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Improvements included in park district’s budget

The Homewood-Flossmoor Park District commissioners approved a $14.73 million budget that includes several big-ticket items.
The district will collect $13 million in revenues. To balance the budget, the district is relying on reserves. 
The budget shows $983,705 in capital, $1.6 million in principal and interest payments and $641,075 in depreciation expenses. 
The park district’s biggest capital expense will be replacing the Splash Pad at Millennium Park, estimated at $200,000. Doug Boehm, superintendent of parks and planning, is working with consultants on final plans so the project can go out for bids within the next two months. Work will begin in September.
The budget also allocates $9,000 for new play equipment; $33,000 for park improvements; $20,000 for new lighting at the H-F Racquet and Fitness Club; $18,400 for work at Lions Club Pool; $24,000 for building improvements; $10,000 for tennis court renovations; $14,000 for updates and work at the Irwin Center; $66,000 for well refurbishment at Coyote Run Golf Course; and $67,000 for parking lot and asphalt repairs at various park district sites.
At Irons Oaks Environmental Learning Center, a ramp is being added for handicapped accessibility. Staff has plans to add benches and swings that meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) specifications.
The district’s primary revenue resource is from property taxes. Between 2010 and 2015, the district lost 36.5 percent in revenue because of declining equalized assessed valuation (EAV), Sharon Dangles, superintendent of finance and administration, reported.
Despite the drop, the park district is managing to maintain its programs and services by reducing expenses, including salary and benefits savings as staff retire. Even with an expected rise in EAV, Dangles said state-imposed property tax caps will limit the district to only a 2 percent tax increase. 
Dangles said 94 percent of the corporate fund comes from property taxes. The corporate fund covers most park district expenses. User fees and program fees are smaller sources of revenue.  Commissioners approved the budget May 16.

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