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Dickinson Park Board lowers tax levy

As part of the 2014 Dickinson Parks and Recreation budget, the city's Park Board on Friday voted to do something unusual.

In a move that Director James Kramer called a first in his 20 years as a professional, the board passed a tax levy that decreased by close to $4,000 from the previous year.

"This is a reduction in dollars levied to the citizens," Kramer said. "And that's something I haven't seen before."

As part of its projected budget of close to $5.1 million for 2014, the board voted 3-0 (Carol Herauf and Kelly Cooper were not present) during a roundtable meeting at the West River Community Center to issue a certificate of tax levy of just more than $1.3 million to Stark County.

"If you look at the tax dollars that we're asking for, about 75 percent of the revenue for the park district doesn't come from property taxes," Park Board President Mike Lefor said. "Most of the revenue comes from subscriptions, sponsorships, player fees and other sources. We're asking for less dollars than we did last year and I want to thank the rest of the board, the budget committee and our staff for working so hard on this budget. I'm pretty proud of that."

Although changes for the 2014 budget won't officially kick in until Jan. 1, the board agreed to allow the salaries of full-time Parks and Recreation employees to be adjusted beginning on Oct. 1. Kramer said extra money was available because of a handful of open positions that have yet to be filled.

Though Lefor said cost run-ups for the expense have "leveled off" in recent years, the biggest chunk of the 2014 levy is still represented by employee retirement payments, which account for $209,750.

Bryan Horwath
A Wisconsin native, Horwath has been covering news in the Oil Patch of North Dakota since 2012. Horwath currently serves as the senior agriculture and political reporter for The Dickinson Press and, despite the team's tendency to always let him down, remains a diehard Minnesota Vikings fan.
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