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:
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.
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?
Cary Park District Resident