|Posted by Vance D. Wyatt | Lake County Board Member - District 14 on January 18, 2016 at 7:40 PM|
Another three months has come and gone since my last update. Since the winter has rolled in with blistering cold, the last few months have been focused on policy matters. In this update, I will be focusing on the Property Tax Levy, FY 2016 Budget, Policies and the Commissioner Scholarship.
Vance D. Wyatt, Commissioner
Foss Park District
If you have any questions or concerns please reach out to me via email at [email protected] or via phone at 224-419-4509. I want to represent you to best of my abilities and will need to hear from you.
2016 Property Tax Levy
In Dec 2015, the Board of Commissioners did vote on a Tax Levy that increased the rate by 0.08% in order to account for the inflation rate. The increase in the rate will not increase the dollar amount that a homeowner will have pay to the park district. For this reason, I did vote in favor of the Tax Levy. It is my belief that we do not need to increase taxes and instead spend tax payer dollars more wisely.
FY 2016 Budget
Similar to the State of Illinois, the Foss Park District did not pass a FY 2016 budget on time. However, at our October meeting the Board did adopt a balanced budget. Although I do believe that the revenue projections in the budget are over generous. I think it will allow us to focus more on how we do our revenue projections the coming year.
The board adopted a balance budget requirement to our Policy Handbook in Oct 2015. Also the board adopted an automatic budget clause, if the board fails to adopt one by the end of July of the new fiscal year. These sections of the Policy handbook protects our retirees, employees and bondholders since they will not allow for any cuts in those funds. However, if there are any cuts to any services the board will get the blame since it is due to their inaction.
The Park District is still waiting for the General Assembly and Governor Rauner to vote on a Budget that will release funds that the district needs to complete various projects such as the lake front park and beach restoration project.
Park District Policies
When I first ran for Commissioner back in 2013; I was appalled at the fact that there was no Park District Policy handbook, Bylaws and or regulating ordinances. In other words, the park district had no rules to operate on. At the Sept 2015 meeting the board adopted a Public Comment Policy; and at the Oct 2015 meeting; the board adopted a Credit Card policy.
The Credit Card Policy put a requirement on staff and Commissioners to submit to the Finance Dept. receipts for all expenditures above $25. The policy also put a restriction on buying alcohol beverages and entertainment on tax payer dime.
In Nov 2015, the board adopted a Park District Policy Handbook/Bylaws. Which established rules and order for the districts operations. It also established rules for the Board of Commissioners. As stated earlier, it did contain a balanced budget requirement that prevents the board from over spending and an automatic budget adoption.
Those two sections of the policy handbook will help the district start to turn around the current financial situation that it is faced with. The Park district did attempt to acquire bonds in May 2015; however, they could not find any lenders/investors that would purchase bonds from the district.
When I graduated from North Chicago Community High School; I had the opportunity to receive a scholarship from Waukegan Township. Although the amount of the scholarship was small compared the enormous cost to attend college; every dollar helped. That is why the board has approved a proposal to provide a Scholarship to three students that reside in the Foss Park District for College. The amount will be determined at the January 2016 meeting.