Forest Preserve District Acts to Reduce Costs

At its Tuesday, July 1 meeting, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County’s Board of Commissioners approved a voluntary early retirement incentive program for eligible employees through the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.

“The ERI program is part of a bigger plan to overhaul District operations,” said Forest Preserve District President D. “Dewey” Pierotti Jr. “It is one tool that would help us change our operational structure and enable the District to save money in the process.”

Earlier this year, the District’s board charged its new executive director, Arnie Biondo, with examining operations and making cost-saving recommendations.

“Based on IMRF’s experience with executing similar plans, we anticipate that about 40 percent of our 65 eligible employees may take advantage of the program,” said Biondo. “Because we’d eliminate or restructure many of those positions, we believe that we could recoup our costs within four to five years and reduce operating expenses by about $1 million annually after that.”

Beginning Aug. 31, qualifying employees who are at least 50 years old and have at least 20 years of service credit with IMRF would be able to purchase up to five years of additional credit before retiring. The employee and the Forest Preserve District would both need to contribute to the plan, but instead of property tax dollars, the District’s contributions will be financed through earned interest or other options.

The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County owns and manages 25,000 acres of prairies, woodlands and wetlands. Each year its 60 forest preserves, 145 miles of trails, five education centers and scores of programs welcome over 4 million visitors. For information, call 630-933-7200 or visit dupageforest.org, where you can also link to the District’s e-newsletter, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube pages.

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