Incorporation pays off for Green Park citizens

‘Call the Tune’ by Mike Anthony

By Mike Anthony

Life is good for residents of Green Park, which recently marked its 21st anniversary of incorporation.

Unlike some other municipalities in the area, Green Park’s fiscal health is excellent. That’s evidenced in the city’s audit for fiscal 2015, which ended Dec. 31, performed by Hochschild, Bloom & Co.

The audit reported that the city’s total net position — the difference between assets and liabilities — increased by $455,183, or 83.9 percent, compared to fiscal 2014’s total net position of $11,835,910.

The city’s total revenues for 2015 were $1,845,829, while expenditures totaled $1,390,646. Perhaps most remarkable is the city’s combined balance of $3,383,129 in its general and capital improvement funds, an increase of $512,424 compared to the prior year.

For the general fund alone last year, the unassigned fund balance totaled $2,346,820 — 203 percent of general fund expenditures. It’s certainly no secret that many other municipalities would love to have even half of that as a balance in their general funds.

Because of its vibrant fiscal health, Green Park is able to offer its residents a host of amenities that other municipalities simply cannot afford.

For example, Green Park offers its more than 2,600 residents free trash pickup and free recycling. In addition, the city’s street maintenance program has replaced all residential streets, and the city is now embarking on the replacement of commercial streets.

Since its incorporation in 1995, Green Park has never levied a municipal property tax and does not charge a license fee for businesses to operate in the city.

Quite frankly, much of Green Park’s success can be credited to the vision of one man — Fred Hoehn, who led the effort to incorporate the city and later served as a Ward 2 alderman.

Hoehn, assisted by his late wife, Jeanette, crunched the numbers, drew up the city’s boundaries and knocked on doors to gain the support of his neighbors. Hoehn’s hard work paid off, as 65 percent of voters approved the city’s incorporation.

For the city’s celebration of its 20th anniversary of incorporation last year, Hoehn stated the most important benefit Green Park residents have enjoyed “is a better opportunity to influence the decisions that directly affect their community.”

Given the quality of life in Green Park, residents are fortunate to have reaped the benefits of being able to control their own destiny.