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Lake Metroparks Levy On The Ballot This November

The 0.3-mill replacement and 0.5-mill additional levy would raise $5.5 million for the Lake Metroparks system each year

The voters of Lake County will have the opportunity to vote on a 0.3-mill replacement and 0.5-mill additional levy for Lake Metroparks this November.

If the levy were approved, it would be a 0.5-mill increase from the levy that is in effect right now.

The new 10-year levy would produce $5.5 million per year while costing property owners $24.50 annually per $100,000 valuation, according to the Lake County Auditor's Office.

That is a $4.2 million annual increase from the current levy, which collects $5.80 per $100,000 valuation.

Paul Palagyi, the interim executive director of Lake Metroparks, said the levy is necessary because of the state's reduction in local parks funding and lower property tax collection.

He said those and other reductions forced Lake Metroparks to reduce their budget by five percent this year. Additionally, the Metroparks are expecting to lose another $3 million in funding because of decreased property tax collection next year.

Palagyi said Lake Metroparks has taken steps to decrease their spending. They froze staff salaries two years ago. Additionally, the Metroparks has fewer employees now than they did in 1994, despite having more parks and programs than then.

"If passed, this levy would not return Lake Metroparks to its previous spending level," Palagyi said. "This is only a portion of what we've lost but it will prevent dramatic, drastic cuts to the parks system."

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