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Park director: Levy needed to keep community center open

Annie Zelm • Nov 5, 2011 at 5:00 PM

Residents who enjoy strolling at the city’s parks or spending time at the Bellevue Community Center can show their support for them with their vote in November.

A 1-mill, five-year replacement levy is needed to fill the funding gap left when the state phased out the tangible personal property tax, recreation director Marc Weisenberger said.

It replaces a levy that’s been on the book for decades.

The city expects the new levy will bring in about $133,000 per year, a significant portion of the department’s $400,000 annual budget.

Without the levy, residents could see shorter hours at the Bellevue Community Center, fewer programs and a general lack of maintenance at the city’s parks. The city may also have to scale back some of its community events, such as the Bellevue Community Days Festival and holiday activities.

Heidi Musser, program coordinator for the Bellevue Recreation Department, said the Bellevue Community Center offers a variety of programs for people of all ages at a reasonable price.

“I think the Bellevue Recreation Department and specifically the Bellevue Community Center helps give our little town spirit,” Musser said.

WHAT: A 1-mill replacement levy to fund the Bellevue Recreation Department, which includes the Bellevue Community Center and the city’s parks.

WHY: The department expects to lose a total of $60,000 during the next two years because of the phasing out of the tangible personal property tax. The replacement levy is expected to make up about $38,600 of that gap.

COST: The levy affects all residents who live within city limits. The owner of a $75,000 home would pay $26.25 per year. The owner of a $100,000 home would pay $35 per year — an increase of about $4.43 from the current rate.  Residents 65 and older who qualify for the Homestead Exemption will pay slightly less: About $23 on a $75,000 home and $30.63 on a $100,000 home.

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