Cary Taxpayer Argues Against Park District Purchase of Second Golf Club, Board Members Getting Free Rounds

The following email was sent to Cary Park District Executive Director Dan Jones by Michael Rein:

Dear Mr. Jones:

Having had the opportunity to discuss the possibility of the Cary Park District purchasing Chalet Hills Golf Course with many park district residents, I offer the following:

If purchased, Chalet Hills Golf Club would be the second owned by the Cary Park District.

Virtually all those I have spoken with have concurred that for a variety of reasons, it is inappropriate for the Park District to purchase a business, albeit a golf course.

With the exception of some residents of Chalet Hills, virtually all others feel it is inappropriate for a unit of government to compete with entrepreneurs, investors and other entities that typically would purchase a golf course.

Owning a golf course that a small percentage of area residents would utilize, raises the scope of recreation provided to a level that a local park district need not provide.

Certainly a sufficient number of both public and private courses exist within that area that residents can utilize.

Several residents have raised concerns regarding area privately owned courses having to compete against publicly owned courses and question where this will stop.

Where there are some things that a populous can better accomplish working together such as parks for children and programs for seniors, at what point does it all stop?

If the Park District concerns itself with golf, should it not too provide (underwrite) other adult recreational activities such as sky diving, scuba diving and perhaps motocross?

How about a shooting range?

Many feel such a purchase is speculative at best, and creates an unnecessary fiduciary risk to property owners.

One only has to consider the numerous golf courses within fifteen or so miles of Cary that have been and are currently in foreclosure.

Most conflicting, is the fact that commissioners, have the ability to golf for free.

Certainly it would be reasonable for commissioners to play for free if they were representing the Park District at an event or perhaps a round or two per year, but carte blanche!

This seems to be a conflict of interest, and impropriety!

At the last meeting, one commissioner stated the Park District had not increased their levy. The amount has been the same for the past twenty years!

Where this may be true regarding the percentage of the value of real estate that governmental bodies such as the Park District collect, although value of much of the real estate in the Park District has depreciated to values of nearly two decades ago, entities such as the Park District continue to enjoy revenue based on the peak values of 2006.

This is evidenced by the fact that the levy is independent of real estate value trends, and do not take into consideration the decline of value in property over the same period.

Vis-a-vis, although real estate values in many areas of the Park District territory now are at levels from nearly two decades ago, the Park District and other governmental bodies collect revenue based on peak values of 2005/2006 along with annual percentage increases allowed under Illinois law.

Another concern expressed by numerous residents, is the fact that property owned by a governmental entity will be removed from the tax roles with the burden then distributed among privately owned real estate resulting in yet another increase in the amount of real estate taxes paid.

Michale Rein

As an area Real Estate broker in the Cary area for over thirty years, I have had the opportunity to interact with many property owners, or perhaps a more appropriate term, is property owners who are about to be Foreclosed on, and no longer will be property owners.

It is my observation the vast majority of those losing their homes, were at one time were typical Cary area residents with middle class jobs, retirement accounts and children who they have assisted with their education through their savings and often with home equity loans.

These people now found themselves unemployed or underemployed.

They have exhausted their savings doing ‘the right thing” making their mortgage payments as long as they can, and now find themselves living literally day to day, about to to be homeless and without health insurance.

Certainly real estate taxes have been a significant drain on family budgets.

Not only for all the aforementioned reasons, but at a time when we find so many of our neighbors living in a state of crisis, seeking public assistance from sources such as area food pantries, it seems unconscionable that a taxing body that represents a significant portion of our real estate tax bills would, rather than looking for ways to reduce their levy, put area property owners at risk of increased taxes!

Should it be necessary to cover a loss incurred due to ownership of yet another golf course, regardless of the price?

At the Park District meeting last week one commissioner stated that there was not time for an advisory referendum, that a decision had to be made very soon.

I question why there would not be time, for if there is a buyer from the private sector for the golf course, should that buyer be competing with a governmental entity?

If not, why not let the bank currently holding the property continue to have a receiver run the course until such time as a referendum can held?


Michael Rein
Cary Park District Resident


Cary Taxpayer Argues Against Park District Purchase of Second Golf Club, Board Members Getting Free Rounds — 4 Comments

  1. Thank you, Michael Rein, I concur on all points.

    As a resident of Cary for 4 years, I have watched my property value drop by over 25%, while my property taxes have risen by literally thousands of dollars, even after I appealed and won a tiny tax reduction!

    Cary needs to attract tax paying businesses to offset our ridiculously high property taxes.

    The commissioners need to work on that instead of scheduling tee times.

  2. Wow Michael!

    You should be running Obama’s campaign.

    You didn’t miss one scare tactic.

    Let’s see: concern over beating out private enterprise, people will become homeless, higher taxes, unemployment, oh! love, the shooting range thing.

    I guess you couldn’t figure out how to add-in God’s against it.

    And by the way.

    Property taxes are not going to be increase by the purchase of Chalet GC.

    You where at the meeting and asked the same questions and they were answered.

    I guess you didn’t like the answers.

    The people in Cary elected the Park District members.

    Let them run the Park District and you run real estate.

    One more comment… Let’s have a refurendum on your next real estate deal.

    I think the people in Cary should vote on if real estate brokers get paid when homeowners sell their house and lose money.

  3. Jerry,

    You are absolutely right; I should be running Obama’s campaign for that surely would insure a Romney victory! And God having anything to do with this, please….

    So you feel that I included scare tactics in my post. I invite you to spend a few weeks with me and witness what I do on nearly a daily basis.

    The statements I have made are not scare tactic, they are the facts.

    Sadly, there are many area residents who just a few years ago were solid middle class Cary area residents with a nice home, a job, savings and retirements accounts and health insurance.

    They took out home equity loans to pay for their children’s college.

    They now find themselves either unemployed or under employed, they have exhausted both their savings and retirement accounts “doing the right thing”, paying their mortgage and taxes as long as they could and then their world imploded.

    Now they utilize area food pantries (some go out of the area so that they will not be recognized) and they have no health insurance.

    Scare tactic, no.

    Reality, more often than any of us would like to see.

    Even in Chalet Hills I can think of two fairly recent foreclosures.

    Your statement regarding the property taxes NOT going to increase because of the purchase of Chalet Hills is absolutely incorrect.

    If the course is not profitable and the park district has to underwrite the operating costs certainly that cost will be passed along to property owners.

    Just the fact that the property would be removed from the tax rolls alone will cause the real estate taxes of private property owners to increase.

    You may wish to reference the recent article in Crain’s regarding the number of area golf courses that are on the market/in trouble.

    I understand that you would like to preserve the value of your home in Chalet Hills, and having an entity with a guaranteed stream of income own the golf course and club house certainly would help relive the apprehension some buyers may have about purchasing a home in a development with a golf course that is in receivership, however, for the various reasons I have previously expressed, I and many others do not want to share in the ownership of Chalet Hills.

    Here is a recent e-mail I received from one of your neighbors:

    Thank you for expressing exactly what I feel in your letter to Cary PD.

    Not all chalet hills residents want cary to purchase the course.

    I live on the 18th fairway and vigorously oppose the proposed purchase for exactly the reasons you have expressed. I think Cary has enough trouble running its other course at the moment.

    And free golf for the commissioners? tacky/conflict of interest.

    wow…the course has been declining for years.

    I see firsthand the lack of maintenance and disregard for upkeep.

    To bring it back to where it should be would be incredibly expensive and a continual monetary drain.

    I hope Cary PD listens to you! Please keep after them.

    And Jerry, one reason homes are for sale and a major contributing factor to why homeowners lose money is the real estate taxes, and that too is a fact.
    With many real estate taxes routinely topping $10,0000, $15,000 and yes $20,000 it doesn’t’ take long before those taxes eat into ones savings and equity. Taxes of $5,000, $6,000, $7,000+ on modest homes…it is simply not sustainable.

    Lastly, I tend to think a private company/owner likely would operate a better clubhouse/banquet facility as compared to a park district.

    Perhaps the courses would be the same but certainly the restaurant part likely would be a bit more upscale if it were private run.

    If you feel that “government” should run businesses like park districts, then perhaps they too should run other potentially profitable businesses and take more opportunities away from/compete with the private sector.

    As I recall, it didn’t work to well in socialistic countries.

    But perhaps the United States is headed toward a society where we all live in little apartments owned by the government rather than in nice golf course communities.

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