SEVEN HILLS, Ohio — A tax-increase ballot issue that if approved actually costs residents less money sounds like an oxymoron. However, that’s exactly what Seven Hills voters will be deciding with Issue 41 — the city’s first parks and recreation levy — on Election Day.
“Being fiscally responsible while protecting our investment in the recreation center, Issue 41 is a way to meet all of these needs without impacting our general fund,” Mayor Anthony D. Biasiotta said.
“At the same time, coupled with the expiring (community recreation center) construction levy, it will actually have a net lower tax to all residents of Seven Hills. It’s as close to a win-win situation as I’ve come across in my elected career.”
The timing of Issue 41 is tied to a 1.65-mill recreation bond issue that voters approved 20 years ago for the construction of the community recreation center. The expiring levy brings in $577,783 a year. It currently costs a $100,000 homeowner $50.53 annually.
The proposed new levy — if passed — will cost the same homeowner $49 annually and bring in $490,240 a year that will be used to cover both rec center needs, as well as park upgrades.
“Issue 41 is important in two regards,” Biasiotta said. “First, we need to protect our investment in the rec center. It’s 20 years old, and like any 20-year-old building we’re beginning to see issues impacting the performance, maintenance and even the safety of the facility.
“Being proactive, the city of Seven Hills earlier this year contracted with Quality Control Inspection Company to review our recreation facility and determine what a long-term cost of maintenance and repairs would look like.”
The city paid the Bedford-based company $15,000 for the building condition report, which determined a reasonable annual operations budget for the community rec center would be $241,000. Currently, the facility doesn’t have a dedicated operations fund.
“Our intent with this levy is to provide relief to the general fund for the ongoing maintenance and updates that will protect our multimillion-dollar investment,” Biasiotta said.
The mayor noted the Summit View Drive facility is facing numerous looming projects — maintaining the pool bottom ($100,000), replacing seven HVAC units ($50,000 to $100,000 each) and making mechanical repairs ($130,000) — over the next decade. In addition, the Nautilus equipment is nearing 20 years old.
“The second part of Issue 41 is very intriguing,” Biasiotta said. “While the original levy was only for the construction of the rec center, this allows the use of funds to include our six city parks. Many residents of the city utilize our parks, but may not utilize our rec center.
“We have a unique opportunity here to provide a recreation amenity to those residents without having to pay a membership due.”
If Issue 41 is passed, the mayor said the plan includes adding ADA-compliant restrooms to North