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Park District Seeks Tax Levy Increase

With a balanced budget and the second year of Woodland Park's development underway, the Deerfield Park District seeks more from taxpayers in the coming fiscal year.

As the 2011-12 fiscal year comes to a close, the Deerfield Park District  plans to increase its next tax levy by roughly 0.79 percent once additional savings are found.

The total levy is projected at roughly $6.08 million, about $53,000 greater than last fiscal year, according to Park District Executive Director Rick Julison.

Earlier: 

“What we've been striving for, for years, is keeping [the tax levy] as even as we can,” Julison said. “We don't try to bring it up or down or anything else.”

With an operating budget of roughly $11 million and a balanced budget overall, the Park District will continue to follow its five-year financial plan when considering any service, staffing or project changes, according to Julison.

One such project, now entering its second year, is the development of Woodland Park, which bears a $1.4 million price tag, none of which has been funded with grant money.

“We tried for a grant in 2010, and we were turned down,” Julison said. “That's why we spread the project out for two years, so we could afford to do it on our own.”

When complete, the 15-acre lot, previously a school site, will have more accessible features and a greener spread, including a rain garden, porous parking lot, with a 136-car capacity, new washroom facility and trail system connecting existing baseball field diamonds.

“Between outdoor parks and recreations, all the way down to athletic programs,” Julison said. “I think we have a variety of services for everybody.”

And though he can't fully speculate on the economy, Julison does not see park district services taking a hit in the long run.

“I think we offer enough amenities that if people have to come back,” Julison said. “(The amenities) are right here, around us, and people can take advantage of them without having to travel.”

Citizen for responsible government February 08, 2012 at 12:34 PM
Before allowing the park district an increase, spend a day following their trucks/workers around to see how productive they are. You will be left with a lasting impression that will help you evaluate their needs for additional funds and areas that could still be cut.
NB February 08, 2012 at 01:11 PM
@CRG: Hate to do it, but I happen to agree with you. Also wonder why the Park District and the Village don't share resources with the public works dept (another bunch of guys who like to drive around in their sparkling new and very clean trucks). The economy may be improving, but property values are still way down and property taxes are still way up. Maybe all these different taxing bodies could give us all a break because if they keep it up, there will be ALL kinds of vacant properties in the village the park district could buy so they can expand their parks. Only problem will be there won't be anyone living in this over taxed village.
RonnieTheLimoDriver February 08, 2012 at 01:59 PM
First off, I agree with the other commenters. As I mentioned in other threads, one of the biggest problems we have is the number of taxing bodies and the lack of economies of scale. Merge the Village, the Park District, and the Library, and you would have some progress. Enter into a formal agreement for sharing services with the school districts, and I expect you could reduce property taxes by 30-45%. Secondly, there is a very telling statement in this article from Julison. Note he says they try to keep the Levy and Budget even. In actuality, the entire Park District should be trying to maximize services while minimizing costs, EVERY YEAR. Every year they should endeavor to lower the Levy. However they seem to have no incentive to do so. For profit businesses try to maximize profit. Non for profits and governments should do the equivalent, which is minimize costs while maximizing benefits delivered to the communities they serve. Im not sure when government agencies are going to "get it." Our current economic situation is obviously not just a bump in the road, but is the new reality. We need to alter our thinking which is based on the assumption that every year will see significant economic growth and increased property values. Elimination of waste is an important first step.
RB February 08, 2012 at 02:06 PM
No increase for the Park District! It's time to pull them in a bit. Combine some of these taxing districts, share some labor and equipment. How do we go about getting this done? The Park District is spending too much money in this economy. The next shoe to drops probably when we finally get a good look at Park District Pensions.
Barbara February 08, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Deerfield park district taxes have increased every year for as long as I can remember. We pay more for the park district than for anything else except our schools. This is not the time for a park district tax increase.
Bringin' Down Briarwood February 08, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Here we go!!!! I look forward to the Stuart Friedettes mobilizing. When can we expect the letter to the editor? For those of you who truthfully have problems with the way the park district spends money, I look forward to your reasonable input. For those of you who just don't like ANY investment and fight each and every one of them no matter what the investment is because of your personal financial reasons, please try to limit the public time you waste. I know it's coming.
RB February 08, 2012 at 11:59 PM
I'm not sure what a Friedette is. I was a Boy Scout years ago. Anyway, I'm not against maintaining investment our Parks. What makes me crazy is the Village asking for more money, the Library asking for more money, the school districts asking for more money and now the Park District gets in line again. We see Village employeed tree trimmers trimming parkways and Park district employees trimming trees on Park land. It's a duplication. Let's combine some of these taxing districts, stop building more park buildings and fields that must be maintained. If the District has to ask for more taxes then it means they can't afford what they are doing. They want a raise.
A concerned DHS Parent February 09, 2012 at 01:28 AM
The park district increase is less than 1%. I agree with BDB. I am sure if you figure what their fuel and insurance costs have gone up that more than makes up for the increase.
RB February 09, 2012 at 02:28 AM
'less than 1%' is exactly my point about why we dont need higher Park District Taxes. With all these different taxing districts asking for higher taxes pretty soon 'less than 1%' becomes 3, 4 or 5% to the home owners having to absorb these increases.
Bringin' Down Briarwood February 09, 2012 at 06:56 AM
RB - I got no problem if that's what you truly believe and you don't have a quiet organization behind you. Of course, government should be watched closely, examined and re-examined. It's not done enough, but that's also the voters' faults. But I think it's also penny-wise and pound-foolish to not expect tax increases over -let's say - 5-7 year period. And when people have a vocal opposition to EACH AND EVERY attempt to increase revenue over a number of years ... that I have a problem with. Then you're simply serving your own interests or promoting a political agenda that doesn't have the community at heart.
RB February 09, 2012 at 12:53 PM
I don't expect tax increase, I inspect tax increase requests. Mr. Dold signed the Norquist pledge, not me. If the Park District first convinced me that they are spending wisely and can justify an increase, they should ask for it. I'm not convinced they deserve an increase.
Charlie February 09, 2012 at 01:56 PM
So why don't any of you care enough to run for the park board? It's the easiest local government board to seek election to and become active in your local government. No caucus process. Gather the required signatures, and campaign. Board incumbents run unopposed term after term, so what do you expect? These folks lost me when they purchased the Multiplex. What a drain and strain that might be. It's just a shame that our candidates for higher statewide and national elected offices don't serve locally before they jump into politics. Taking back your state and your national government begins with the skills you acquire serving in your own back yard.
Charlie February 09, 2012 at 02:05 PM
NB. They already share, but it's not necessarily a model of sharing that is cost effective. What's always mystified me is why the park district has to be in the health club business.
Karen Binkwaters February 11, 2012 at 05:02 AM
The IRS is actually sending me letters stating that I owe $40,000. I've been searching for support to take care of this all and I chanced on this web site ConsumerTaxReports.Org. It looks to be an firm that calls tax assistance businesses and reviews them. If you are searching for a tax expert such as I was, I recommend you take a peek. http://www.ConsumerTaxReports.org
Karen Binkwaters February 14, 2012 at 02:47 AM
The IRS is actually sending me correspondence saying that I need to pay $40,000. I've been searching for guidance to take care of this all and I came across this web site ConsumerTaxReports.Org. It looks to be an firm that contacts tax assistance providers and reviews them. If you are searching for a tax professional such as I was, I might suggest you check it out. http://www.ConsumerTaxReports.org

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