Community Upgrades On Next Tuesday’s Ballot
Voters will once again head to the polls to let Winslow’s city administration know what they want.
A $5.09 million bond is one of the key issues to be decided. The funds earned from the bond will be split between park upgrades, a new community center and a new library.
The proposed bond would increase property taxes to raise the money to cover the improvements.
City Administrator John Roche explained a house appraised at $100,000 would pay an extra $7.50 a month. A breakdown of new tax rates based on appraised values can be found in the voters’ guide the city mailed to homes in April.
Roche explained some of the upgrades that will occur across town if the bond issue is passed.
At the Central Park, Vargas Field will receive new seating and new dugout netting. The Little League fields will get lights. The public restrooms will be upgraded, as well as the Girl Scout House.
Sidewalks along Colorado Ave. will be constructed, along with a permanent skateboard park. He added sidewalks, lighting and painting will be done throughout the park.
A cover at the outdoor pool will be an energy saver during the winter. The pool cannot be drained during the cold months due to it being made of plaster. The bathhouse will also see some upgrades.
Roche explained the indoor pool will be replastered and a system will be installed to reduce the humidity inside the building.
Lee Street Park will get new restrooms.
Triangle Park on Flemming Street and Coopertown Park will receive new basketball courts, new lighting and new fencing that would meet ADA requirements.
Sacred Heart Park in Southside will receive upgrades to the fields and walkway improvements.
The big improvement to the parks department would be a new multi-purpose field located on Maple Street near Interstate 40. The fields will be used for various sports throughout the year.
The city’s rodeo grounds will also receive new stock pins and other improvements.
A new 10,000 square foot community center will also be constructed. In the citizens’ survey conducted last year, 60 percent stated they would be supportive of raising taxes in exchange for a center, such as the one proposed.
The new center would have a multi-purpose room where sports could be played and dances could be held. Roche explained a weight room, meeting rooms, showers and possibly a sauna or jacuzzi would be featured.
He said the city council has not decided on a location for the center, but would do so soon after the bond is passed.
A new 10,000 square foot library would take up $1.5 million of the bond. The new library will feature adult stack areas, children areas, meeting rooms and a bookstore where the Friends of the Library will sell used books and videos.
One of the concerns brought up against the bond issue is the lack of plans for the new library for voters to look at before they cast their ballots.
Roche explained in order for plans to be drawn up, money is needed. “Plans would cost about $100,000 and we don’t have that money. It’s a question of spending money on something when you might not get it,” he said.
If passed, the bond would be in effect for thirty years. Roche explained municipal bonds are done in this way so people using the services in the future can pay for their portion of the costs.
Other issues on the upcoming ballot are four amendments to the Winslow charter. The charter, which was written in 1957, has only been slightly amended once in the 1980s. Roche explains most of the amendments deal with financial issues that will bring the operational costs of the city up to date.
Proposition 102 gives the council the right to sell city-property valued up to $25,000 without an ordinance.
Proposition 103 states that six council members, instead of the current five, must agree on the use of the emergency clause in situations. The amendment also changes the wording of the emergency clause to include improving the “general welfare” as a reason to use the clause.
Proposition 104 will allow purchases to be executed by contracts for city improvements under $10,000 to occur without the council’s approval. The charter currently has that amount set at $5,000.
Proposition 105 will not require council’s approval for purchases under $10,000, increased from $1,000.
Proposition 106, an addition to the charter, will establish a two-percent bed tax. This tax will be put on hotels and motels. The money will go towards the Chamber of Commerce for tourism activities. Roche estimated revenues between $90,000 and $100,000 each year from this tax.