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Our view: Liking the St. Charles Park District’s lower tax rate

Published: Saturday, July 7, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

While many governmental bodies across the state have increased taxes over the last few years, the St. Charles Park District recently lowered its rate after the district’s director told his staff to keep costs down and shop around for lower bids on projects.

If you see Ray Ochromowicz or park district staff around town, be sure to let them know that you appreciate the lowering of the district’s portion of your property tax bill. It will save the owner of a home valued at $284,000 about $32 – not much, but it is something.

In difficult economic times like these, everybody is penny-pinching. That should – and in this case, does – include local governmental bodies. We are thrilled to see this type of result coming from the park district.

In 2008, the park district was able to convince residents to approve a referendum to increase taxes to pay for new facilities, such as the Otter Cove Aquatic Park and Hickory Knolls Discovery Center. The referendum also paid for renovations to Swanson Pool. Now, just four years later, the new facilities are open and popular, and they are being operated by taking less money from taxpayers.

The amount of savings is relatively small to residents, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction. We hope other local governments take notice. Next time the park district needs to go to referendum, it might be easier to persuade taxpayers to approve the measure with a track record like this.

Ochromowicz said many taxpayers may not even realize the park district’s lower rate, as many just look at the bottom line to see if the total went up from the year before.

It’s worth it to analyze the bills a little further – residents may find delights such as this.

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