Derrick Cox toasts volunteers who gathered nearly 7,000 signatures to get dissolution vote on ballot.
A chief organizer in the effort to dissolve the financially distressed Collinsville Area Recreation District (CARD) in next Tuesday's election is calling on voters not to "sit this one out."
"It's been a long road, and it was a big task," said Derrick Keith Cox, a Collinsville Township trustee, wo helped coordinate the collection of nearly 7,000 signatures to get the referendum on the ballot.
Getting one in four voters in the district to support the measure required a ground game of many volunteers and the endorsement of government officials in the communities serviced by CARD - Collinsville, Maryville, Glen Carbon, Pontoon Beach and Collinsville Township, according to Cox.
"We want our tax money spent better, we want better parks... and lower taxes," Cox said in a toast to volunteers who helped in the petition drive.
Cox said the next big challenge is getting a required super majority vote - or 66 percent - to make it official.
Supporters say that dissolving the district is in CARD taxpayers’ best interest because, while they still will be on the hook for paying off an accumulated debt of $23 million, their tax liability will be reduced because under dissolution they would not pay for CARD operations in addition to the debt.
Cox has said the average homeowner will save approximately half the amount they have historically paid on their property tax bill to CARD. The remaining amount will be applied to paying off the long term debt owed by CARD.
In addition, municipalities will be eligible for state grant money to help take care of the parks and assets they now own, he said.
Cox said he was confident in voter's awareness of the upcoming vote, which he credits to the efforts of more than 70 volunteers who knocked on approximately 10,000 doors. He said he hopes voters are equally aware of its importance.
"I hope they understand that there is not a single argument to keep CARD," Cox said.