The Sylvania Area Joint Recreation District will ask voters in November to approve a new 0.4-mill levy to fund operations.
The millage, if adopted, would run indefinitely and generate $578,875 a year. The board approved the request at its meeting Tuesday and filed it with the Lucas County Board of Elections on Wednesday.
The request will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot, along with five levy requests that are expected from Lucas County agencies, although so far, the only countywide request to be filed with the elections board is from the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library. That facility is seeking a 2.9-mill operating levy to replace its 2-mill tax that expires at the end of the year.
The recreation district's last request for a tax increase -- in 2008 -- was 0.42 mill for capital improvements; it was successful. The recreation district's boundaries are the same as the Sylvania school district's and include the city of Sylvania, Sylvania Township, and small parts of Toledo and Ottawa Hills, encompassing about 15 square miles.
John Pristash, the recreation district's board chairman, said the district has been coping with shrinking revenue and rising expenses. The last time it went to the taxpayers with an operating request was in 2002.
"We're running very close to a deficit now," he said. "With more and more kids getting involved in the programs and the cost of materials going up, we're at a breaking point."
Mr. Pristash did not have forecasts of deficit numbers available.
Mr. Pristash said the additional millage would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $12 annually.
Sylvania Township Trustee John Jennewine, a member of the recreation district board, said he voted against the levy request when the first step toward asking for it was approved at a July 10 meeting; his was the only dissenting vote among the 10 cast. He was out of town when the final 10-0 vote was taken.
The board has 12 members, including one each from the township board, city council, and board of education. The identity of the second absent board member was unavailable.
Mr. Jennewine said the recreation district has a $10 million budget and a $3.5 million payroll and should trim spending before going to the voters for additional funds.
"We're all taxed out and we have to prioritize," he said. "The board-run organizations aren't making the cuts that governments are. We're trying to cut $800,000 from our [township] budget."
Mr. Pristash said user fees covered about 80 percent of the district's spending and that efforts were being made to hold down costs, such as using compost instead of fertilizer on the soccer fields and doing less watering. He said a committee was being formed and would raise private funds to promote the levy to voters.
Contact Carl Ryan at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6095.