One Vote Away From a November Levy

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By a 6-2 vote, Parkersburg City Council approved first reading Tuesday of an ordinance placing an excess levy for recreation projects on the November ballot.

It's a somewhat ambitious idea, including numerous city projects from improvements to the two parks and their swimming pools, to a much-discussed skate park, in the funding for the money that would be raised by this excess levy.

But Mayor Bob Newell says none of these projects are anything new.

"The city park pool plan was drawn up in 2001, and there's never been any mention of it by any committee of city council, about how to fund it", the mayor said following Tuesday night's meeting. "It doesn't get brought up again, it just dies on the vine."

Also included is the proposed Riverfront Park, for which some federal money has already been secured. But while council appears to support putting the issue before voters, there are those who have reservations about whether cost estimates for the projects will be the final costs, period.

"I don't know how all these costs were arrived at," said councilman Dorsey Cheuvront, "because I've never seen anything that says the cost on any item on this list."

But the most adamant support came from a council member who has previously spoken in favor of the skate park concept.

"They're trying to tell us we need to get off our _____ ," councilman James Myers said emphatically, "and get this thing started."

The issue will need a 60 per cent "yes" vote to be approved, rather than just a simple majority of voters.

The last time Parkersburg put a tax issue on the ballot was in the late 1990's, for a proposed events center. That issue failed overwhelmingly.