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Monday, May 2, 2016

Council considers transfer of parks ownership

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Mike McCullough
The possibility of the county transferring the responsibility of area parks may be becoming a stronger reality.

The Clay County Council conducted a discussion about the county parks with the Clay County Commissioners and members of the Poland Lions Club during Monday night's meeting.

In recent months, all but one of the members on the Clay County Parks Board have resigned, sparking the council's consideration of transferring the parks to their respective areas.

However, the council initially recognized not all of the county's six parks (Center Point, Coalmont, Knightsville, Poland, Saline City and Staunton) have an incorporated town board that could take the responsibility, if they chose to do so.

During February's meeting, council member Steve Withers and Commissioner Jack Withers volunteered to look into the possibilities available.

On Monday, both said they had spoken with the town boards in Center Point, Knightsville and Staunton, all of which had expressed interest in having ownership of their respective park.

Several members of the Poland Lions Club were in attendance to express their own interest in taking the responsibility of the Poland Park.

"We would like to pursue this, if nothing else, to keep it in the community," Poland Lions Club member Scott Tieken said.

Council President Mike McCullough acknowledged the difficulty of maintaining the parks with the approximately $25,000 yearly budget.

"None of us want to get rid of the parks," McCullough said. "But, with the constant vandalism and need to upgrade the equipment to make it safer, it would be tough even if the budget was $250,000."

Currently, the county's park budget is being used mainly for liability insurance and utility payments, but members of the council believed it may be easier for various entities to take control of the parks themselves.

"Even when it comes to the insurance, it would probably be more reasonable than it is for us," council member Larry Moss said.

Tieken asked, if the Lions Club were to take control of the Poland Park, if the county would maintain payments on utilities and insurance through the end of 2009 to allow the opportunity to set up a bit of a base fund for the future.

"We have it set to where we will continue payments through the end of this year, and if the parks our transferred, we would drop that line item from our 2010 budget," McCullough said.

McCullough added it has been tough to find new members for the Parks Board, but members of the Poland Lions Club volunteered to take the open positions. However, since it appears the parks may be transferred, the council plans to approach the recently resigned members to ask them to serve on the board until the end of the year.

In other business during Monday's meeting, the Clay County Council,

* Approved a total of $14,100 in additional appropriations to account for the upfront fees needed to be paid for the future Commissioners' Certificate sale and other services,

* Transferred $21,000 within the Health Fund from the Public Health Coordinator line item and split it up between four other line items and transferred another $150 within the Local Health Maintenance Fund from office supplies to PERF. This was needed to prepare the books for the hiring of a new Public Health Coordinator/Nurse by the Clay County Health Department, and

* Passed an amended salary ordinance for the Public Health Coordinator/Nurse position, setting the compensation at $16.09 an hour.

The next meeting of the Clay County Council will be Monday, April 6, at 6 p.m., in the Commissioners' Courtroom at the Clay County Courthouse.

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If Mike McCullough thinks it would be difficult to maintain the parks with a $250,000 budget, and the current budget is $25,000, do the citizens in these small communities really understand what they are in for? Larry Moss thinks it may be "more reasonable", cost-wise for the small communities to insure these risks? Ask an Insurance Agent if the cost to insure a risk changes depending on who owns the property. This is just a micro problem similar to a macro problem at the federal government level. It is easy to understand why the council wants to wash their hands of the community parks, but those people in these communites better be careful!

-- Posted by ucantbserious on Thu, Mar 5, 2009, at 7:21 AM

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