Derby Hopes To Improve Parks, Hire Firefighters

By: Phil White Email
By: Phil White Email

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The City of Derby is asking voters if they want to fund extensive improvements to the city's parks and hire additional firefighters.

Derby first started assessing the half-cent sales tax 10 years ago to pay for the Rock River Rapids aquatic park. Once that was paid for, the sales tax was extended to fund operations at the Derby Public LIbrary.

Now, the city has proposed extending the tax to balance what it says are some needs related to growth with a desire to maintain a small town feel. Voters will decide Oct. 8.

The city's parks are popular with Derby residents.

"I really enjoy the parks," Whitney Sponset said. "They're great to take my kids to. It's a fun place to be."

Derby leaders want to make sure those parks continue to be a fun place and that's why the city wants to use 25 percent of the revenue earned by the sales tax to fund several park improvements.

"Any improvements that they can make to make them better would be great, especially with my kids being so young," Sponset said. "It's great to have a place to take them to play."

Fifteen percent of the additional sales tax revenue will go toward hiring nine new firefighters over the next 10 years. The public library will receive the remaining 10 percent.

However, it's that proposed park improvements that have many people excited.

Jamie Roasa, who was visiting Derby's High Park Wednesday afternoon with her daughters, her son and her father, said the city already has excellent parks.

"I love it," she said. "The girls love the fishing. My dad likes to come out here when he visits."

If voters approve the sales tax question Oct. 8, it will not increase Derby's sales taxes. It will simply replace a current half-percent sales tax.

Proponents hope the improvements reel in more families like the Roasas, an Air Force family.

"We're actually thinking about moving back here when we're done; when we retire," Roasa said.

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