Local News

H-F Park District starts 2022-23 budgeting process

The Homewood-Flossmoor Park District board got its first look at a 2022-23 budget showing revenues of $12.86 million and expenses projected at $12.63 million.

Revenues are expected to go up as park activities resume after the COVID-19 pandemic, and thanks to Cook County’s reassessment of South Suburbs property in 2020. The equalized assessed valuation (EAV) is up about $90 million to approximately $677 million, but it falls about $135 million short of the all-time high EAV of $812.7 million in 2010 “right before the real estate bubble burst,” according to Karen Garrity, superintendent of finance and administration. “We’re obviously going in the right direction,” she told park commissioners at the board’s March 1 meeting.

The staff is making projections, but Garrity said it is difficult to measure against last year’s expenses and program enrollments because the park district was still dealing with pandemic issues in 2021. Some programs didn’t run at all, and others saw reduced participation.

The one bright spot was Coyote Run Golf Course breaking a record with more than 39,000 rounds of golf played in 2021. Garrity expects a good season again this year.

Garrity said spending will be down a bit, but wages will be up because the park district is starting to hire again, and because the minimum wage jumped again to $12 an hour. Under state law, the minimum wage will increase $1 per year until 2025 when it will be $15 an hour.

Parks Executive Director Debbie Kopas reminded commissioners that the breakdown of expenses and allocations will be adjusted several times before the board is presented with a final budget for approval. The park district’s fiscal year starts May 1.

Budget allocations are expected to include new roofs at the Irons Oaks building in Olympia Fields and at the park district headquarters building in Flossmoor, new picnic tables and playground equipment, the purchase of golf carts, a pick-up truck and snow removal machines, and fitness equipment at the H-F Racquet & Fitness Club.

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