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Park District presents balanced budget, reduces levy
Posted By Staff On December 22, 2010 @ 6:59 am In Online Exclusives | No Comments
From press release
After review of the Rockford Park District’s 2011 Budget and Appropriations Ordinance and Certification of Estimates of Revenue at the Dec. 14 Board of Commissioners meeting, the Park District Board elected not to levy taxes to the voter-approved amount allowed under tax caps. Instead, they approved a reduced levy from the previously-discussed amount, which will allow the District to continue maintaining most core programs and existing levels of maintenance, repair and replacement.
The 2011 proposed budget allocates additional funds for a similar level of services as was offered in 2010, with improved maintenance at parks and facilities, and a few additional free programs for citizens to access and enjoy. In presenting a balanced budget to the board, Executive Director Tim Dimke noted the progress the Park District has made over the last several years in implementing pro-active measures to reduce operating expenses by streamlining systems and improving efficiencies.
“There is no doubt the community is facing unpredictable circumstances, with uncertain outcomes, and difficult times. This is the time to create new partnerships, expand to even greater networks, and offer even more transparency,” said Dimke.
The 2011 proposed budget is presented as a recommended 2.56 percent increase in the tax levy to adequately fund fixed operational cost increases for health care, Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF), liability insurance, and the expenses related to bringing the Nicholas Conservatory to operating status. District employees have a wage freeze for the second year in a row, and are contributing 7.5 percent more in health care costs.
“In every area of our organization’s operation, we are required to stretch our resources further while at the same time, limiting impact to our citizens. Our citizens told us in the community survey that we are doing an exceptional job providing a quality park and recreation system and meeting their recreation needs, but we can and need to do even better in terms of maintenance, cleanliness, safety, and making services affordable, accessible and convenient,” said Dimke.
Over the past 10-plus years, the District’s tax rate has been steadily declining, with the highest rate in 1999 of $0.8165 to the 2007 rate of $0.7198, a decrease of $0.09 during this time due to tax cap limitations.
“At the same time, the cost of doing business has increased significantly, interest income has declined, and property values are not increasing,” said Chief Financial Officer/Foundation Director Stacie Talbert.
2011 Proposed Budget
To present a balanced budget in 2011, the District will continue to forecast additional reductions in fees and charges in District operations next year to address conservative projections for revenue streams. Despite these challenges, the Park District remains financially strong, with all long-term financial obligations and requirements being met.
The proposed budget will be available for review over the next month, and a public hearing will be held at the next Board meeting at 5 p.m., Jan. 11, 2011. Formal approval by the Board will take place at the Jan. 25, 2011 Board meeting.
To review the proposed budget, visit www.rockfordparkdistrict.org  or the District’s customer service outlets (during business hours) at the Webbs Norman Center, 401 S. Main St., Rockford, or at Carlson Ice Arena, 4150 N. Perryville Road, Loves Park. Copies are also available at the Rockford, Cherry Valley, North Suburban and Belvidere public libraries.
For additional information, contact Tim Dimke at (815) 987-8880 or Chief Financial Officer Stacie Talbert at (815) 987-1695.
From the Dec. 22-28, 2010 issue
Article printed from The Rock River Times: http://rockrivertimes.com
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