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updated: 6/17/2014 6:29 PM

DuPage forest preserve adopts $44 million operating budget

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DuPage County Forest Preserve District commissioners have approved an operating budget of nearly $44 million for the coming fiscal year, a decrease of more than 5 percent compared to the existing spending plan.

The unanimous vote on the 2014-2015 budget came Tuesday; the district's fiscal year starts July 1.

"We've cut back on our spending," forest preserve President D. "Dewey" Pierotti said, "and we haven't eliminated any of the services or projects that we have."

The district's total budget is roughly $68.3 million. The operating portion pays for salaries, supplies and other day-to-day expenses.

The spending plan was developed as part of a multiyear financial outlook, officials said.

Officials say they managed to reduce the operating budget by nearly $2.3 million by cutting the total number of district employees and spending less money on outside consulting services.

Despite the cuts, the district will be able to give employees 3 percent raises. The district also will pay 3 percent more to provide medical and dental insurance.

More than $4 million from third parties was secured for the district's new Wetland Aquatic and Riparian Program, which is planned for the next fiscal year. No property tax money will be used to pay for the habitat restoration work.

The 2014-2015 budget will be funded with property tax revenue collected this year.

Officials say the owner of $300,000 home pays about $165 annually to the district, which accounts for roughly 2.14 percent of the total property tax bill.

School districts take up most of the property tax bill at 72.8 percent.

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