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Park Millage Election Plan Abandoned

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The county's Parks and Recreation Commission has decided not to seek operating millage in the November general election. Chairman Nelson Meade said the commission has "determined that there's not sufficient time to prepare an adequate plan" for voter consideration. The county's budgetary problems and "the possibility of too much competition with other election issues" were the reasons for the commission's change in plans, Meade said. In July, the chairman had told the Board of Commissioners that the commission wanted to seek either one-half or more mill for five years - meaning income of about $450,000 or $900,000 per year - during the general election. "But we have decided that such an issue would be premature in November," Meade said. "And frankly, we wouldn't want to come out of an election with egg on our faces." Meade said he and the county's new Parks and Recreation director, Robert Gamble, had agreed that postponement of the issue was advisable and that they both appeared before the commission to support that opinion. Meade noted that 1974 and 1975 county budget matters appear tight and that at least one community, Ypsilanti Township, has announced plans to seek parks millage in the November election. "Such competition for money and competition for interest and support when so many issues are at stake in the election put the odds against us," Meade said. Although there will be no other country-wide election until 1976, unless a special election is called, the commission is expected to try to seek millage in 1975. "Hopefully, we won't have to ask for a special election," Meade said. A special county-wide election would cost about $50,000. "I won't totally discount that possibility, but hopefully we can seek permission to have the issue on perhaps city election ballots and have a special election only in those areas without an election at the time," Meade said. Without operating millage, the commission's budget will be decided by the Board of Commissioners and come from county operating money. This year, the commission's operating budget has been $65,000. For 1975, it has requested $102,585 and that already has been cut to $80,000 during hearings before the commissioners' Budget Committee. That amount could still go up or down when the budget recommendation is delivered to the full board.