After intense public commentary and discussion between commissioners, the Oswegoland Park District Board voted to approve this year’s tax levy with a reduction of 5 percent from last year.
Prior to the tax levy discussion, several community members spoke in support of a Kendall County non-binding 20 percent levy reduction that 71 percent of voters approved Election Day.
Jan Alexander, a member of the Kendall County Property Tax Revolt, said she wanted the park board to take the cuts seriously.
“Your services don’t save lives,” she said. “We want some cuts.”
Oswego resident Richard Ayers added that the “board doesn’t have proper respect for citizens.”
Another resident,, Dave Peterson, said he felt the park district wasn’t a luxury and that in “these challenging times, the park district is where families can go for a high-quality program and provides a place for our kids to do things and have role models.” He said the levy should remain the same.
Board President Bob Mattingly agreed.
“If we cut our levy by 20 percent, or $1.1 million, that’s $1.1 million we will never see again,” he said, as the board could never tax current residents at the same amount. “I cannot give up $1.1 milion forever. I can’t do that to the kids and parents and the people who use our facilities.”
He said by keeping the levy the same it would cost about an extra $1 a month to the taxpayer.
Commisioner Leonard Wass wanted the board to make the 20 percent cut and proposed ways cuts could be made, including the selling of a house owned by the park district.
“If we’re not part of the solution, we’re part of the problem,” he said.
Commisioner Roy White eventually suggested a compromise of a 5 percent levy reduction for a “show of good faith.” The reduced levy would save taxpayers about $275,000. Mattingly said he had no problem with that reduction, a thought echoed by commissioner Debra Krause, who seconded the motion put forth by White.
The board vote 4-1 in favor of the 5 percent reduction, with Mattingly, Krause, White and Ebersole voting in approval and Wass voting against.