City mulling cost of splash park

Effect on tax rate concern for council

Artist’s conception of ‘splash pad’ proposed for grounds of Rockdale’s Patterson Civic Center. Artist’s conception of ‘splash pad’ proposed for grounds of Rockdale’s Patterson Civic Center. City council members okayed the next fiscal year’s budget and tax rate in a special session Thursday and discussed a proposal which might have an effect on a future rate.

The council tabled for further study a request that the city pitch in $50,000 as part of an estimated $250,000 expenditure for a “splash park” on the grounds of the Patterson Civic Center.

In consecutive sessions at City Hall, first and second-reading approvals were given to a 75-cent tax rate and five-percent increases in water and sewer rates.

Current tax rate is 71 cents. Initially the city proposed a 76.826- cent tax rate and a seven-percent increase in water and sewer rates.

A review of the budget with department heads based on new assumptions on potential revenues led to the figures which were adopted Thursday.

SPLASH PARK—Collier Perry, vice-president of the Rockdale Municipal Development District (MDD), brought his proposal for a splash park before the council.

The previous Thursday, Perry had floated the idea before the MDD board, which endorsed the plan and pledged $50,000 from MDD funds (sales tax generated) toward the project.

Perry had estimated the splash park would cost $250,000 and envisioned $50,000 contributions each from the MDD, city, Rockdale business community, community/civic organizations and public donations.

He said the project, known formally as a “splash pad,” would be designed by Vortex USA, a company with extensive experience in designing water venues.

“One of the MDD’s projects is to encourage use of the Patterson Center,” he said. “I see this as a valuable asset for Rockdale.”

Perry pointed out the youth-oriented splash park could generate more persons using the center for activities like family reunions.

“ You have a family reunion, what are you going to do with the kids?” he said.

He said the park is envisioned to serve toddlers, families and teens and would be opened in the evenings exclusively for teenagers “as a place to hang out.”

The splash pad would have LED lighting, music and choreography (lights and water action).

An attendant would be present for all hours of operation and a splash park season of Memorial Day through Labor Day is envisioned.

COST—Mayor John King said adding the city’s $50,000 share into the budget would generate a 2.8-cent tax increase.

King said an alternative path to financing would be to sell bonds, resulting in a half-cent tax increase for several years.

“ I’d just have a hard time asking the citizens for $50,000 for something like this when our infrastructure is in need of repairs,” council member Joyce Dalley said.

The council voted unanimously to send the proposal to a workshop session.

VEHICLES—In other business, the council okayed purchase of two vehicles, as called for in the new budget, on the following low bids:

• Mi ller- Starnes Chevrolet Buick, $19,950.98, pickup for Public Works Department.

• Rockdale Country Ford, $17,927, pickup for police.

The council also approved the city’s 2013 tax appraisal roll of $180,946,909 with a tax levy of $1,357,101.82.

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