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Sycamore park video looks to boost support

Board members mull adding referendum asking voters to OK property tax rate increase

Published: Friday, June 27, 2014 11:38 p.m. CDT

SYCAMORE – Sycamore Park District officials are hoping their new video will persuade voters to support a property tax increase to add amenities such as a community center.

The park district recently produced and released an 11-minute video detailing their proposals for improving local park amenities, including connecting trails, fixing the golf irrigation system and adding a new community center, a splash pad, a dog park, a sled hill and a sports complex.Their name for the collective improvements is Vision 2020.

The park board passed an ordinance Tuesday authorizing up to $9 million in bonds to help fund the plan, which residents will ultimately vote on. Within the next month or two, the park board will go through the legal process to formulate a question asking voters to approve a property tax rate increase of 18 cents per $100 of equalized assessed value to fund the bond issue.

The referendum likely will be placed on the Nov. 4 ballot. The park board will vote on whether to bring it to a referendum in one of its next two meetings, said Ted Strack, Sycamore park board president.

"We're trying to be as open and transparent as we can be with the community," Strack said. "We want to tell as many people as we can what our thoughts and plans are."

The construction and operating costs for the new park amenities will cost an estimated $13.3 million, but about a third of the funding is to come from grants and donations, according to the video.

The tax increase, meanwhile, would cost the owner of a $154,000 home who claims the homestead exemption about $81 a year in additional property tax. Park board members point out that is about a quarter a day.

"Compare that to your cell phone service, monthly cable costs," said Bill Kroeger, Sycamore Park District commissioner. "These expenses dwarf the investment you'll be asked to make in your parks."

On the Web

To watch the video, visit www.sycamoreparkdistrict.com and click on "Vision 2020" under the General Info tab.

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