May Ballot Will Ask Wyoming Voters to Make Funding Flexible for Park Capital Improvements

Posted on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 | Press & Media

Wyoming, Michigan, February 28, 2017 – On May 2, Wyoming voters will be asked to change the way dollars can be spent under the dedicated Library Maintenance millage.

Currently, any funds collected from the millage may only be used to support the maintenance and capital improvement of Wyoming library building. Voters will be asked to give the City greater flexibility in utilizing dollars to make much-needed capital improvements to Ferrand, Gezon, Ideal and Jackson parks, which is currently not allowed under the current millage.

This request is not an increase in the amount of millage collected and will not cost taxpayers an extra penny. The vote does not reduce Kent District Library services and does not affect the City’s ability to maintain its library.

In the last two years, more than $650,000 has been spent on improvements and upgrades to the Wyoming library, working to ensure that significant capital investment will not be needed until the year 2027. The same cannot be said for the City’s Parks, which, according to the community’s 5-Year Recreation Plan on file with the State of Michigan, need an estimated $23 million in capital improvements to maintain the quality, caliber and safety of our park system.

“Our parks are an invaluable asset to the quality of life in our community,” Mayor Jack Poll said. “The ballot question is asking voters to provide Wyoming leaders greater flexibility in utilizing dollars that are already collected to make much-needed capital improvements that will benefit City residents, our parks and our beautiful library.”

Projected capital improvements include:

  • Security and safety improvements
  • Public access improvements to comply with the American with Disabilities Act
  • Tornado restoration
  • Turf and natural habitat restoration
  • Improved stormwater control
  • Infrastructure upgrades
  • Flood mitigation

The Parks and Recreation Department has lived off the same millage revenue – with no increases –for the last 20 years. Since 1995 expenses have increased, while income from the operating millage has decreased. The current millage of 1.5 mills, which annually captures $2.9 million, is used to fund recreation programs, maintenance services and basic facility upkeep; but cannot adequately fund major capital improvements which typically cost $100,000 to $600,000 per project.

Voter information sessions are being held to educate voters on the ballot question. The scheduled sessions include:

  • Wyoming Senior Center on Tuesday, March 7 at 10 a.m. 
  • Gezon Fire Station on Monday, April 24 at 7 p.m.
  • Wyoming Public Library on Saturday, April 29 at 10 a.m.

For additional information about the planned capital improvement projects, call the City of Wyoming at 616-530-3164.

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