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Park District Board holds line on property taxes and range of program fees

The Chicago Park District Board approved Wednesday the agency’s $411 million budget for 2013 that holds the line on property taxes and a range of program fees from golfing to summer kids camp.

To help close a $16 million deficit, the district will hike permit fees for big-ticket events — such as charity runs on the lakefront — by 1.5 percent and slash the equivalent of 32 full-time jobs, which park officials say are largely seasonal positions.

Chicago Park District Supt. Mike Kelly told the Sun-Times last month he had to strike a delicate balance in crafting a budget for the board: Erase a years-old problem of spending more money than is coming in while meeting the demands and changing tastes of the public. To that end, the park district is launching a lacrosse program while expanding boxing and a Junior Bears football programs.

Hoping to draw more boaters — and maybe a little more money — the park district will place a moratorium on non-resident fees for those who’d like to dock their boat at the new, 1,000-slip 31st Street Harbor.

Kelly said youth programming remains one of the best deals in town, noting that golfing is free for kids 17 and younger throughout the park district; check for times and locations. And discounts continue for families with more than one child in programs and families of active military personnel. And park program fees will be waived for active members of the military.

Lisa Donovan



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