Letter: ‘I support Ashland Parks — and will vote “yes” on 210 and 211’

October 19, 2022

Let’s start with 210. It rightly gives authority to the city manager over day in, day out staff management as opposed to the elected Parks Commission. It’s not a power grab, it’s proper procedure.

As mayor of Ashland, I have no authority over staff. I don’t speak with staff without the city manager present. This is true of our City Council and should be true of our Parks Commission.

It’s a firewall built in to ensure proper management. We voted for this form of governance when we made the charter change to a strong manager form. Measure 210 cleans things up so that Parks Commissioners are under the same system as the City Council and mayor.

It’s also about money. The current parks commission authority causes the city’s insurance rates to increase by 36%, it triggers a doubling of our deductible and we have more than doubled our workers compensation expenses in parks.

Measure 210 saves us money. Measure 210 brings parks under professional day-in and day-out management. 210 saves parks. That’s why I’m voting “yes.”

Now let’s talk about 211. 211 doesn’t really guarantee a funding stream for parks. The fact is that the charter leaves financial allocation to the City Council, no matter what. The food and beverage tax is under the authority of the council. We are asking for support to allow the council and city manager flexibility.

If we have an emergency, which I hope never happens, we will need that money to make our city whole. Locking it up in parks is not good foresight. Parks gets solid funding from the city. Parks is funded at a higher level than our fire department.

I live in Ashland. I love the parks. I use them almost daily. No one is against parks.

Save our parks by voting “yes” on 210 and 211.

Julie Akins

Ashland

Julie Akins is mayor of Ashland; this letter represents her personal viewpoint.

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Bert Etling

Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Ashland.news. Email him at betling@ashland.news.
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