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  Six-Tenths Mill Renewal Levy Key To Maintaining The Boardman Park District  
  October 15, 2020 Edition  
     The purpose of Boardman Park’s six-tenths mill renewal issue on the November 3 ballot is to maintain a revenue stream to operate the park. Boardman Park offers a variety of recreational facilities and programs year-round that enhance the quality of life for the community it serves. The Green Oasis is not only a wildlife sanctuary, but also a place where families enjoy 243 acres of recreational greenspace in the heart of Boardman.
      Over the last several years, Boardman Park has experienced a significant increase in the number of visitors, where today, close to half a million people visit the park annually. We believe that the continued increase in the number of visitors clearly demonstrates that Boardman Park is one of the most popular areas for family recreation in the Mahoning Valley. The popularity of Boardman Park can be attributed to our community’s positive response and enthusiastic participation in the diverse and multigenerational programs we offer year-round, as well as our unique footprint of recreational facilities.
      1-Mill Levy 72 Years
      For 72 years, Boardman Park has been operating on the equivalent of a 1-mill levy.
      In 1948 the Park District’s first real property tax levy was approved, which was a 1-mill levy, and today, 72 years later, Boardman Park continues to operate on the equivalent of a 1-mill levy, which consists of two voted levies---three-tenths mill and six-tenths mill, and one non-voted levy of one-tenth of a mill.
      Annually, these levies generate approximately $871,000, which represents 75% of the park district’s annual income. In order to provide this tax revenue, the owner of a $100,000 home contributes approximately $30 per year, or just 5 cents per day to support the mission of the park. While operating on a 1-mill levy, the size of the Boardman Park District has more than tripled since 1947, where today the park provides 60 acres for active recreational purposes and preserves 234 acres as greenspace.
      Only Park in Ohio
      Boardman Park is the only public park in Ohio that has operated on the same tax millage rate for 72 years. Boardman Park is a long-time member of the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association (OPRA), which has over 2,000 members. Per the OPRA, “OPRA is not aware of any other park or park district in Ohio that has been operating at the same tax millage rate for 72 years.”
      Boardman Preserves What’s Precious…
      The Environment
      Public parks offer countless benefits to the communities they serve. However, there are times when people tend to take the benefits of public parks for granted, as well as the vital role parks play in the quality of life for the communities they serve. While fun, happiness and play are fundamental to growth and development, the expanded role of public parks is more critical than ever. Programs, services, events and opportunities offered by local, state and national parks and recreation agencies positively impact lives and society as a whole.
      It is the mission of Boardman Park to provide a diversity of recreational and educational opportunities in an environment that lends itself to pleasant family experiences, and to preserve areas of natural habitat; however, and perhaps most importantly, during these times of climate change, the Green Oasis provides the following environmental benefits to our community:
       •Boardman Park preserves 294 acres of greenspace that provides critical environmental functions that contribute to many of life’s essentials---mitigating stormwater run-off, cleaning the water and the air and returning oxygen to the atmosphere. There are approximately 38,100 trees within the 254 acres. These trees will intercept 14.5 million gallons of storm water each year; and will remove 6.4 million pounds of atmospheric carbon. The overall environmental benefit to our community is valued at $1.5 million per year, as well as keeping our living environment healthy.
       •Boardman Park preserves 194 acres of natural habitat that protects many native species of plants and animals and is an excellent representative of Ohio’s glaciated Beech/Maple forests and lowland hardwood forests. The natural area provides vegetative buffers to development and preserves habitat for wildlife, facilitates a biodiversity and establishes an ecological integrity.
       •Boardman Park protects over 18-acres of wetlands and McKay’s Run that is a major tributary of the Yellowcreek Water Shed. Wetland habitats serve essential functions in an ecosystem, including acting as water filters, providing flood and erosion control, and furnishing food and homes for fish and wildlife. Wetlands also absorb excess nutrients, sediments, and other pollutants before they reach rivers, lakes, and other waterbodies.
      Although the following benefits are not environmental; they do have a positive impact on our community:
       •Enrich the Quality of Life: Boardman Park’s unique and diverse footprint of recreational and educational opportunities provides a place for children and families to connect with nature and recreate outdoors together. According to research performed at small local parks, spending time outdoors and connecting with nature improves general mood and attitude, reduces stress, improves mindfulness and creativity, and promotes community connections. Community bonds and connection are what holds a community together.
       •Variety of Recreational Facilities: Boardman Park provides sand volleyball, tennis and pickleball courts, practice tennis wall, softball and hardball fields, four-miles of trails, three unique playgrounds, an 18-hole disc golf course and Paws Town Dog Park.
      Just a Small Piece of the Pie
      Keeps the Green Oasis Green
      Recently, a pie chart was developed based on information provided by the Mahoning County Auditor that illustrates the percent allocation of a tax dollar paid in Boardman Township to the following government entities: Boardman Local Schools – 56.44%, Boardman Township – 21.36%, Mahoning County – 16.1%, Mahoning County Joint Vocational School District – 3.1%, Mill Creek Park – 2%, and Boardman Park – 1%. Budget Challenges
      Boardman Park’s budget is severely limited primarily due to operating, preserving and improving the park on essentially a 1-mill levy for 72 years. Additionally, the park’s budget has been further challenged by the following:
       •Dramatic increase in attendance, which has resulted in a 40% increase in operating cost since 2009
       •Reductions in local government funding and reimbursements from the State of Ohio. Boardman Park has lost $185,000 or about 14% of its budget since 2009
       •Boardman Park’s budget has not kept up with the rate of inflation, because there is no inflation factor built into real property tax levies---per the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index, prices are 19.4% higher in 2019 than prices in 2009
       •Due to COVID-19, the park district has seen approximately a 15% decrease in its annual income. From mid-March through May, the pandemic forced the park to close its rental facilities and cancel programs, which has severely impacted its internal revenue streams, i.e. rental income represents approximately 17% of the annual income and activity fees represent about 10.5% of the annual income.
      0.6 Mill Renewal Levy = No New Taxes
      On the November 3 General Election Ballot, Boardman Park, asks the community to approve the renewal of an existing six-tenths mill levy. This is a renewal of an existing levy, which means No New Taxes. The levy generates $522,800 per year, which represents 45% of Boardman Park’s annual income.
      Crucial Levy – 45 % of Budget Income
      Last Chance to Renew
      Considering the challenges confronting Boardman Park’s budget, the passage of the six-tenths mill levy is crucial because it is our last chance to preserve approximately one-half of the park’s annual income. approximately $522,800. The small issue on the November 3 ballot is the park’s last chance to renew this levy before it expires. If the levy is not renewed, then the Park will lose 45% of its annual income beginning in 2021. To that end, the passage of the Levy is crucial to efforts in keeping Boardman Park a viable recreational and natural resource for the benefit of the community it serves.
      Dan Slagle Jr. Boardman Park’s executive director, says “We believe that Boardman Park plays a vital role in keeping Boardman “A Nice Place to Call Home.” Please be assured that the Board of Park Commissioners, Trent Cailor, Joyce Mistovich and Ken Goldsboro, and its staff will continue to work diligently to meet the recreational needs of our community and create wholesome opportunities to live and interact with family, friends, and neighbors while serving as prudent stewards of the tax dollars entrusted to them.”
 
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