Chances are, if you've been in the Sylvania area recently, you've seen the signs for Issue 22.
The Sylvania Recreation District (SAJRD), which has a .04-mill operating levy on the Nov. 6 ballot, put up the signs to inform voters about casting a vote for the levy. A new levy, the district's proposal will cost homeowners around $1 per month for each $100,000 in home value, which amounts to around $19 per year for a $160,000 home.
While it has been 12 years since the district has requested funding from the voting populace, the reasons for the request now have many origins. In addition to cuts in personal property tax income and loss of funding from reduced property values, SAJRD has also noticed that operating expenses continue to rise.
The district operates multiple recreation facilities including Pacesetter Park, Tam-O-Shanter, Centennial Terrace & Quarry, Veterans Memorial Field, Plummer Pool, the Sylvania Skate Board Park, athletic fields, a 4-mile portion of the University Parks Trail, and 2.2 miles of trails that are near Centennial Terrace and Pacesetter Park.
“Since 2000, the rec district has taken on more responsibilities. We've taken on a whole lot more responsibility in providing programs to the citizens of Sylvania,” operations manager Ken Katafias said as he addressed members of Sylvania's City Council at a meeting on Oct. 15.
Previously, SAJRD had a .85-mill operating levy that was originally passed in 1988 and replaced in 2000. Mr. Katafias said while it has been many years since the district has requested additional funding, the issue is something the board is taking seriously.
“The board does not take this very lightly, going out to voters,” he said. The levy has been endorsed by members of Sylvania's City Council.
SAJRD offers many sporting programs to the surrounding community in the multiple facilities. Tam-O-Shanter has two National Hockey League-sized ice rinks and instructors are available to offer lessons in both ice skating and hockey.
However, Centennial Terrace did lose money on two large concerts this summer.
The Counting Crows concert on June 16 lost $25,678.67, according to statements from SAJRD. The Bret Michaels concert lost $20,163.90 on July 5. But Mr. Katafias said there are clear reasons why money was lost.
“Counting Crows had sold out like 20-plus concerts in a row, so they put together this tour to play outdoor venues and they changed the name to The Outlaw. That slammed ticket sales,” he said.
The name was changed to The Outlaw Roadshow, so he figured people didn't know that it was the Counting Crows that would play.
As for Bret Michaels, a storm that rolled through the area and brought damage and power outages to Sylvania, made an impact.
But when it comes to the deciding factors on Issue 22 and how SAJRD impacts the surrounding community, as Mr. Katafias told Sylvania City Council members, “we're a real big economic driver.”