Park concerns resolved
In an article in the Times, Russell Township’s newest park commissioner, David Genske, expresses concern that the Russell Township Park District will not have funds to maintain parks if they use funds that the park district currently has to purchase the Modroo farm. He is also concerned that the township could lose tax revenues if the Modroo farm becomes part of the park district.
No need for worry, Mr. Genske. The facts will allay your concerns.
The park district has a land-acquisition fund of nearly $1.3 million that can only be spent to acquire land. The money in this fund comes from a tax levy that we, the voters, approved by a margin of 2-1 in 2011. That levy specifically said that our tax money would be used “for the purpose of acquiring lands in Russell Township for conservation and for the preservation of water quality, wildlife habitats and woodlands …” This money cannot be used for maintenance of existing parks.
But no worries. There is a general fund available for maintenance and improvements that should have approximately $200,000 in it. If the current park commissioners are as frugal as our past commissioners were, that general fund could easily cover maintenance costs, administrative expenses and capital improvements for 10 years without any new taxes.
As for concerns about loss of property-tax revenue when new parkland is purchased, the fact is that the community saves money when lands are preserved as parks rather than being developed. According to the Farmland Information Center, for every $1 in tax money collected from residential use, we in Ohio spend an average of $1.35 providing services to those residents. Parks require very few services in comparison.
Residential development of Modroo would cause a net drain on our local budget, because we would need to provide everything from roads to emergency services to schools for those new residents.
So, Mr. Genske, the solution to your concern about tax revenue is to purchase the Modroo farm and preserve it as open space. That is the way to keep township expenses low and to save money.
Shelley Chernin, Russell
Park situation is disturbing
I am writing in reference to the park situation in Russell. I am 65 years old and recently signed up for Medicare and am very disturbed by what is going on in Russell. I have lived in Russell since 1972, so I know a little about the history of politics in Russell.
Our present park board in Russell, I believe, is sufficient to do the job they were appointed to do if allowed to do what they were appointed to do. After all, they are only trying to serve the citizens of Russell by working with the existing available funds, and that includes maintenance, as well as acquiring parkland.
Russell Township has a history of buying up land and playing monopoly with our township funds.
Personally, I am very happy with the vast wooded parkland that has been developed at West Woods, and our county has the ability to maintain it well, as opposed to a hayfield at the west end of our township.
I think the record might show that Russell Township probably owns more land than any township in the state. If taxes get any higher, I will have a hard time living in Russell. I would not get the fair market value for my property that is being paid for the Modroo property.
All citizens of Russell should take note of this in the upcoming election, as this election will consider many important issues. Does Russell need another levy this fall?
James Link, Russell