The Forest Preserve District’s Board approved a 2021 budget during its monthly meeting on November 12.
“The budget is balanced and our infrastructure maintenance, vehicle replacement and computer replacement funds are fully funded,” said Matt Pehle, the District’s chief financial officer.
The corporate budget is $13.3 million and the construction and development budget is $4.7 million. The combined funds are up $1.1 million, but more than half of that increase is due to a drawdown from the fund balance reserves, Pehle said.
The reserves will be used for several capital projects in 2021 including:
- $300,000 for repaving 4.5 miles of the Old Plank Road Trail from Harlem Avenue west to 108th Avenue (excluding the portion of the trail owned by the Village of Frankfort).
- $225,000 for electronic dog park gates at all six dog parks.
- $150,000 to develop and update the District’s real estate database.
- $75,000 for phase two of exhibit developments at Four Rivers Environmental Education Center in Channahon.
The Forest Preserve's total budget of $66 million includes $18,128,700 that is related to debt service repayment for bonds for land acquisition and capital projects throughout the District. The Board approved a $25 million five-year capital plan in late 2019 that is funding many of these projects. In 2021, the bond funds will be used to:
- Continue renovations at Four Rivers Environmental Education Center.
- Complete work on a trail connection project along Black Road, which will link the Rock Run Greenway Trail in Joliet with the DuPage River Trail in Shorewood and include pedestrian bridges over Interstate 55 and the DuPage River.
- Break ground on a project to extend the Veterans Memorial Trail from 159th Street south to the Spring Creek Greenway Trail at Hadley Valley Preserve in Homer Township.
- Link Lake Chaminwood Trail in Troy Township with the I&M Canal Trail.
The Forest Preserve’s Corporate Fund property tax 2020 levy, payable in 2021, is up slightly, from $10.1 million to $10.2 million, but the District’s overall tax rate will decrease by 1.57 percent. As a result of the decrease, the owner of a $200,000 house will pay $95.93 to the Forest Preserve in 2021, a decrease of approximately $1.53 in taxes from the prior year.
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