CHARLOTTE, Mich. — On Wednesday, the Eaton County Board of Commissioners voted to dissolve the Parks and Recreation Commission because they said the commission doesn't have any real decision-making power.
Whittum says the way the county manages its parks now just doesn't work well.
"Its like dealing with two divorced parents. You have a strictly advisory board that says yes go do this. Then when the parks director brings something before the board suggestions or recommendations that the Parks Commission wants then the Board says no," Whittum said. "We're streamlining it and making it more efficient for our county to operate our parks system."
Also next month, the board will vote on a resolution to ask voters to approve a parks millage in November.
There are 11 parks in Eaton County, and the cost to maintain them carries a big price tag. That's why the Board of Commissioners is moving forward with drafting a resolution that would put a parks millage question on the November ballot.
Board of Commissioners Chair Jeremy Whittum says the county's population is expected to grow in the next couple of years, which is a major factor in pushing for a parks millage.
"The services and demands for the county we don't have enough revenue to keep pace with the incoming demand and current demand," Whittum said. "We have $5 billion in the value in our county. A billion is exempt, so that half a mill levied against $4 billion would generate $2 million, which would be strictly dedicated to our parks."
One avid park user, Jackie Fitzgerald, says she's been enjoying Fitzgerald Park since she was a little girl and thinks public funding is key to keeping these spaces available to everyone.
"It gives them a place to go to get out of their houses and take their kids and go have a picnic," Fitzgerald said. "You've got a river here, you can take the kids out and go get some exercise. Just have some fun."
Whittum says the language for the millage resolution will need to be drafted by the county's legal department, voted on by the board and then filed with the County Clerk's office in July in order to make it onto the November ballot.
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