DAYTON - If residents want more parks, they are going to have to pull the money from their own pockets.
In response to a request for direction on how to go about funding the areas growing demands for ballfields, Lyon County commissioners have told Central Lyon County Park and Recreation Board Chairman Ruby McFarland to return when a funding plan had been determined, whether by special taxing district, a general improvement district or donations.
"You need to come up with some answers and return to the board and present, whether it's taxes or donations," Commissioner David Fulstone said.
"I am not opposed to coming to Dayton for a workshop, but it seems like a wasted step. None of us are experts on tax districts. You should meet with tax department officials."
McFarland said 864 young people participated in youth league programs last year, including 518 on the Dayton/Silver Springs Little league teams, 280 soccer players and 66 in the Pop Warner program.
She presented a petition from Little League officials asking for help.
There are only two full-size fields and one smaller T-ball field in Dayton and two fields in Silver Springs, one of which is not of regulation size, according to Parks Director Jannette Hoffert.
"We have plenty of land available for development," Hoffert said, "but we have no money to build them or sustain the necessary ongoing maintenance."
Developers and businesses have assisted in the building of the fields, but repairs and ongoing maintenance remains the responsibility of the parks department.
McFarland invited commissioners to Dayton for a joint workshop with the park board, the advisory councils and youth league leaders to help find a solution.
"We need help and guidance in building ball fields. We can build more detention centers, or we can build ball fields," McFarland said. "I think it is important the commissioners show up in sympathy of our plight."
The commissioners, however, did not appear too willing to participate.
"I don't see that going over there and getting yelled at will help," Commissioner Bob Milz said.
Utilities Director Dan O'Brien joined Hoffert and McFarland in assuring the board that residents simply want to find a solution to taking care of their needs.
"That is why they are asking you to participate. They are looking at the various taxing options and want your input," he said.
County staff was directed to set up a meeting and to include technical people to provide the necessary information regarding park needs. It will be scheduled to allow time for a ballot question regarding a possible park tax to be drafted for the upcoming general election.