Forest Preserve District Budget Approved for 2013-2014
The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County’s Board of Commissioners today approved the agency’s $41,943,149 operating budget for fiscal year 2013 – 2014, which begins July 1.
The 2013 – 2014 operating budget, which the board passed on time and developed as part of a multiyear financial outlook, is a decrease of 0.05 percent from 2012 – 2013. It provides for public programs at five educational and cultural centers, the restoration of native habitats, and the maintenance and operation of recreational features such as trails, picnic shelters and camping areas.
The Forest Preserve District serves as steward to more than 25,000 acres and 60 forest preserves, which receive about 4.3 million visitors annually.
According to Forest Preserve District President D. “Dewey” Pierotti Jr., “Once again we’ve reduced operating costs while continuing to build new facilities and provide more ways for people to get out and enjoy the open spaces that enhance the quality of life in DuPage County.”
Proposed initiatives for the fiscal year 2013 – 2014 include the following:
- Initiation of a strategic planning process for the agency that will include surveys and focus groups to gather input from the public.
- Trails, connections to municipal waterlines, and other infrastructure at St. James Farm Forest Preserve in Warrenville, which is now open year-round following completion of a new main entrance and parking lot on Winfield Road.
- Trails, a 3-acre picnic area, a 20-car parking lot and other recreational improvements at Dunham Forest Preserve in Wayne.
- Improved trails at the off-leash dog areas at Springbrook Prairie and Greene Valley forest preserves in Naperville and significant upgrades at the off-leash area at Mayslake Forest Preserve in Oak Brook.
- Design and initial construction work to prepare the 1840s Ben Fuller House at Fullersburg Woods Forest Preserve in Oak Brook for use as a visitor center with partial funding from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
- Continued support for summer camps and learning opportunities for at-risk youth in DuPage.
- A second treatment for zebra mussels at West Branch Forest Preserve in Bartlett to follow last year’s pilot study which achieved 97 percent zebra mussel mortality in application areas.
- Improved access for people with disabilities, a covered structure for competitors at the advanced range and other improvements at the archery area at Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville.
Property taxes collected in 2013 will fund the 2013 – 2014 budget. The Board of Commissioners approved the tax levy in November 2012 at a rate of 7.53 cents per $100 equalized assessed valuation. A homeowner with an assessed valuation of $300,000 pays only $140 annually to the District.
The District maintains a balanced general fund that matches current operating expenses with current-period revenues. Operations are funded primarily by property taxes, with the District tax rate comprising about 2.14 percent of a homeowner’s property tax bill. The District is subject to the tax cap, which limits property tax growth to the lesser of the Consumer Price Index or 5 percent.
The District has earned AAA bond ratings, the best possible, from multiple independent investment rating services and has received numerous awards for excellence in financial reporting.
The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County owns and manages 25,000 acres of prairies, woodlands and wetlands. Each year more than 4 million visitors enjoy 60 forest preserves, 145 miles of trails, five education centers and scores of programs. To get District e-news in your inbox, sign up at www.dupageforest.org/e-newsletter. For general information, visit dupageforest.org or call 630-933-7200.
Media Contacts: Susan Olafson, Director, Office of Public Affairs, 630-871-6406
Jack Hogan, Director, Office of Finance, 630-933-7084
News Release Date: June 18, 2013