Orange Community Education and Recreation has a 0.95-mill renewal levy on the March 17 ballot to continue providing services to the Orange community. Orange recreation encompasses multiple activities and facilities, including the Orange Senior Center, the Orange Art Center and the Early Childhood Preschool.
The levy has been renewed with the same 0.95 millage since 1995, according to Director of Orange Community Education and Recreation Jill Korsok. The levy, which will not increase taxes, costs homeowners $28 per $100,000 of property value and brings Orange recreation $965,000 in annual revenue. If the levy is renewed, collections would begin in 2021.
“This is a renewal. It does not increase taxes and it helps our department immensely,” Ms. Korsok said.
She made an important distinction between Orange recreation and the schools. The ballot language of the levy will say “Orange City School District” and voters may think that the levy is for the schools, but it is not. The school district is the fiscal agent for Orange recreation and handles duties for the recreation department such as payroll, purchase orders and managing healthcare benefits. Last year, Orange recreation paid the school district $11,000 for those administrative services, she said.
“Our tax dollars never mingle with the school district’s tax dollars,” Ms. Korsok noted.
The last time the levy was renewed in 2015, it passed with 72.36 percent of the vote, she added. In 2010, the levy passed with 67.76 percent of the vote.
Ms. Korsok said that the recreation levy funds 25 percent of the organization’s operating budget. Grants, donations and participation fees for the programs, including aquatics, Stagecrafters, summer camps and youth sports, cover the remaining 75 percent of the budget.
Since the 2015 levy, Ms. Korsok said that Orange recreation has grown significantly. First, the Orange Art Center is now housed under Orange recreation rather than working as an independent organization. Since it joined Orange recreation in 2016, the art center gets a slice of funding from Orange recreation.
Also, Ms. Korsok said that participation in Orange recreation’s offerings has increased. The total number of registrations increased by 8 percent from last year to this year, she said, and the number of students enrolled in the preschool increased from 140 to 180 students. The number of children participating in youth sports, including new sports such as lacrosse and flag football, has quadrupled, she said.
“One of the nicest changes has been the growth in participation,” she said. “It’s a wonderful way to grow with the community.”
The Citizens for the Continuation of Orange Community Education and Recreation is working to spread the word about the levy renewal before the March 17 election. Cathy Bobeck of Orange Village and David Watson of Pepper Pike are the co-chairs of the committee and Dan Blakemore of Woodmere serves as the treasurer.
The recreation district serves Orange Village, Moreland Hills, Woodmere, Hunting Valley, Pepper Pike and parts of Solon, Bedford Heights and Warrensville Heights.
Voters can learn more about the levy at www.voteyesfororangerec.com and on
@ForOrangeRec on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. There are informational meetings about the levy on Jan. 29 at 6:30 p.m. and Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. at the Pepper Pike Learning Center, 32000 Chagrin Blvd.