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Special fund for Lithia Park projects proposed

 Posted: 3:10 PM May 02, 2013

A study committee has suggested a compromise to Ashland city officials' proposal that money from Ashland parks be siphoned into the city's general fund to help pay for critical services.

City officials want to help bolster the general fund by taking a large chunk of the Ashland Parks and Recreation Department's reserves and ending a longstanding agreement that parks receive half of city property-tax revenue.

But a temporary committee set up to look at parks funding issues proposed that about half of parks' ending fund balance be used to create a special reserve fund for Lithia Park maintenance, repairs and improvements.

Committee member and parks Commissioner Stefani Seffinger said Lithia Park is Ashland's oldest park and has multiple maintenance needs.

"There are a great many projects that need to be done in Lithia Park," Seffinger said.

Ashland Citizens' Budget Committee members, who are in the midst of scrutinizing a the city's proposed biennial budget, were briefed on the compromise proposal Wednesday night.

They took no action, but said they wanted the Parks Commission to discuss the proposal. The commission next meets on May 20.

The Budget Committee will decide whether to approve the proposal when it meets to adopt a city budget and set the property tax rate for the next two years on May 22.

— Vickie Aldous

Read more in Friday's paper.

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