There will be no millage to help fund operations at the city-owned Hickory Hills Ski Area – at least not this year. The joint Recreational Authority Board for the City of TC and Garfield Township last night declined what Mayor Michael Estes summed up as a "last ditch effort" on behalf of the City Commission for a new revenue source for ski hill operations.
It costs approximately $100,000 annually to operate Hickory Hills. Commissioners allotted $85,000 in the city’s 2012-2013 budget. After exploring other funding options, it ultimately decided to formally ask for funding assistance from the Rec. Authority via a special millage assessment on the November ballot.
“There is a chance we’re going to lose this asset,” Estes said.
While the board was sympathetic to the city's budget woes – facing an approximate $555,000 shortfall for the fiscal year – members agreed that the timing of the ballot issue, which would have to be approved by Aug. 26 to even get on the ballot, was much too rushed. Also, concerns about potentially distracting from its efforts at the Historic Barns Park and funding “special interests” were also raised. The board did, however, show favor in exploring joint funding agreements for Hickory Hills and other local recreational assets in the future.