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updated: 2/15/2011 11:30 PM

Glen Ellyn park district board still debating budget

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It's clear the Glen Ellyn Park District Board of Commissioners is split on how the district spends money.

Though the 2011 budget was approved 4-3 in December, board members were still arguing about budgetary matters during a meeting Tuesday.

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The board voted unanimously at the meeting to approve two budget and appropriation ordinances, which aren't budgets themselves, but paperwork that must be filed with the county. Still, it didn't come without contentious discussion.

The 2010 budget ordinance had to be amended to reflect expenditures not included in the original budget that was approved Jan. 19, 2010, such as a new boiler, equipment costs at the Ackerman Sports & Fitness Center and wetland mitigation costs, said Nick Cinquegrani, superintendent of finance and personnel.

Commissioner Melissa Creech said board members knew about the $100,000 boiler previously, but much of the rest they only found out in the last few months. She said she wants to be able to see financial reports during the year "to know where we're standing," but the board previously voted that request down.

"I want to make sure this doesn't happen again, needing to put in an amended budget (ordinance) with the county two months after the fiscal year ends," Creech said. "There's a culture in the park district that accounts can go over budget. That needs to stop. The budget is not a suggestion."

Commissioner Julia Nephew said it's appalling that some board members have approved budgets that have overspent, and they haven't taken action to curb spending in the next fiscal year.

Board President Ed Hess said the park district has been a "fiscally responsible entity" that has operated in the black for many years.

"Unfortunately we're making political statements tonight," Hess said. "It's not time to talk about the budget. This is the budget and appropriation ordinance to the county, and that's what we're talking about tonight. We've had ample time to talk about the budget."

Board members also voted on a 2011 budget ordinance, which must be filed with the county by the end of March, said board attorney Steve Adams.

Hess warned there would be "large and severe repercussions to the park district" if commissioners did not approve the ordinance.

"If we don't approve this, people, the park district can stop operating," he told fellow board members. "It's our financial responsibility to report this to the county."

Commissioners William Dahlman and Sandra Minogue, who both voted for the budget in December, weren't at the meeting Tuesday. Board members who voted against the budget wondered if the ordinance might be amended.

But Commissioner Jay Kinzler, who voted against the budget, said it would be inevitable that the ordinance would eventually pass when all board members are in attendance.

"I'm going to vote for it, but I'm still against it," he said.

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