Mason approves park and trail millage

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Abigail Comar

In-person polling was held at Mason City Hall. According to Clerk Jarvis, there were no challenges or poll watchers for this election. 

Approval of a 1-mill, five-year tax increase means Mason can move forward with its parks plan. The millage passed with 56.55% of the vote.

City Manager Deborah Stuart said projects will be selected from the Parks, Recreation and Non-motorized Plan. The city developed the plan with community engagement and feedback almost two years ago with community input.

Stuart said one of the first projects will be replacing the Rayner Park playground. Other projects, she said, need more evaluation and community feedback. 

Stuart said the City Council decided on the five-year timeline to test the millage and ensure the plan is meeting the expectations of residents. If all goes well, said Stuart, the city can go back to voters for a renewal.  

Kimberly Muschong said she voted in favor of the millage because she loves parks and her family uses them often. 

Tom Switzenberg said he voted against the millage. He is concerned that another project, to update the city’s sewage plan, will raise utility expenses. He said he did not want to pay for the parks as well and otherwise would have voted for the parks millage. 

Stuart said the city tried to be transparent about this concern with residents leading up to the millage vote and will continue to be transparent about utility costs. 

Stuart said the city will be updating the park vote website into a millage tracking site to help residents see how their money is being spent. 

“The community has endorsed that they trust the city to move forward with this plan,” Stuart said. “We really understand the responsibility of a millage like this and we plan to live up to those expectations through transparency, through public engagement, and reporting out the status of projects.” 

 Mason Clerk Sarah Jarvis said the election ran smoothly and had a small in-person turnout of 308. 

“There were so few that there was never any line,” Jarvis said. “We would have liked to have seen maybe a little bit bigger turnout, but overall we did get people that came out all day long.” 

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