County recreation funds distribution top meeting

TILTONSVILLE – Questions about the distribution of recreation funds granted by the Jefferson County commissioners arose Tuesday night during a Yorkville-Tiltonsville-Rayland Coalition meeting.

After a discussion about the recreation funds which are a result from piggyback taxes, the group decided to ask mayors, council members and township trustees from southern Jefferson County to attend a meeting in September.

Tiltonsville Mayor Kris Prati began Tuesday’s session by asking whether a resolution was needed explaining to the county commissioners what the YTR wants as a joint coalition. She also said the coalition wants to know what formula is used to divide up the recreation funds.

Yorkville Mayor Blair Closser indicated he doesn’t think it’s based on need, and Tiltonsville Councilman Ty Lollini voiced the opinion that it’s unequally represented in regard to a division among the various government entities. Closser also noted he would like for a county commissioner to come to Yorkville and see the village’s 1980 playground equipment.

The Yorkville official went on to explain the village received $3,000 in recreation grant money, and $15,000 would be needed to replace the playground equipment.

“There are times when we were asked to give up our recreation funds, and we did,” said Yorkville Councilwoman Karen Vargo. Just to name a few, she mentioned recreation funds were given up for a Friendship Park sewage system, the Warren Township gazebo and the Warren Township walking track at the stadium.

Lollini said he thinks the group needs to approach this in numbers and put a group together to attend a county commissioners’ meeting.

Noting if Yorkville, Tiltonsville, Rayland and Warren Township each receive $3,000 in recreation funds, Closser asked why $12,000 couldn’t be granted with the coalition being allowed to determine which entities would receive money, and this could be done on a rotating basis.

It was pointed out the coalition’s goal is to get enough money to purchase what is needed.

“We can get (state Sen.) Lou Gentile and (state Rep.) Jack Cera here, and we cannot get anyone of our own county (government) to come (to a YTR meeting),” said Prati. One of the commissioners had been invited to the session, but did not attend.

Rayland Mayor Tammy Morelli told about the type of security cameras that Rayland had planned to obtain because of vandalism at Mazeroski Park. Cost of the cameras would be $6,000 to $8,000, and the village received $3,000.

Morelli said Rayland also applied for recreation funds for the bleachers because those at the girls softball field are deteriorating, and the village received nothing.

Vargo pointed out plans already have been made for the coalition’s Aug. 26 meeting in Yorkville, and she suggested mayors, village council members and township trustees from governmental entities in southern Jefferson County be invited to the Sept. 23 meeting at 6 p.m. to discuss recreation funds.

She said John Albers of Albers and Albers will be at the coalition’s August meeting to explain about a regional water and sewage district and how it’s formed.

The September meeting will be in Tiltonsville, and Lollini asked Carl Sgalla, who is the Tiltonsville village administrator and a Warren Township trustee, to work with him inviting the officials from other southern Jefferson County entities, adding there would be “strength in numbers.”

Lollini noted counting those in the YTR Coalition, there would be 11 entities involved in the coalition.

Sgalla indicated he would call the Jefferson County Regional Planning Commission to provide lists of officials in the other communities in southern Jefferson County.