07/10/12  Monday night a joint meeting of the Plymouth Common Council and Park Board was held to hear second reading of an ordinance that would move the idea of expanding park services to the General Election ballot.

It was a split vote by the Plymouth Common Council on the decision to move the park expansion of services to include Center and West Township on the ballot in November.  Two members voted to move the concept to the ballot while three members voted against the idea.

After moving the ordinance to the floor for second reading members of the Common Council each gave their opinions prior to allowing the public to comment.

Shawn Grobe said, “I recognize this is a very controversial issue.  I’m in favor of passing it and sending it to the voters in November.”  He clarified that they would not be raising the tax levy but spreading operational costs between township property owners and city tax payers.

Council member Duane Culp said, “I’ve done some research and I’m just not quite sure that there isn’t another way.”  He referred to the Culver Park where Union Township pays $15,000 annually.

Mike Delp said since last week he has received lots of comments.  He felt there was not enough information put out by the park board on the issue.  He also said, “I feel the vote would be stacked.”

Don Ecker said he had received phone calls for and against the idea and discussion with park board members.  He explained that he had contacted 3 petition signers and found the 2 of them understood but the third didn’t realize the impact to their taxes they would experience if the expansion became a reality.  He continued by saying, “People are not objected to paying something but farmland Is a concern.”

Councilman Wayne Smith said several park board members had contacted him. He said, “We have a great park system.”  He explained that his grandsons play ball in the park but live outside the city limits. Smith continued, “We are providing services for others…I’d be crazy not to vote for it because it will reduce the taxes for city property owners.”

The public also had a chance to speak with a dozen people giving their opinion.  Although more speakers were against the idea of  expanding services there were some who live in the townships and are willing to pay taxes to expand services.

West Township resident, Brent Martin said he his children and grand children benefit from the park.  He also said the fees would discriminate against people who couldn’t afford them.

Lyn Ward, West Township resident and petition carrier said she doesn’t have children or grand children that use the park.  She continued, by saying, “I don’t use the pool, baseball fields or Greenway Trail but I use the park a great deal by participating at the Farmers’ Market weekly, in the Relay for Life and Bark for Life, and Yellow River Festival.”  She was in full support of expanding park serviced to West Township.

After more than 30 minutes of discussion the Council voted…two in favor of moving the expansion to the November ballot, Shawn Grobe and Wayne Smith while Mike Delp, Duane Culp and Don Ecker voted the motion down.