Park District Wants to Fix the Pool with Its “Revolving Credit Line”

In a story that appears to be designed to make us feel ashamed about questioning the destruction of recreation space that has become important to the community (I’ll comment further on the land swap deal another time), the Chronicle drops in this tidbit:

About that pool: Although the DeKalb Park District won’t be building the aquatic center complex envisioned in 2010, Capek said there is a plan to fix the pool at Hopkins Park.

The pool there now was built almost 40 years ago and is nearing the end of its useful life. The park district pursued a grant for the work, but missed out in the face of stiff competition, Capek said.

“The board made the commitment to do that within existing financing,” Capek said. “The project will move forward at end of pool season in 2014 and they hope to have it open for the 2015 season.”

Unlike the old plan, this time park officials plan to save money from their annual bond issue to put toward the pool improvements. The new pool will fit within the footprint of the existing pool, Capek said.

The park board has agreed to allow staff to stat moving forward with the project, and it should be discussed more at the park board’s budget meeting Dec. 6, Capek said.

It so happens that the McHenry County Blog has just explained well this lovely loophole that park districts have made an annual ritual:

Park Districts that had debt outstanding at the end of 1994 or 1995 were granted the ability to sell bonds in perpetuity without voter approval as long as the amount of interest and principal are the same as the amount paid in that benchmark year.

It [sic] something like a revolving credit card that never has to be paid off.

No, we just KEEP paying and paying. As I’ve written before:

Here’s the scoop. DPD makes its usual, annual property tax levy. It also takes advantage of a provision of Illinois park district law to collect a debt service levy by issuing bonds.

As can be said of so many things in local government, referendum-dodging may be legal but it sure ain’t kosher.