Will I receive a tax refund due to the District’s closure?
Thus far, there have not been discussions about cutting the Park District’s tax levy or possibly providing tax rebates during the COVID-19 pandemic. While residents are not currently able to participate in programs nor use the playgrounds, athletic courts, facilities and fields, all of the District's 28 parks remain open for walking, hiking, running and biking and still have to be maintained during the stay-at-home order. This maintenance includes, among other things, mowing of turf, trail maintenance and trash collection. In addition, the District operates nearly 20 different facilities that, even while closed to the public, have to continue to be operated from the perspective of utilities, HVAC systems and security.
Less than half of the Park District's overall funding comes from property tax revenues. The majority of revenue is generated from user fees, memberships and facility rental fees. During the stay-at-home order we are not generating any of those revenues and project our losses to be in excess of $6 million dollars. As a result, we have instituted a hiring freeze, frozen any vacant positions, cancelled contracts with service providers, deferred more than $1 million dollars in capital projects and have furloughed and imposed pay cuts on hundreds of staff who run our programs and facilities.
Therefore, tax revenues are solely being used at the current time to operate the District's essential functions, with a focus on safety, security and sanitation for park users and our staff performing those tasks.
We greatly look forward to the lifting of the stay at home order so that the Park District, along with everyone else, can begin to transition back to a new "normal" which we anticipate will allow for greater use of the parks and a gradual re-introduction of programs and services.