My reasons for not supporting the 1 mill millage for parks and recreation are:
1. If you combine all the state, county and township parks, safety paths and numerous trails in Orion Township there is no need to expand what we have on a grandiose scale.
2. The current .9064 millage for the township general fund includes all parks and recreation spending. The additional 1 mill will more than double our taxes.
3. The 2018 budget allocates over 29 percent of the general fund to parks and recreation, and, if this millage is passed, it will grow to over 43 percent of the total budget, which is excessive.
4. In 2014, the township board approved the purchase of Camp Agawam for $1.025 million with the intent of swapping this land with the DNR for 76 acres of Bald Mountain property adjacent to Civic Center Park. In 2017, the board switched their plan by keeping Agawam and swapping 14 acres of other property for the 76-acre tract mentioned above.
The board has created this issue of abundant properties with no funds to maintain/update the properties. Their solution is to increase our taxes. Why don’t they solve the problem they created by selling all or part of Agawam? Mr. Barnett has indicated the Agawam property is worth over $3 million.
5. I am extremely disappointed that I have seen communications stating that this is not a 1 mill increase because the Fire Fund 2 millage of .5834 mills is expiring. In my opinion this is a cheap political trick to mislead taxpayers as these are two completely independent actions. If you vote yes on the Parks & Rec. millage your taxes will go up from the new baseline (with Fire Fund 2 expiring) by 1 mill as is stated on the ballot.
6. I estimate that the township has already spent over $200,000 on Wildwood and this millage proposes over $250,000 in incremental spending on a facility that is used 15-20 days a year. Is this where our tax dollars should be going?
7. Proponents of the millage indicate they can generate revenue from a renovated lodge at Camp Agawam and improved Wildwood, but the township’s track record on revenue generation from facilities is poor.
By the way, whatever happened to the Zip-Line and its reported revenue potential at Camp Agawam?
Taxpayers, especially senior citizens on a fixed income should not support “Disney Land North” with increased taxes, and the township board should solve the issue they created by selling all or part of Camp Agawam.