Jolly resigns from Delaney board PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 11 November 2009 00:00
    Paul Jolly has been serving on the Delaney Creek Park Board for nearly 30 years. That stretch ended on Nov. 4 when the Washington County Board of Commissioners accepted his letter of resignation.
    Jolly said the reason he decided to step down was the fact that he wants to spend more time traveling to visit grandkids, but didn't deny the park's uncertain future played into it.
    “I've been at this for 30 years and that's the main reason,” he said, “not all this other stuff. I am all for the park. I think it's a great place and Washington County is lucky to have a place like that. I think there are a lot of counties that would love to have a park like that.”
    Jolly said ultimately he didn't want to be on the park board if he felt like he couldn't do a good job and he thinks both his busy schedule and  some recent decisions made by county officials will hamper those efforts.
    One of his biggest concerns was Delaney's funding. He said in the past the park's budget came from a percentage of the tax base.
     “Over the years I think the money issue has been the biggest problem,” Jolly said. “This year what they actually decided to do was have the commissioners, instead of us having a budget that comes from the tax base percentage that's guaranteed each year, they've decided to remove that and pay us from let's say the riverboat money. Well it's my idea that this way of doing it, that money may not be here next year. When we were guaranteed a percentage of money from the tax base, you could be assured it was going to be there.”
    Washington County Circuit Court Judge Robert Bennett appoints two members to the park board, one of which was Jolly. He said he was surprised to learn of Jolly's resignation.
    “I thought when I appointed him that Paul would do a good job and time has proven me right,” Bennett said. “I was surprised that it happened, but I actually have not talked to Paul. The tenner of his letter (of resignation) seemed to indicate that he was concerned about the funding for the park, so I figured they were related.”
    Bennett said after he received the letter he went to both the county council and  county commissioner meetings.
    “I wanted to discuss with them what I felt like the issues were from my perspective and try to find out what they thought the issues were for their perspective,” he said.
    Bennett's questions were answered and he said he is not at all concerned about the park's funding.  
    “If the park makes some money, then that would have a tendency to decrease how much tax they would get because they would use their revenue earned to help decrease the tax rate,” he said. “The explanation for me was what they are trying to do is level the budget so each year there wouldn't be this whip-saw going back-and-forth, up-and-down. From attending the meeting, where Chris (Strange) was also present, he seemed to think that was a good idea. In the future I think it may work out pretty well if they are able to draw the revenue to supplement their other activities.”
    Another reason Bennett went to the commissioner meeting was to allow them to have input into who Jolly's replacement will be.
    The current opening must be filled by a democrat, but Bennett recommended a member from each party.
    Terry Walton, who is a registered Republican and Chuck Williams, a registered Democrat, are the names given to the commissioners.
    Bennett said he felt like the commissioners should have some input as to who he appoints since they have more budget responsibility concerning the park.
    “If the commissioners were to become responsible for the money in the park's budget, then they should have input on who I am going to appoint,” he said. “Not that I would give that responsibility solely to them, but what I would do is seek their input. I think if you have responsibility for something then you ought to have the authority to do it.”
    The commissioners are going to take a look at Bennett's recommendations and get back with him at the next meeting, which will be Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 3 p.m. in the government building.
    Looking back over the past three decades, Jolly said he is pleased with improvements made to the park.
    “When I first went on the board there wasn't much out there,” he said. “There was some beach and some camping and a resident house. They've added several cabins, built a restaurant and put in new camping areas. The big shelter house was added on too. There has been a lot of building improvements over the years and that's probably the biggest thing.”
    Jolly has a true love for the park. He said he thinks not enough people locally take advantage of it because it's one of only a handful of places that have something for the entire family.
    “There are very few places in the county where a family can do stuff together and a park is one of them,” he said. “Where in the county, besides a ball game or some church activity, can a family do something together? It's nice for the county to have this facility.”
    Jolly also doesn't like the idea that's been tossed around of privatizing the park. He said he has investigated the incomes of other parks and it just doesn't look like it makes sense.
    “Over the years the most reoccurring question posed to us (the park board) is what can we do to make it self-supporting?” he said. “And my answer to them is just that something like that doesn't happen. I've researched and have gone to other parks and a park is something that just doesn't generate enough capital to be self-supporting. I don't know of any state park, or park in Indiana, that does enough revenue to be self supporting. Some people don't understand that.
    “Some of the county officials want to privatize it and turn it over to an individual and I personally don't think it will work. I don't think an individual can make it self supporting unless they raise the prices and if they do, people will back off and go somewhere else.”
    Jolly said he will miss serving, but will stay involved by attending the occasional park board meeting and visiting The Boat Loft resturant when it is open. 
Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 November 2009 09:32