Kelsey Bishop, Community Editor

Oxford voters will be voting on a levy to support the MetroParks of Butler County Nov. 2.

The 0.5 mill levy will cover a six-year period. If the levy passes, it will cost $15 per year for the owner of a home with a tax value of $100,000, according to MetroParks Executive Director Jonathan Granville.

Granville said the MetroParks of Butler County are projecting approximately 18 percent less income from local governments in the next year.

“Projections aren’t really positive from that source in the coming year,” Granville told Oxford City Council Sept. 21. “The dollars are getting a little scarcer than normal.”

If the levy passes, the funds allotted to the MetroParks will be 4 cents per day for each person.

Granville said the City of Oxford does not currently fund the MetroParks of Butler County.

“We have some long-standing relationships with some non-profit groups and some units of government,” he said. “We’re hoping we can add the City of Oxford to that list.”

The funds from the levy would go toward improving and providing more recreational facilities and educational programs.

Granville said if the levy passes, the money would also be used to protect existing park areas from further deterioration.

“Unfortunately one of the things we’ve had to do in this downturned economy is close a few small parks,” he said. “We’ve also had to use minimum maintenance and increase fees around the park.”

According to Granville, the largest source of dependable income for the MetroParks is earned revenue from educational programs, lodge rental and sales. He said approximately 40 percent of the operating income comes from earned dollars.

The MetroParks also receive funds from county commissioners and private grants and donations.

Granville said the MetroParks have been working to promote healthy lifestyles for Butler County residents.

“Without places where you can practice healthy lifestyles, we’re less likely to be active,” he said.

Miami University first-year Ashley Hamway agreed parks are important for the health of communities.

“Especially with obesity rates, I think parks are very important for promoting outdoor activities and healthy lifestyles,” Hamway said. “I hope that voters will be willing to put forth a little extra money to fund the parks.”

The MetroParks manage approximately 55 acres throughout Butler County.

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