“Having a voter-approved millage was part of the reasons for becoming a recreation authority recognized by the state,” NORA Coordinator Jill Vander Stel said.
Annually, the authority provides more than 100 programs to more than 8,700 residents of the Grand Haven school district. Programs are for both children and adults.
The authority's annual operations budget of a little more than $300,000 provides enough for operational expenses, staffing and programming, but there’s not enough for major facility expenses.
Authority Chairman Craig Bessinger said the act that created the ability to have a recreation authority allows for a millage proposal during a state general or primary election.
There are statewide elections in August and November this year — otherwise, the next opportunity is in 2016. The filing deadline to place a millage request on the ballot this November is July 29.
Bessinger said the NORA board is working on a proposal, but are not yet certain when it will be on the ballot. The board is working on a plan that can be shown to residents to explain the specifics of such a proposal.
“NORA has held focus meetings with local recreational groups to gain feedback on what they would like to see in recreational activities, as well as types of fields needed in the area," he said.
The board recently hired Pam Blough to help prepare documents detailing what the millage would be used for and what type of levy would support the authority's goals, Vander Stel said.
The authority envisions a recreational site of between 80 and 100 "buildable" acres.
To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.