May 24, 2011

News Release

For Immediate Release

Greene County Commission: No August Parks Tax Initiative

The Greene County Commission decided earlier this morning not to move forward with the proposed initiative for a county-wide Parks Sales Tax on the August ballot.

The Commission accepted public testimony and feedback during the last several weeks before reaching this decision. In addition, a telephone poll conducted by Greene County appears to represent an unfavorable result of ANY additional taxes at this time. "As a Park Board, we join the Commission in a sensitive approach to the timing of this issue," said Park Board Chair Jerry Clark. "We respect the Commission's decision and will continue to work with both the County and City to respond to the needs of our county-wide community. We also appreciate the countless citizens and organizations who took the time to respond with support for this Parks and Storm Water initiative."

The proposed ballot would have included a 1/4-cent County-wide Parks Sales Tax. Of the 1/4-cent, 1/8-cent would have provided funding for development of the remaining School-Park sites within the Parks, Open Space and Greenways Master Plan. Additionally, the Master Plan includes aquatic facility development and renovations; Dickerson Park Zoo improvements and exhibit upgrades; trail expansion and development; open space projects and preservation; as well as City and County waterway improvements. Area municipalities also will be affected, as this initiative would have provided the eight cities funding, as it did in 2001 and 2006, for use within their park systems.

The other 1/8-cent funding, approved in 2006, would have again been used exclusively for Lakes, Streams and Waterway Improvements throughout the county, such as those currently underway at Sequiota and Fassnight Parks and Dickerson Park Zoo. These 1/8-cent earmarked projects are prioritized and provided by the City and County and protect our local watershed.

"We again thank the voters of Greene County for their support over the last decade," said Clark. "Their vision and dedication since 2001 has helped to create a national award-winning parks system. We will continue to provide safe and affordable services and programming, along with clean and well-maintained facilities, parks and trails throughout the county. We will do our best to provide that which we can for our ever-growing Greene County population."

For more information, media contact: Jerry Clark, Park Board Chair, 417-881-5655; or Bob Nelson, Public Information Administrator, 417-839-2005.