Oak Park votes yes on nonbinding referendum

The following is a joint statement from the park district, township and the library.

Collaboration is vital for addressing issues, effecting change

On Nov. 6, Oak Parkers approved the following nonbinding referendum:

“Shall the merger and consolidation of Oak Park taxing bodies be considered, including, but not limited to, the Village of Oak Park, Oak Park Township, the Oak Park Public Library and the Park District of Oak Park, to determine if there would be efficiencies, the elimination of redundancies and/or property tax reduction for the residents of Oak Park?”

What happens now?

All next steps are to be determined. Because this referendum was nonbinding, no direct action is tied to its approval. The library, the park district, and the township will continue to provide quality services, programs, and resources accessible to everyone in our community with a fiscally responsible approach.

Combined, roughly 11.5 percent of your tax bill comes from the park district (4.6%), the library (4.5%) and the township (2.4%). This equates to $1,380 for a $12,000 tax bill, the median in Oak Park for the 2016 taxes paid in 2017, according to Ali ElSaffar, Oak Park Township Assessor. It is important to note that any future merger and consolidation would be a long and complicated process.

“The Park District agrees taxes routinely need to be evaluated,” said Jan Arnold, Executive Director of the Park District of Oak Park. “To date, there is no known data that shows consolidation will save money. There is research that shows consolidation can reduce services.”

Continued collaboration

Since long before the referendum to consider consolidation was put on the Nov. 6 ballot, the library, township, and park district have been collaborating to address issues and shared concerns in our community. Regardless of any next steps to study consolidation, they will continue to work together to create positive change for Oak Park.

“We know that we must work together with all other local governmental entities to effect positive change for our community,” said David J. Seleb, Executive Director of the Oak Park Public Library.   

Welcoming your feedback

The library, the park district, and the township continue to welcome your feedback in person, at community meetings, and via our websites.