Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Levy survey rejected

Councilman wanted poll on proposed 6-mill Wyoming vote

By Liz Oakes
The Cincinnati Enquirer

WYOMING - A week after about 60 people spoke out at two public hearings against a proposed 6-mill recreation levy, City Council at Monday night's meeting refused to discuss polling residents on the plan.

Councilman Jim O'Reilly submitted a motion at the meeting authorizing the city to spend up to $10,000 on a "statistically valid sampling" of residents' views on a levy.

The motion was not seconded.

The reason, said Councilwoman Vicky Zwissler, is that council has yet to receive the Recreation Commission's final report on the proposed $20.8 million recreation complex.

"I'm in full support of a survey that is appropriate," said Zwissler, who also is on the commission.

"But we need to let the Recreation Commission finish their work" and present it to council, she said.

O'Reilly, however, worried the city will be embarrassed by a levy "doomed to fail."

"I'm very supportive of the concept of having an improvement in our recreation and civic facilities, but I'm convinced that the size of this facility exceeds the financial capacity of the community," O'Reilly said.

A 6-mill levy, which the city is considering placing on the November ballot to pay for a new community center, municipal pool and renovated athletic field, would cost the owner of a $250,000 home - Wyoming's median value - an extra $525 a year in property taxes.

At public hearings last Wednesday and Saturday that together drew about 400 people, some residents said they thought the plan was too expensive; others said the city sorely needs recreation improvements.

"It's a substantial issue for a small community with no industry," O'Reilly said.

Zwissler said she was surprised more people didn't support the plan at the hearings.

"The demographic of families with children was underrepresented, I feel," she said. "But that doesn't mean the public meetings didn't represent what the public wants."

The Recreation Commission is expected to present its report to the city as early as council's May 17 meeting.


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