Park Referendum Fails

Calloway County voted no on a property tax to fund the Murray-Calloway County Parks.

The referendum, a five cent tax for every $100 of taxable property, was on the ballot Tuesday. It was defeated 7,831 votes to 4,078 votes.

Larry Elkins, Calloway County judge executive, said although it was no secret that he opposed the tax, he would have been satisfied either way the vote turned out.

“The voters have spoken,” he said.

Elkins said he’s glad the election is over, because the referendum has caused some hard feelings. He said he hopes the community can get back to normal soon.

Elkins said despite the referendum not passing, the county will take a look at critical maintenance issues at the parks and try to find a way to deal with them. He said the campaign for the referendum has shown the parks have problems that need to be addressed.

Tab Brockman, Director of the Parks Department, released a statement on the failed referendum Tuesday night.

“Turning down the park referendum means some very serious challenges for the future of the services and facilities offered in our parks,” Brockman said. “The park board will have to evaluate difficult options over the winter.”

He said the last few months of discourse about the parks have shown the importance of the parks to a majority of the county. He said no matter the outcome, the referendum raised community consciousness about the needs and value of the Murray-Calloway County Parks.

“Today’s vote set an unprecedented opportunity for our city and county governments to work together with the public to develop ways to address the significant needs that exist in our parks,” he said.

Kathryn Miracle, junior from Stanford, Ky., voted for the parks referendum. Miracle said as a recreation major, she learns about how parks affect a community. She said the parks in Murray need many improvements such as improved accessibility and repairs for the pool.

Miracle said she was disappointed to see the parks referendum voted down.

“I feel like when people see the word tax it scares people away and they don’t realize how much of a positive impact it would have had in our community as a whole,” she said.

Jack Rose, Murray’s newly elected mayor, said he was not surprised the tax did not pass.

“The nickel was more than what was needed,” he said. “People do not have any interest in paying more taxes right now.”

 

Story by Kate Russell, Staff writer