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June 13, 2024

Disturbing Trends with Park Districts –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On June 13, 2015

Illinois (ECWd) –

The more Districts we look at, the more problems we find. For some reason, Park Districts, along with other local governments, seem to have been given the wrong definition of “shall serve without compensation” – or maybe they are just confused on what the definition of “compensation” is.

Compensation may be paid as money, a commodity, a service or a privilege.

What we have been seeing across the State, is Park Districts giving “discounts” to Commissioners, either in the form of free admission to certain events, free or discounted golf course memberships, free stays in park cabins, free annual boat stickers, merchandise at cost, and also including all of these freebees for family members and former Commissioners for life. This is wrong and it must stop.

Another problem we have been seeing is the different “membership” or “fee” rates applied to individuals.

The Park District Code specifically addresses fees in Section 8-1(h), listed under their Powers:

(h) To establish fees for the use of facilities and recreational programs of the districts and to derive revenue from non-resident fees from their operations. Fees charged non-residents of such district need not be the same as fees charged to residents of the district. Charging fees or deriving revenue from the facilities and recreational programs shall not affect the right to assert or utilize any defense or immunity, common law or statutory, available to the districts or their employees.

What this paragraph tells me, is that the District can establish fees – and only has the power to establish different fees for non-residents. Meaning, the cannot charge one resident a different fee than another resident (for any reason).

Some district are charging resident couples and families at a different rate than single people – which is not in compliance with the law. We still live in a Dillon’s Rule state, and if the district is not given the power, they do not have the power.

Furthermore, a person could establish that any fees to residents are only intended to cover costs of the service, but the District can charge more than their actual cost to non-residents in order to derive income from them, and not from the residents.

Both of these points and more will be elaborated on in future articles.


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  • ECWDogs
    Posted at 20:15h, 13 June Reply

    Disturbing Trends with Park Districts –

  • Chris M. Gaines
    Posted at 07:43h, 14 June Reply

    Fact… With every new corruption scandal being exposed publicly more and more by sites like this… Illinois residents lose more and more trust in our government agencies and public institutions, obviously. Not only do Illinois residents have the lowest levels of trust in the entire country, they do so by a wide margin. Only 28 percent of Illinois residents trust state government, that means 72 percent DON’T trust it currently. Rhode Island is the next closest, with 40 percent of residents trusting state government according to statistical data currently available and reported publicly. We the People need to focus more now on implementing a solution to this public trust erosion before it collapses the foundations of the very agencies we depend on for services in Illinois. If we don’t do this now we have no one else to blame but ourselves obviously. Get MORE informed. Get MORE involved. Take action today please. Thank you and have a nice day.

  • Jim O'Connor
    Posted at 12:55h, 14 June Reply

    Interesting how law enforcement is able to infiltrate a drug cartel but are unable to get a handle on the cartel steeling taxpayer monies. After reading Illinois Leaks for the last six months I’ve come to the conclusion that Illinois legislators have spent a lot of time and money to dumb down Illinois Law Enforcement. Don’t get me wrong the cops are damn good at putting the street criminal in jail. However, when it comes to protecting taxpayer money they’re clueless. Illinois needs to seriously crack down on administrative fraud.

  • Warren J. Le Fever
    Posted at 09:14h, 15 June Reply

    After seeing and reading all that has gone at Mill Creek (CCPD), the above article should not be a surprise; but rather something that should be expected considering how this state is. The international (based in England) magazine “THE ECONOMIST” just had an article about corruption in Illinois. Furthermore that’s a TRUE SHAME. Prior to your article, I have said repeatedly, “Why should Mill Creek be the only park in this state with such problems? We just know about some of the ones here.” I have never felt that we are a special exception. There are a few bad apples everywhere. That doesn’t make the Mill Creek situation any lesser, however.

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