Joint resolution approved

The long-awaited recreation commission has moved closer to becoming a reality.  The Augusta City Council at last night’s meeting approved a joint resolution calling for a public vote on creating a joint recreation commission with Augusta USD 402.  
The renewed grassroots efforts have been pushing the commission forward in the past year and has been coordinated with both city and school district officials to identify the best strategy possible.
Last night’s proposal only created the commission and the recreation center will be considered later.
Assistant City Manager Cody Sims reminded council members, “The city’s five-year strategic plan Goal 6A identifies ‘expanding leisure activities for youth and families by providing leadership for formation of a local recreation commission as authorized by state law’ as a top quality of life priority. The quality of life perspective does rank as a  top priority for many.”
Tony Madrigal, a proponent for the commission,  told council members he had seen other communities the size of Augusta that have successful recreation commissions.
With an approval of the Joint Resolution No. 2017-01, the measure moves forward to the USD 402 Board of Education for their consideration on Feb. 13 in order to submit to voters the proposition of creating the joint recreation system and levying one mill to support the system.  The school district has a larger assessed valuation.
The cost of the election, which is $16,000,  shall be borne equally by the city and school district.  
City Manager Josh Shaw explained the state will not allow this question to be included on the ballot for the upcoming election for Congressman Mike Pompeo’s replacement.   
The election of the establishment of the recreation commission will be a mail-in ballot, with ballots due by April 25.
Childers added if the voters approve the commission, then it moves forward to the Board of Education in July and it can be included in their 2018 budget.
 Joint work session set
Council approved a joint work session with the Parks Advisory Board at 6 p.m. on Feb. 13 at city hall.  They are expected to discuss the engineer’s concept for a three-field baseball facility, complete with a restroom/concession building and improved parking at Garvin Park.

For more on council members’ concerns addressed at Monday’s meeting and a special presentation made to Sgt. Chad McCluskey, see Thursday's TG edition.

Belinda Larsen is the Augusta City Editor and can be reached at blarsen@butlercountytimesgazette.com