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posted: 10/29/2012 5:00 AM

Parks referendum can be cut further

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Last March voters rejected a $48 million park district referendum. Now the park district is requesting $39 million. Rejecting the first referendum saved taxpayers over $14 million of unnecessary principal and interest payments. We think more can be saved.

We do not understand how $3 million for elevated walking tracks and a bike path around Lake Arlington are more important than a gymnasium in Heritage Park.

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We do not understand why taxes should be used to build a cardio facility that is already provided by taxpaying businesses.

And we don't understand how spending almost $4 million for a new bathhouse is practical.

Our real estate taxes have risen at over three times the rate of inflation for the last 25 years. Had government spending tracked inflation, our taxes would be just one-half what they are today. This excessive spending now costs the owner of a $300,000 house over $3,000 per year.

Today, Illinois is virtually broke and our taxes will have to go up to repair the damage. That's why all our future investments must be thoughtful and measured.

We could start with an Internet system that allows users to locate and reserve available facilities. If we need additional program space for seasonal classes, we should rent it. And, the park district should reduce its operating expenses. While the private sector and families have learned to make do with less, government has not.

We love our parks but we have to be smart. Elevated walking tracks and an expensive bathhouse don't meet that test when thousands of our neighbors are unemployed and many are having trouble saving for health care, education and retirement.

There is a better plan and there is a better time. Two of the five commissioners voted against this referendum; you should too.

Vote No.

Bob Ruffatto

Arlington Heights

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