that only 2 to 3% or the voters were required to sign the petitions and “none of those of those people can vote for me.” He continued, “If you had 25% in favor I’d look at it differently.”
Mike Delp closed out his comments by saying, “I feel like we are shoving something down someone’s throat when the deck is definitely stacked.”
Councilman Duane Culp agreed with Delp’s comments and said, “Several other townships could be looked at.”
Council Shawn Grobe asked the city attorney about the law and said, “Your vote has no bearing on the merits of it. Your vote is based on the park’s recommendation.” It was noted that there would be no increase to funds raised on the levy but later on there could be an appeal to the DLGF for an increase.
Councilman Wayne Smith said, “Center and West are not the only residents using the park looking at little league teams and men’s softball. They come from all over.” He talked about his grandkids playing ball and traveling all around the northern part of the state. Smith continued, “Some parks charge a fee to get in and watch the kids play ball.” He closed by saying, “I don’t know the answer, but we definitely need to increase funding for the park.”
Councilman Don Ecker explained that one week was not enough time to look at the plan. He asked if they had explored other options and if so what they were. He also wanted to know if they had looked at other townships.
Several Citizens spoke during the comment part of the meeting including Park Board President Dave Morrow. He said he appreciated comments of the council members. He spoke of the vibrant and continued improvements to the parks and handed out a demographic survey taken last year that showed 57% of users were from outside of the city limits.
Micki Kuhn, a snowbird who has a lot at Jellystone said she had concerns of the proposal. She said, “We can’t vote for you council members and our voice can’t be heard.”
Other comments came from local businessman John Stone, 13 year park board member Jim Causey and west township farmer Paul Costello.
The Plymouth Common Council has until noon on August 1st the pass the ordinance on second and third reading to get the questions on the November ballot.