ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The Rockford Park District says it will have to raise its tax levy in 2021, meaning an increase in property taxes for homeowners.

The Rockford Park District’s Board of Commissioners voted Monday night to approve the increase after facing a budget shortfall of more than $480,000.

The district says major revenue sources, totaling up to $2 million, were lost when it was forced to close most of its facilities and cancel sports tournaments this year during the COVID-19 lockdown.

In addition, the minimum wage in Illinois is going up to $11 an hour on January 1st.

Board Vice President Tyler Smith says the park district has already been forced to cut dozens of programs over the past six years to keep the levy flat, and said there wasn’t another option to balance the budget.

“We’ve made so many significant cuts in staff and other programming that we’ve essentially cut to the bone. There’s an expression: ‘dying by a thousand cuts,’ and we have cut everything we could,” said Smith.


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