The New Holland Village Council will now decide what to do with a local community center after the community there voted against supporting a 2.5-mill, five-year levy.
The New Holland Community Center was not supported by the community, according to unofficial results from both the Fayette and Pickaway County Boards of Elections. For Fayette County, six (31.58 percent) voted in favor of the levy and 13 (68.42 percent) voted against the levy. For Pickaway County, 46 (49.46 percent) voted in favor of the levy and 47 (50.54 percent) voted against the levy. Overall, including any additional provisional ballots, the vote failed according to these unofficial results.
“The council decided recently that they couldn’t support the community center from the general fund anymore as it was becoming very expensive,” New Holland Mayor Butch Betzko said following the election Tuesday. “They wanted to make some sort of decision but some of the council members have emotional ties to the building. I told them to put it up to the voters to decide and now they have.”
Betzko said this election will allow the council, while taking the community input, to finally make a decision that they can feel more comfortable about. He said that alone he has donated about $6,000 over the past couple years of his own money to help maintain the community center.
“Unfortunately we have not had much support in the community over the past years and this was to be a community center and needed to be supported by the community,” Betzko said. “Sometimes we have to make these tough decisions and we never want the community to think we are not listening. With the past administration in the village, I think the people are having trouble trusting the government. But either way we can now make a decision on the building and know we have listened to the voters.”
Over the next few weeks or months, the village council will need to discuss the best option going forward, Betzko said. Whether that would be to tear down the building or sell it, the village will have to decide and pay for their decision, Betzko said.
“There are just not a lot of people volunteering or supporting the council,” Betzko said. “I can’t even get a street levy passed to fix some roads, but they complain about potholes. This is the first time in 50 years we don’t have a baseball volunteer for the teams. We need support now more than ever.”
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy