LANSING | Regardless of the final outcome, Lan-Oak Park District Executive Director John Wilson said he was pleased with the way local voters reacted to a referendum asking for a tax rate increase.
That same referendum question, which is to raise money to pay for improvements to local parks, has come up three times previously and failed by solid margins each time.
In Tuesday’s election, however, the referendum was only narrowly behind, with votes in more than three-quarters of precincts counted.
With votes in 21 of 23 precincts in Lansing counted, 2,232 people had voted “yes” in favor of the referendum, while 2,331 people had voted “no.”
“We came a lot closer this time than we did in the last three elections,” Wilson said, adding that he’s optimistic that a lead will develop by the time all votes are counted and the referendum will pass.
“I’m hoping for the best,” he said, adding that he believes a citizens committee headed by former Village President Dan Podgorski to build up public support for the referendum was successful.
“They did one heck of a job to get people interested in this,” Wilson said.
The Park District’s referendum called for a 10-cent increase in its tax rate, with the intent being to raise about $450,000 for capital improvements.
Park officials have said money would go toward renovating Bock Park, developing a new playing field for soccer and repairing shelters and playground equipment at other parks.
Officials have said that money will not go toward operations expenses for the Park District. They also have said that a home valued at about $116,000 would see an increase of about $38 per year in the Park District’s share of property tax revenues paid by a Lansing resident.
If the referendum does not pass, Park District officials have said they would remove shelters at Lan-Oak and Erfert parks, along with antiquated playground equipment at several parks across Lansing.