It was a major, if less discussed, part of the plan to put a sports park in Lake Wylie.
Now, it’s happening.
York County’s finance and operations committee recommended tax board members for four of the five spots opened by the creation of a special recreation tax district in Lake Wylie. As hoped by the group pushing for the tax district, the names are familiar.
Pending full York County approval, Ron Domurat will serve a two-year term. Domurat led the push last year through Lake Wylie Athletic Association and other community members to get a tax district on the November ballot, then get it approved. The idea being to use funds from the district to build a sports site on county-owned land along Crowders Creek, beside Paddlers Cove.
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Russ Partin, who worked on the park construction estimates for that group, would serve a four-year term pending final approval. Former York County Councilman Tom Smith, another face of the new park movement, would serve a one-year term. James Gilkeson, another park group member, would serve three years.
The idea is to stagger terms from the start to keep continuity once all terms become four years, with each new appointment.
“All of these are Dist. 2 appointments,” said York County Councilman Michael Johnson (Dist. 1), chairman of the finance and operations group.
In addition to the four recommendations, four other area residents applied for the tax board.
“There are applicants for the fifth seat and my intent is to meet with the applicants in person so I can make the best recommendation on behalf of the taxpayers,” said Councilwoman Allison Love (Dist. 2), also a finance and operations committee member.
Love, who represents the Lake Wylie area, said the four up for full Council approval bring important elements of expertise to the group, from a construction expert to a community recreation leader and a former area representative.
“The four people already chosen represent different aspects of what is needed to maximize the park and recreation opportunity,” Love said.
Leading up to the vote last fall, park committee members spoke of work the tax board would do to create a new sports site. Yet all along, it would be Council appointing those members who then would make their own decisions. Which is why several from the tax board push last year applied to sit on it once it was created.
The plan presented to the public last year was for a $9.45 million park on 50 acres, plus an extra 18 acres beside it and include baseball and multipurpose fields, trails, a dog park, basketball court, disc golf and more. The new recreation tax would pay for $7 million in construction and ongoing operating costs, at about $400,000. Another $2.45 million would come from the county hospitality tax fund.
The new tax district will be run through county administration, though the new tax board will have a say in budgeting and event planning. It will help in determining the annual millage rate for the tax.
The recreation tax board isn’t the only option for locals wanting to serve at the county level. Lake Wylie residents serve on the county board of rural fire control, library board, economic development board, zoning board of appeals, board of assessment appeals, board of disabilities and special needs, planning commission.
In September, Blanche Bryant has her term come up for reappointment on the Lake Wylie Marine Commission, where area residents Ellen Goff and George Medler also serve.
In recent months the county began taking closer looks at the requirements for board service, which involves regular reviews. The county is looking closely to make sure conflicts of interest don’t arise. The marine commission just completed one, Johnson said.
“We then did reviews of the Lake Wylie Marine Commission, Hospitality Tax Advisory Committee and the Board of Assessment Appeals on individual board members, and found no issues,” he said.
The Lake Wylie district currently has a vacant position on the hospitality tax advisory committee. Johnson’s group just recommended James Bolin to fill the district vacancy on the Rock Hill/York County Convention & Visitors Bureau.