DECATUR – Major capital expenditures for the Decatur Park District in the next few years include equipment replacement, paving costs and facility maintenance.

The district's board of commissioners reviewed capital spending proposals Wednesday, though a formal vote on them remains for a future meeting.

Along with the capital plan comes consideration of the district's annual bond sales, which take place in February. The staff proposal would have the district sell $8.5 million in alternate revenue and general obligation bonds, said Chief Financial Officer Rodney Buhr.

Some of that funding would pay for projects, such as the Nelson Park amphitheater, for which the district would later receive reimbursement through grants and other funding sources. The district is slated to receive $6.3 million from various grants, while its share of those projects comes to roughly $1.06 million.

About $1.1 million would also be used to pay the district's debts.

Within the capital projects, about $600,000 would be set aside to pay for equipment replacement throughout the district. Buhr said the district maintains roughly 700 pieces of equipment, including vans, varying types of mowers, snow removal machines and other large vehicles.

“So much of what we do is to take care of what we have,” he said.

The district will also begin upgrades to security systems throughout the park system, a revamp of its website and roughly $35,000 worth of materials for improvements to inner-city parks. Buhr said those would include the removal of unsightly concrete and amenities that are no longer used, such as tetherball poles.

Other park improvements include a new irrigation system at Rotary Park, repairs to the restroom at Sinawik Park, resealing of a tennis court in Cresthaven Park and road work in Fairview Park.

Roughly $2.9 million would be designated for unspecified future projects, such as aspects of the ongoing Nelson Park lakefront development.

In other business, the board approved its 2015 tax levy, as well as a measure to cap the tax rate next year.

The board voted to levy $9,233,006, which would lead to a tax rate of $1.12 per $100 of equalized assessed valuation. The numbers are based on an estimate that property values would decline 0.5 percent next year.

Because the board voted to limit how much its tax rate could increase, the district would bring it less tax money if property values decline more than that.

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Regional Editor

Regional editor for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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