Photo by birdfreak.com.
Well, it looks like $170 million over the past several referenda isn’t enough for the Lake County Forest Preserve District. They want to do another referendum that exceeds the last three successful referenda combined, oh, but it won’t raise your taxes.
First of all, I challenge anyone in this county to find a place where it takes them more than ten minutes to drive to a forest preserve. Then I challenge you to drive more than 10 minutes to find one of those parcels that just has a sign saying it was bought “thanks to your support” and yet the district hasn’t done anything with it yet. Then I challenge you, after using that gas, to put together enough money to play golf at one of the high end golf courses the district owns that is far beyond the reach of most of the average taxpayers. It’s clear to me the folks at the Forest Preserve District have become out of touch, and that means some of your Lake County Board members have let the administration go too far.
According to the Herald article the district has 27,000 acres of land already — 27,000 acres of land that will never yield another tax dollar to any entity. Property acquired by the Forest Preserve comes off of the tax rolls and obviously that tax revenue has to be made up somewhere else, usually by the homeowner.
The Forest Preserve is also engaging in an alarming new tactic – come up with another bond issue when one is expiring so you can get more money but claim that taxes won’t go up. Previous bonds are going to be retired, taxes would actually come down (what a novel concept) if this measure failed. So the district puts out a proposal to borrow more money than its previous three successful referenda combined when the stock market is in the tank and folks are just trying to get enough money to put gas in their car.
The voters have taken care of the Forest Preserve very well over the the past fifteen years, it’s time to turn off the spigot and tell them no, that’s enough now.