Kane forest district envisions $2 million worth of improvements in new budget

 
 
Updated 4/27/2021 6:52 PM

The pending 2021-22 budget for the Kane County Forest Preserve District envisions $2 million in new projects and 3% merit raises for employees funded, in part, by a cost-of-living property tax increase.

Members of the district's finance commission viewed a draft of the budget Tuesday afternoon. The plan calls for new property tax revenue of $235,586. That new money will come by taxing new property coming onto the tax rolls as well as implementing a cost-of-living property tax increase.

 

The budget offsets that increase in property taxes coming to the general fund with a bond refunding that decreases the overall tax levy by $111,000. The impact is a slight lowering of the average local property tax bill owed to the district. Those average bills would shrink even further if commissioners didn't approve the cost-of-living property tax increase.

Some of the new money will help fund 3% merit raises for district employees. There are no new jobs called for in the plan.

The budget also envisions a $130,000 decrease in revenue from the district's golf courses. That relates to the permanent closure of the Deer Valley Golf Course and the temporary closure of the Settler's Hill course for the 2021 season to allow for renovations.

Despite that, the district will leverage the money it has with grant funds to complete about $2 million in improvements.

Larger projects include:

• Improvements to the Brunner Forest Preserve ($625,000 with funding from the Kane County Division of Transportation)

• Pingree Grove Wetland Bird Habitat Enhancement ($350,000 with up to $100,000 in grant funding)

• Fabyan Woods Migratory Bird Habitat ($335,000 that is fully funded by grants)

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• Fox River Trail resurfacing in Elgin Township ($125,000)

• Prairie restoration at Burlington Prairie ($100,000)

Not included in the projects is a new clubhouse for the Settler's Hill Golf Course. That big-ticket item is on the district's wish list, but it remains to be seen if there will be funds to build the type of facility commissioners would like to see.

"I think we've agreed at this point that's something we'd like to do, but we don't know if we'll do it or when," Commissioner Bill Lenert said. "We plan and hope for it, but we can't guarantee it."

The full forest preserve commission must vote on the budget plan before it is finalized.

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