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Park district approves $5.71 million tax levy for 2022

The Homewood-Flossmoor Park District approved the 2022 tax levy of $5.71 million at its meeting Tuesday, Dec. 6.

Karen Garrity, superintendent of finance and administration, said since she first presented a preliminary levy Cook County has provided actual Equalized Assessed Valuation (EAV) numbers. It was 8.4% below the prior year. She reworked the numbers and estimated the park district’s tax increase will be held at 5% over the 2021 levy extension.

The total levy filed with Cook County will be $5,714,549 “however, the actual total levy after tax caps will be lower,” she told park commissioners.

In setting the final levy number, Cook County takes into account all properties in the taxing district and spreads the funding request across those properties based on their EAV. The H-F Park District, like all taxing bodies, is under mandatory tax caps limiting how much can be raised using either the Consumer Price Index or 5%, whichever is less.  CPI registered at 7% as of Dec. 31, 2021, so taxing bodies can only increase by 5%.

Board President Brent Bachus acknowledged the upcoming retirement of Parks Executive Director Debbie Kopas. She informed the board she will retiring June 30, 2023. 

Bachus lauded her on her 32 years with the park district working first as an accountant then the business manager and in 2006 accepting the executive director’s position.

“It’s been an amazing career. We’re very excited for you. This is going to be a lovely next chapter for you, but we’ve got some work to do between now and then. It’s been an honor and a privilege to work with you. Congratulations!” Bachus said.

The park board is using a search firm to find candidates for the executive director position.

In other business, the board accepted a report on an unexpected expense at the H-F Ice Arena where the park board is working on a new icemaking system at the rink after the original system failed in November 2021.

The bill is $40,000 for new rubberized flooring in front of the bleachers and around to the locker rooms and the hallway past the double doors into the rink. The bill will be paid from a contingency fund. Delivery of the dasher boards has been delayed about a week. If every deadline for construction is met, the rink could open in mid-January, Kopas said. 

The commissioners also accepted a report on pavilion rentals. The park team presented cost comparisons for hourly and daylong rentals, number of persons using a pavilion, amenities and other needs. 

The park district offers pavilion space for rent at Millennium, Apollo, Patriots, Irwin, Ballantrae and Goldberg Parks. It may add Homewood Estates Park where a pavilion was added during the park’s renovations completed in 2022. Pavilion space has been rented for weddings, family reunions and birthday parties. Saturdays are the most popular days for rentals. The average rental is 3.5 hours.

 The commissioners will study the options and consider changes at the Dec. 20 meeting. 

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