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updated: 2/21/2014 2:02 PM

Endorsement: No to Huntley Park District referendum

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The Daily Herald Editorial Board

The Huntley Park District, which serves 40,000 residents, wants voters to approve an $18.75 million construction bond to build an indoor artificial turf facility. Officials say if taxpayers OK the referendum, their taxes wouldn't go up because the district would restructure existing debt. If voters reject the referendum, they would see a property tax reduction, on average, of $125. Park district Executive Director Thom Palmer said the facility is expected to be self-sustaining operationally and could potentially generate revenue through user fees. To compile its 2011 comprehensive plan, the district sent surveys to 2,000 households and 413 people responded. The desire for more soccer programs, for example, was rated highly by fewer than 20 percent of the respondents. The need for more meeting rooms and places to play lacrosse and bocce ball -- all features of the proposed turf facility -- didn't rank especially high. The turf facility, originally estimated to cost up to $10 million, is now expected to cost $16.5 million. The extra money could be used for possible future land purchases -- something else that didn't rank especially high with residents. For us, this all adds up to a no vote. The district needs more buy-in from residents, many of whom live in Sun City and would have little use for the facility. For now, retire the bonds instead of extending them forward. It feels good to pay off a loan.

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