816 North

North Kansas City citizens to vote on increasing park levy

Voters in North Kansas City will be asked next Tuesday to consider an increase in the city’s park tax levy.

Currently, the city’s park tax is levied at 12 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

If approved, the levy would be increased to 20 cents.

The city’s parks tax levy has not been increased in more than 25 years, said Cathy McLeod, a member of the city’s parks and recreation board, and a supporter of the new levy.

“The cost of maintaining our beautiful parks has gone up over the years, and especially last year, during the severe drought,” McLeod said.

All current tax revenues and program fees are being used to maintain departmental operations at their present levels, according to a fact sheet supplied by the city. The parks and recreation board maintains playgrounds, walking and biking trails, tennis and racquetball courts, and public restrooms at no additional charge to the public.

Over the past few years the board has used available funds to pay for several capital improvements. As a result, parks and recreation funds stand at their lowest levels in the last 10 years, precluding the possibility of future capital improvements.

The department’s planned dog park, recently announced, will be financed through North Kansas City gaming funds, said McLeod.

The municipality’s parks long have been a source of pride, she said, adding that their maintenance and operation received 94 percent approval in a recent resident survey. “We have hundreds of people who use Macken Park on a daily basis,” McLeod said.

“We frequently have family reunions, baby showers, weddings and pick-up games of all sorts there, at no charge to residents.”

If the new tax levy is approved, the parks and recreation board would add almost $200,000 annually to the department’s operating budget.

McLeod says she knows of no organized opposition.