First reported 5/21/2010 5:07 p.m.

With a little help from the Illinois state legislature and Gov. Pat Quinn, the Park District of Forest Park on Thursday night fixed the error preventing collection of the property tax increase that voters recently approved in a referendum.

The increase of 12 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, which was approved Feb. 2, was intended to give the park district the money to buy and renovate the 2.5-acre Roos property just east of park district’s headquarters on Harrison.

But because of a mistake in passing a levy last year that did not take into account the referendum – and perhaps in the wording of the referendum itself, the park district was unable to legally collect the tax increase until a special bill was passed to solve the problem.

The special fix-it bill passed the legislature overwhelmingly and was signed into law on May 13 by Quinn. The law gave the Forest Park’s park board a chance to amend its property tax levy and to pass a supplemental budget to authorize the collection of the additional revenue.

Thursday night, the park board unanimously did just that.

“We had to amend the levy so now we have the ability to collect the money from the referendum,” said park board president Cathleen McDermott, who told the Review she was ecstatic that the mistake was fixed and the issue was resolved.

But McDermott and other members of the park board were tight-lipped in their comments about what would be the next steps in the process of trying to buy the Roos property.

“At this time, I can’t comment on that,” McDermott said.

Last month, another level of complication was added to the park board’s pursuit of the property after Rockford-based Amcore Bank, which held the mortgage on the Roos property, was seized by federal regulators.

“We can confirm that Harris has assumed possession of 7329 Harrison St. in Forest Park,” said Chris Nardella, a spokeswoman for Harris Bank, the bank to which federal regulators sold Amcore’s assets.

 “It is still early in the integration process and right now we’re focused on making sure our new customers and colleagues have all the information they need to make their transition to Harris as smooth as possible. For confidentiality reasons, we cannot comment further on the matter,” Nardella told the Review.

McDermott said Thursday night that she was cautiously optimistic about the park district’s chances of acquiring the property.

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