Parks commission approves allocations for Leatherwood tax

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Eureka Springs Parks and Recreation Commission is focused on improving Lake Leatherwood City Park.

On Monday night, director Justin Huss said the renewal of the 0.125 percent tax for Lake Leatherwood means the commission can allocate more funding in that area. The tax was renewed last June, Huss said, but the commission didn’t receive its first payment until December.

“We hadn’t been collecting for over half of 2017,” Huss said. “We held back on that a bit. We feel comfortable since we’re collecting again to make a few additional requests and set a policy within that tax to address some things.”

Huss proposed using 20 percent of the tax revenue to create a fund focused on water quality, saying that would include dredging the lake, working on sewer projects and improving the dam.

“We’ll start building that fund up so as we find the grant or partnerships to work on that, we have some money in the bank to do that,” Huss said.

He suggested using 20 percent of the revenue, Huss said, because it strikes a good balance.

“I think that’s substantial enough but not too much,” Huss said. “We may up that next year.”

Other allocations, Huss said, would include improvements to the marina and cabins. The commission voted unanimously to approve the allocations.

In other business, commissioner Ferguson Stewart said he wants to create an awards program for those who give to the parks system. Stewart said he hopes to have an awards ceremony at the end of the year where the commission can honor those who donate to parks, saying people can pay a small fee to nominate others for the awards.

“We’ve got partnerships going on, but we need to sometimes pat them on the back,” Stewart said.

Huss said he completely supports the idea.

“I love it. I think doing it at the end of the year makes a lot of sense, because we do our employee bonuses at the end of the year already,” Huss said.

Chairman Bill Featherstone agreed.

“It’s very worthy to pursue that,” Featherstone said. “We have so many volunteers who do so much for us. We couldn’t do it without them. That’s the bottom line.”

Huss presented the director’s report, saying 2018 is going well so far.

“We continue to be excited and more confident than ever that this will be an incredible year that allows us to provide a multitude of benefits to the community,” Huss said. “I look forward to continued engagement with the public. There’s so many good ideas and good things people want that would be awesome.”

The commission’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 20, at The Auditorium.

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