Kane County Forest Preserve District commissioners approved a budget this week that includes a property tax increase, money for government employee raises and grant funds to remove the Carpentersville Dam.
The forest district’s general fund, which accounts for the bulk of operational expenses, will increase by $800,000 for a budget of $10.65 million for the 2022-23 fiscal year. That includes a $197,000 property tax levy increase to account for new property and inflation. The levy hike is the maximum commissioners could approve without voter approval.
Government employee salaries are part of the general fund. The budget includes raises of up to 3.9%. There are also seven new jobs within the budget, including a new district police officer.
The district is funding most new employee salaries through savings generated by an early retirement program.
There is $5.7 million in new projects or funding for ongoing projects in the construction and development fund of the budget.
Those projects include the removal of the Carpentersville Dam via a $2 million grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. District staff members also are seeking grant funds to pay for a $1.3 million renovation of the Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve.
Commissioners also set high budget priorities on creating a bald eagle and wild turkey habitat in the Big Forest preserve ($335,000) and a new Rusty Patch Bumblebee habitat in Hoscheit Woods ($200,000).
One ongoing project local taxpayers will see come to fruition this summer is the renovated Settler’s Hill Golf Course. The course will have a returning nines layout for the first time.
The costs to play the course will fluctuate according to the day and time of the round, with early weekend rounds costing more than afternoon and weekday rounds.
District officials are still targeting the middle to the end of July to open the course.