Metro East voters dissolve underwater park district

Metro East voters dissolve underwater park district

Taxpayers voted overwhelmingly to dissolve Collinsville Area Recreation District – but the debt the district incurred will burden taxpayers for years.

Collinsville Area Recreation District’s finances were already rubble, but voters decided Nov. 6 to decisively dismantle the district.

Nearly 87 percent of voters supported a Nov. 6 referendum question asking whether to dissolve Collinsville Area Recreation District, or CARD. The referendum required 66 percent approval to pass.

The district included parts of Collinsville, Maryville, Glen Carbon, Pontoon Beach and Caseyville. Since 1991, CARD built a number of public parks, a water park and golf course. It also built up $21 million in debt, compelling local leaders to push for its elimination.

CARD will continue to collect property taxes for up to 25 years to pay off its debts. However, proponents of the referendum had estimated that the elimination of CARD will ultimately reduce residents’ property tax burden by 25 percent, according to the Belleville News-Democrat.

Voters tried and failed in 2015 to collect the 6,750 petition signatures required to land the referendum on the ballot.

District commissioners transferred ownership of the parks to Collinsville and Maryville, according to the Edwardsville Intelligencer.

Other Madison County communities voted to reduce waste through referendum as well: Countywide, voters merged the office of the recorder of deeds with the county clerk’s office; voters in the village of Godfrey eliminated Godfrey Township, which had shared identical borders with the village.

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