I’m sitting in Crystal Lake City Council Chambers waiting for the passage of the resolution asking McHenry County government to recognize the importance of the city watershed protection ordinance and what should occupy the minds of most in the audience, but distribution of proceeds from the Hotel/Motel Tax.
Mayor Aaron Shepley had a staffer put up a spreadsheet on the overhead projector. It contained last year’s allocations and a row for this year.
$302,000 in the till, it appeared.
Then he started filling in numbers.
- $15,000 for the Independence Day fireworks which the Crystal Lake Gala used to finance after the Crystal Lake Jaycees stopped sponsoring them when a youth found an unexploded one and severely injured his hand. (The Jaycees collected donations at Veterans Acres in bags.)
- $2,000 to the Crystal Lake Babe Ruth League
- $10,000 to the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce for the 4th of July Parade.
- $6,000 for the Chamber’s Shopping and Dining Guide.
- $35,000 for Historic Downtown Crystal Lake
- $3,600 for the Music Center
- $50,000 for Youth Sports (the baseball tournament)
- $150,000 for the Raue Center for the Performing Arts
- Volleyball – zero
- McHenry County Convention Bureau – zero at Shepley’s guidance, suggesting the money could be found elsewhere in the city budget
- $25,000 for Lakeside Center with Councilwoman Ellen Brady Mueller pointing out whatever was allocated was in addition to $8,000 in donated police services
- $2,500 for the Crystal Lake Rowing Club
The total awarded was $299,100.
Having received $150,000 the Raue Center supports left satisfied, even though they didn’t get the $44,000 they sought for repairs to the old movie theater.
The money collected from the Hotel/Motel Tax could be spent for any purpose.