Kane Forest District seeks alternative funding source for operation costs
By Matt Brennan For Sun-Times Media September 10, 2013 2:34PM
Updated: October 12, 2013 6:24AM
GENEVA — The Kane County Forest Preserve Commission debated a $150,000 tax hike on Tuesday that would have cost the average taxpayer about 83 cents, before tabling the issue for next month.
The 1.7 percent hike is part of the Forest Preserve District’s proposed budget, and would go toward maintaining new land.
The proposal was tabled for 30 days, and the commission will instead request the operations funding from the county’s Riverboat funds — an income source from the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin.
The commission had the choice to approve the hike as presented, or direct the Forest Preserve District staff to find places within the budget to trim $150,000 off so that it would balance.
Commissioners came up with the third option of pursuing riverboat funding as a way not to burden taxpayers.
“It’s a tiny percentage, but it symbolizes a lot,” Commissioner Drew Frasz (R-Elburn) said.
The operations increase comes as the forest preserve has expanded its holdings by 10 percent, according Forest Preserve President John Hoscheit (R-St. Charles).
He noted that if the county had grown by 10 percent, the sheriff’s office would need to patrol that ground.
“We wouldn’t be debating that,” he said.
Commissioner Mike Donahue (R-Geneva) said, “It’s easy to be political, but we’re talking about a very reasonable amount,” Donahue said.
The riverboat fund, where the forest preserve will be seeking its alternative, is typically used for one-time projects, versus ongoing operations costs. It’s also dwindling as new gambling taxes and increased competition have reduced the Elgin casino’s bottom line.