City leaders are asking residents to consider a ballot measure that would allow for reallocation of some funds from the library maintenance millage to improve several of the city’s parks.

On the ballot of the May 2 special election is a measure that would permit the city to be more flexible with the library maintenance millage to support capital improvements to Ferrand, Gezon, Ideal and Jackson parks, which were damaged by the 2014 tornados and 2013 flood. The proposed measure is a creative solution to redevelop those parks without costing the city’s taxpayers additional funds, said Rebecca Rynbrandt, city director of community services.

“We want to be able to flex a portion of funding to the investment of these (park) properties without having to increase any millage,” Rynbrandt said. “Rather than increasing the overall funding, it’s about providing targeted funding remaining to be dedicated for these specific parks and improvements.”

Three years ago, the library maintenance millage was increased to levy capital for structural improvements to the now 12-year-old Kent District Library Wyoming Branch, 3350 Michael Ave. SW. In that time, Rynbrandt said the city has invested about $800,000 into the building, and the city now is confident no further capital investment will be needed for the library until 2027.

The city’s current millage to support operational costs for the Parks and Recreation Department was passed in 1994, at a capture rate of 1.5 mills. While operational costs have increased over the past 23 years, the city has not increased the rate for the parks and recreation millage, which annually captures $2.9 million for recreation programs and basic maintenance and upkeep.

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