Archive for October, 2018

Park District Earns Financial, Distinguished Budget Awards

Friday, October 26th, 2018

The Fox Valley Park District has received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for its 2017 comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR). The certificate of achievement is the highest form of recognition in government accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government agency and its management team. This is the 20th consecutive time FVPD has achieved the award.

The CAFR has been judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program, which includes demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the CAFR.

The District has also received the GFOA Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for its 2017 budget. This reflects the commitment of the governing body and staff to meeting the highest principles of government budgeting. To receive the award, the entity had to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation. This is the eighth time Fox Valley Park District has garnered the award.

The award letters recognize Diana Erickson, senior director of Finance & Administration, as the individual primarily responsible for having achieved the awards.

Chuck Anderson, president of the Fox Valley Board of Commissioners, said the award represents the highest attention to detail and a commitment to transparency.

“This recognition of the district’s financial management confirms the level of excellence that Fox Valley Park District maintains. Diana and her staff are there to lead and assist throughout a rigorous budget and audit process. We thank them for their efforts.”

There are more than 1,600 participants in the Budget Awards Program. The most recent Budget Award recipients, along with their corresponding budget documents, are posted quarterly on the GFOA’s website.

The Fox Valley Park District is a dynamic and growing park district that serves a diverse population of more than 230,000 people. Recognized as an Illinois Distinguished Agency, Fox Valley holds the nation’s highest honor as the 2009 National Gold Medal Award winner for excellence in park and recreation management. Serving the communities of Aurora, Montgomery and North Aurora, the District maintains 168 parks and 48 miles of inter-connected regional trails amid 2,500 acres of parkland. Connected by the Fox River, our communities are tied together by the District’s commitment to promote vibrant, healthy lifestyles through fun and safe recreation opportunities that are environmentally and fiscally responsible. The Fox Valley Park District … Where Fun Begins!

Gov. Rauner Announces $1.5M in Recreational Trails Program Grants

Monday, October 22nd, 2018

City of Aurora to receive $140,000

Gov. Bruce Rauner last week announced nearly $1.6 million dollars has been awarded for recreational trail development projects in 11 Illinois communities, helping them meet the growing demand for improved trails and outdoor recreation facilities.

“These projects will help provide safe places for children and families, hikers, bike riders and horseback riders to enjoy the outdoors,” Rauner said.

Funding for the grants is supported by the federal government’s Recreational Trails Program (RTP), which provides up to 80 percent reimbursement to local grant recipients for the cost of the trail projects.  Grant recipients provide the balance of the funding for the projects.

The RTP grant program in Illinois is administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT).

“We are pleased to partner with the local government sponsors of these trail construction, improvement, and maintenance projects that will benefit trail users in communities throughout the state,” said IDNR Director Wayne Rosenthal.

“These projects are going to add to the state’s impressive collection of trails and strengthen multimodal connections in several of our great communities,” said IDOT Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. “Not only will they improve transportation, but they will also enhance the quality of life for residents and families.”
Grants may be awarded for the acquisition of land from willing sellers, trail construction and rehabilitation, purchase of equipment for trail development and maintenance, restoration of areas damaged by unauthorized trail use, construction of trail-related support facilities (such as parking and restrooms), and educational programs.

The projects were recommended for funding by the Illinois Greenways and Trails Council, composed of representatives of statewide motorized and nonmotorized trail user organizations, statewide agency organizations, organizations involved in greenways and trails, and metro-area greenways and trails coalitions.

The City of Aurora will receive $140,000 for replacement of a crumbling concrete staircase which connects the south end of the East Branch of the Fox River Trail with New York Street in downtown Aurora. The Fox River Trail extends nearly 60 miles from Oswego north to near the Wisconsin border. The city will install a metal stairway to replace the concrete steps.

Ill. House Subcommittees Hold Joint Hearing on Gaming Issues

Monday, October 22nd, 2018

One of the issues discussed by witnesses and panelists was the possibility of legalized sports betting in Illinois. This is a new industry for which the door was opened earlier in 2018 by a U.S. Supreme Court decision. Prior to the May 2018 decision in “Murphy v. NCAA,” most states were forbidden by federal law from allowing persons and businesses to open and operate bookmaking activities when the activities being bet on were sports contests and activities.

Until this year, people who wanted to place legal bets on single teams and games had to go to Nevada, which was exempted from the federal prohibition. The “Murphy” decision, however, struck down this ban and implicitly allowed the other 49 states to set up regulated sports-betting parlors and phone apps. Several states, such as New Jersey, responded to the Supreme Court decision by taking immediate action to legalize sports betting within their state lines. Federal law continues to prohibit sports bets that cross state lines, and an Illinois resident cannot legally place a sports bet in New Jersey. New Jersey sports betting operators are required, by law, to ask a prospective bettor to share his or her phone’s geo-location, and if the phone sends a “beep” that shows it is out of state the operator is not legally allowed to take the bet. Sports betting, if it is to be done legally within Illinois, will require the General Assembly to enact an Illinois sports betting law.

The Illinois House held a joint-panel hearing this week to examine questions relating to Illinois gaming in general, including what an Illinois sports betting law could look like. One outline discussed by witnesses before the hearing was the creation of a limited number of licenses for sports-betting host sites. For reasons of security and regulatory consistency, these licenses could be awarded to owners of existing large-scale gaming locations and destinations, such as casino riverboats and horse racetracks. The sports betting license-holders could then contract with Internet firms to create licensed sports-betting phone apps for legal wagering on sports contests from a customer’s smartphone.

Many concerns were raised at the Illinois House hearing, which was held on Wednesday, Oct. 17. Witnesses representing Illinois major-league sports and associations of major-league athletes expressed concerns about the integrity of some of America’s most-widely-admired sports, and the personal safety and privacy of the athletes who play them. Advocates voiced concerns about gambling addiction and underage gaming. The debate is expected to continue.

Ill. Unemployment Rate Matches Record Low

Monday, October 22nd, 2018

The 4.1% unemployment figure reported by the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) matches the lowest number ever posted for this figure, a widely-cited index of economic health and activity in Illinois. Preliminary data, which is subject to revision as more numbers come in, indicates that nonfarm payroll total employment increased in the Land of Lincoln by 2,800 jobs in September as opposed to August 2018. The same figure, when counted on a year-to-year basis (September 2017 to September 2018) showed a net gain of more than 50,000 nonfarm payroll jobs.

September 2018 job creation was especially strong in education, construction, and manufacturing. The Illinois manufacturing economy created an estimated 2,300 net new jobs in September 2018 alone, and created 14,600 new factory jobs over the past 12 months. It should be noted, however, that the Illinois manufacturing sector is not as dominant as it was in February 1999, the last time our State’s unemployment rate was 4.1%. Illinois’ overall job universe has adjusted over the past two decades. In line with overall worldwide trends towards automation, many Illinois jobs have moved from factories to offices and service-related employment opportunities.

Illinois’ September 2018 unemployment is slightly higher (0.4%) than the 3.7% national unemployment rate for the same month. The nationwide trend is towards the 4.0% level that economists refer to as “full employment.”

Get the Facts: Interactive Kiosks in Downtown Aurora

Monday, October 22nd, 2018

Nov. 3: Homeownership Expo at Prisco Community Center

Monday, October 22nd, 2018