On August 18, 2020, Moody's Investors Service affirmed an Aaa rating on Glencoe Park District’s outstanding general obligation unlimited tax debt (GOULT).
“Our excellent credit rating is the result of sound financial management and our commitment to being the most fiscally responsible Park District for current and future generations,” stated Lisa Sheppard, Executive Director. "I would like to thank Finance Director Carol Mensinger for her outstanding financial leadership that helped us reach our goals, especially during the COVID pandemic.”
While the Park District has been able to transfer $7.3 million from fund balance reserves in the past seven years (at no additional debt cost to the taxpayers), the ability to continue to fund all projects this way, especially amidst the COVID pandemic, may not be likely in the coming years. Currently, there are over $6 million in projects that will need to be funded over the next 3-5 years, including necessary improvements to Lakefront Park/Glencoe Beach, Watts Center, park infrastructure, and as well as renovations to the Park Maintenance Building, in order to maintain continuity in service levels.
In the last seven years, the Park District has undertaken a variety of capital projects, including building sevennew playgrounds, improvements to the Takiff Center, the addition of Glencoe Fitness, enhancements to Kalk Park, and the restoration of the historic Halfway House at Glencoe Beach, at no additional debt to taxpayers. In 2015, the Park District refunded the 2006 Takiff Center debt, resulting in a savings of over $770,000 in interest costs. In 2019, the Park District received $1,567,000 in federal and state grants, as well as private donations, to build Connect Glencoe. The Park District also applied for a PARC grant for improvements to the Watts Center, a $2.5 million grant for a $4 million project. “Refunding outstanding bonds, applying for grants, and soliciting donations gives us the resources to stretch our tax dollars further and make necessary improvements,” said Carol Mensinger, Director of Finance.
In its’ review, Moody’s noted that the Park District benefits from a strong financial position that will help it to offset revenue losses from pandemic-related program cancellations. “While the District halted or limited recreation activities earlier in the year in response to the coronavirus, it has since returned to almost full operations and was able to offset some losses through expenditure reductions,” said the report.