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posted: 3/14/2012 5:29 AM

Arlington Hts. park district shouldn't take on debt

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The Daily Herald recommends approval of the Arlington Heights Park District bond issue; I suggest you vote no.

This bond issue is the largest in park district history but completes only 65 percent of the master plan. With interest, it will cost $84 million to repay. For the owner of a $300,000 home, the added tax is $100 per year, not $36. If defeated, this homeowner's tax will decrease $60 per year.

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But there are other questions.

What if we could save $40 million, build two better facilities and reduce taxes? That was not studied. Most communities have centralized these mega-facilities to enhance programs and reduce future operating expenses.

Our current parks add value but creating "ultra" parks will not. In fact, increased congestion may reduce the value of nearby homes and rising operating costs and taxes will destroy value for everyone.

Frankly, our children's problem is not access to parks; it's government's addiction to debt. Illinois owes over $120 billion for pensions and health care benefits. Cook County owes billions more. This debt burden grows daily. Arlington Heights owes $80 million dollars, and the park district owes $8 million. Unfortunately, much of this debt will be inherited by our children. It will rob their savings and diminish their future.

But we also have thousands of underemployed neighbors and more than 400 homes subject to foreclosure. Skyrocketing real estate taxes are part of the problem. Over the last 20 years, they have increased at almost double the rate of inflation! Had increases tracked inflation, the "typical" homeowner would pay $3,500 less per year.

Let's kick the habit of deficit spending. Let's send a message. Government should borrow only for necessities, not luxuries, and when they do spend, they must do so efficiently.

It's message time; Vote No.

Bob Ruffatto

Arlington Heights

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