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updated: 11/9/2012 5:46 AM

Voters reject Arlington Hts. parks plan again

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For the second time this year voters have rejected a multimillion dollar tax hike for the Arlington Heights Park District.

With all Cook County votes counted, voters rejected a $39 million bond issue by 863 votes -- or 16,440 "no" votes to 15,577 "yes" votes.

The park district has one precinct in Lake County but so far no votes in that precinct have been reported. All results are still unofficial.

The bond issue would have paid for major renovations at several of the large parks in Arlington Heights.

In March voters rejected a similar $48 million proposal by a similar margin, about 640 votes.

In both cases, the money would have funded an enhanced walking path at Lake Arlington, major overhauls to accessibility and program space at Camelot, Frontier, Heritage, Olympic and Recreation parks, and more, Arlington Heights Park District officials said.

"The board and the staff are very disappointed," said Executive Director Steve Scholten. "This is a good plan that would move the district forward into the 21st century."

Opponents of the tax increase argued that with the economy still recovering, now was not the time to raise taxes.

If the bond issue had passed, a resident with a $300,000 home would have seen an increase in the property tax payment to the park district of an average of $71 per year over the next 25 years, according to park district calculations.

Scholten said the board will have to decide what to do next.

The next opportunity for a referendum to appear on a ballot would be the April 2013 consolidated municipal elections, but that wouldn't leave the park district much time, Scholten said.

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