The Crystal Lake City Council will be asked to put a November advisory referendum on the ballot at Tuesday night’s meeting.
Careful readers will remember that the Crystal Lake Library have been holding meetings.
The June meeting was billed as
“What about the money?”
Crystal Lake is unlike most other libraries in McHenry County.
It is not a separate tax district governed by elected trustees.
It is part of Crystal Lake City government.
Because Crystal Lake is more than 25,000 people, it is a “Home Rule” unit.
That means, the City Council could approve borrowing enough money to build a library or an addition without asking voter approval.
But, in this day of a middling economy and McHenry County’s being the 29th highest taxed county in the United States (out of more than 3,000 counties), City Council members probably are not willing to go out on a limb to put taxpayers in debt.
Especially, with three council members–Ralph Dawson, Brett Hopkins and Cameron Hubbard–on the ballot next April.
In any event, Library backers are asking an advisory referendum be put on the ballot during the largest voter turnout election of the cycle.
If it passes, one might imagine that next spring the Council will be asked to put a binding referendum on the ballot.
There are two elections next spring.
The first will be the Republican Primary Election for township office.
To the best of my knowledge, only Algonquin Township Republican Precinct Committeemen have voted to hold such a primary.
However, four years ago, all four townships overlaying parts of Crystal Lake–Algonquin, Dorr, Grafton and Nunda–held primary elections.
Here is what the council members will be reading:
The Crystal Lake Public Library Board of Trustees and Executive Director conducted four community engagement sessions to discuss their proposal for a possible library expansion.
The Crystal Lake Public Library is a semi-autonomous municipal corporation organized under the Local Library Act [75 ILCS 5/1-1 et seq.] and is governed by a Board of Library Trustees, appointed by the City of Crystal Lake Mayor with City Council approval. Day-to-d(‘ly operations are managed by an Executive Director hired by the Library Board of Trustees.
The Crystal Lake Library Board of Trustees does not have the ability to issue debt. Any library organized under the Local Library Act can only issue bonds with the permission of corporate authorities of the City.
Based on the outcome of the community engagement sessions, at their June 29, 2016 meeting, the Crystal Lake Library Board voted unanimously to recommend to the City Council that a new 75,000 square foot Library be built at the current location with the following wording for the Advisory Referendum ballot question:
Representatives from the Crystal Lake Library will be in attendance at the July 19th City Qouncil meeting to formally request that the City Council adopt an ordinance authorizing the Crystal Lake Public Library expansion advisory question to be placed on the November 8, 2016.
City staff contacted PMA Securities, the City’s financial advisor, to dete1mine the impact of a bond if an advisory referendum is successful.
The attached information includes various debt scenarios and their impact to individual property owners. The presentation has a summary of each option by amount and term.
The summary includes the estimated debt service, estimated tax rate increase, and estimated payment increase for homes valued at $100,000, $200,000 and $300,000.
The above analysis is only for the capital improvement portion of the proposed library expansion.
A larger library facility will require additional operating costs.
In 2014, the Library contracted with Ehlers and Associates to conduct a financial analysis.
The attached Ehlers financial analysis addresses approximately $122,510 in additional operating costs.
Because the Crystal Lake Library is a component unit of the City of Crystal Lake, the Library carmot issue debt on its own. Instead, any bond issuance would need to be approved by the City Council.
Below are the next steps assuming that an advisory referendum question would be placed on the November 8, 2016 ballot.
An advisory referendum, which is allowed under the State Election Code, is strictly advisory and
has no legal effect if adopted or rejected.
= = = = =
Four years ago, the cost was said to be about $21 million. The cost is estimated to be $132 per year for a $200,000 home.
The median sales price for homes in Crystal Lake for Apr 14 to Jul 13 was $206,750 based on 204 home sales.