A committee will study the financial impact and other issues stemming from the proposed donation of Levi Jackson State Park to the City of London.
Mayor Troy Rudder told the City of London Tourism Commission Monday night that two auditors and two financial analysts will examine the impact the donation will have on the city.
“To help everyone with the decisions to come, I’ve formed a committee to look at the financial impact that Levi Jackson will have on both the Tourism budget and the City budget, both positive and negative,” the mayor said. “This process will give us a better idea of how we should proceed.”
The state wants to give the park to London because it doesn’t have the money for maintenance and upkeep. According to Rudder, the park has been without a superintendent since spring and will only have two full-time employees when the campground closes in November.
Earlier, London City Council passed a resolution signaling its intent to take over Levi Jackson and maintain it as a park.
Negotiations have proceeded on a positive track, and the transfer currently “is sitting on someone’s desk” in the state finance cabinet waiting for approval, the mayor said.
“We hope the transfer of Levi Jackson is getting closer, and as I told you and the council from the beginning, when we get copy of the proposed deed, Mr. (Larry) Bryson along with the rest of us will need to study it very closely for content,” he said. “Then we’ll take it to the city council for final approval.”
The city council has to approve the transfer because the city will own the 998 acres, but the tourism commission will provide the funds for the park’s operation.
The 4-person committee that will study the financial impact of the transfer includes Robert Abner and Donnie Cox, who are accountants with Christian Sturgeon and Associates in London. The company has audited the city’s books for about 25 years.
“Robert has been doing our audits for a long time and he knows the ins and outs of our budget and our cash flows,” Rudder said.
The other two members are Ward Stokes, market president for Cumberland Valley National Bank, and Phil Smith, financial advisor with Northwestern Mutual.
Mayor Rudder said he believes Levi Jackson Wilderness Road Park, as it’s proposed to be named, will need money for capital improvements initially, but will soon produce a “positive impact” for park patrons and the community.