After winning over a majority of voters last month and securing a modest tax increase, the park district has come clean and acknowledged a serious mistake that threatens the extra revenue it had hoped to collect. The error is a technical one, and is not something that any member of the park board should have been expected to see coming. Which, of course, is why the board hires lawyers and administrators. It seems, then, that some of those lawyers and administrators deserve a kick in the backside.
Voters graciously agreed to pay an additional 12 cents for every $100 of assessed property value in Forest Park so that the park could purchase and renovate the Roos property at the corner of Harrison and Circle. The plan seems like a good one and represents an absolutely logical extension of the park’s eastern border.
The problem now, as reported last week on our Web site and in this week’s issue, is the park can’t actually collect that money due to an oversight in the annual tax levy approved by the district. Board members are begging legislators in Springfield to fix the problem for them, and it looks as though they’re off to a good start. If that effort fails, though, the park would have no choice but to put another referendum on the ballot in November and then beg taxpayers for a second chance to get it right.
That is potentially problematic. Voters could choose either to not reward the district’s incompetence with their further support or they could simply be confused as to why the park board is looking for money just months after a referendum was approved.
So the hopes of the Forest Park park district rest primarily with Springfield. Given the wreckage that passes for the Illinois legislative process it ought to be humbling for the parks to realize that their future is in the hands of a body far more incompetent than they.
Assuming a fix is found on the tax collection issue, we continue to have concerns over the park district’s ability to negotiate the purchase of the Roos from Amcore Bank. We hope the advisers on board for that part of this process are paying closer attention to our interests than the lawyers were on the tax levy front.