Park Board prioritizes spending for 2017-18 budget

The Homewood-Flossmoor Park District commissioners met with staff on March 7 to review plans for upcoming expenses in the next budget year.
The Homewood-Flossmoor area’s equalized assessed valuation (EAV) has been dropping, causing the park district to lose tax revenue. Commissioners went through the list and thanked staff for their diligence in recognizing what expenses could be reduced or put on hold.
The park district will be adding a full-time aquatics/fitness coordinator for Lions Club pool and the H-F Racquet and Fitness Club pool. Doug Boehm, superintendent of parks and planning, said the person will work 60 percent at Lions and switch to the Racquet Club after the outdoor pool at Lions closes for the season. Boehm said the person also will work to get a year-round consistency to swimming lessons between the two facilities.
The park district is replacing the filtration system at Lions Pool. The energy efficient system will help reduce electric bills.  Boehm said there is a program available that will allow for off-site readings of the chemical use in the pool. It will have computer alerts, Boehm said, giving staff a more efficient way to manage pool maintenance.
Also on his list are 19 new lights for Flossmoor Park, and new playground equipment for Cedar and Homewood Estates playgrounds.
Commissioners agreed to review a request for new financial software for the park district offices. The cost is not yet known. The park district will be seeking bids for the purchase, said Sharon Dangles, superintendent of finance and administration. 
Shon Washington, manager of the H-F Ice Arena, said the park district is now a member of the U.S. Figure Skating Association and may start hosting competitions. 
Irons Oaks Director Cheryl Vargo reported a 43 percent increase in space rentals since 2014. She said new carpeting installed in February has helped and she expects a greater interest in room rentals.
“It has made such a difference,” she said, as she told commissioners she wants to complete the renovation by bringing in a painter to update all the trim in the building.
Enrollment at Irons Oaks camps has increased 27 percent since 2013, she said.
The Racquet and Fitness Club plans to buy new elliptical equipment, and work will be done on the pool deck and in the men’s locker room. New office furniture will be purchased, said H-F Park District Executive Director Debbie Kopas.

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