Editorials

Collinsville area communities tired of playing, want to take taxes and go home

Eli Jenkins, 8, of Belleville runs from the wall of water pouring off Monsoon Mountain Thursday at Splash City Family Water Park in Collinsville. The park is operated by the Collinsville Area Recreastion District.
Eli Jenkins, 8, of Belleville runs from the wall of water pouring off Monsoon Mountain Thursday at Splash City Family Water Park in Collinsville. The park is operated by the Collinsville Area Recreastion District. snagy@bnd.com

The Collinsville Area Recreation District was relatively easy to create in 1991. It is proving extremely difficult to kill and promises to haunt those who seek its demise.

Back in 2013, the recreation district was so unpopular that 89 percent of the voters agreed to cut its taxes. In 2015, the leaders of Maryville, Pontoon Beach and Glen Carbon called for it to be disbanded. Now Collinsville wants its parks back because the district is doing a lousy job taking care of them.

The district has a new board that is sympathetic to those who no longer wish to be part of the district. It just allowed a bunch of folks on the edges of the district to opt out.

But here’s the rub: The district has debt, so being free of the district does not free property taxpayers from their share of that debt. They will still be paying for 20 more years.

As far as Collinsville taking over most of the functions, including the parks it still owns and even the Splash City Waterpark and Arlington Golf Course, that is tied up in money and taxes. The district board won’t give other people’s taxes to Collinsville. Collinsville won’t take on the burdens without the taxes.

Excess government in Illinois? Here is one of the 6,963 layers that can go.

Collinsville and the recreation district board need to negotiate a path for the elimination of the district. We bet the other communities would be OK with giving up some back taxes in exchange for relief from future taxes.

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