Looking west on Route 14, you can see the brand new TIF-financed monument in front of Fifth Third Bank and the one near Pizza Hut across the street. They cost $16,000 each and mark the edge of the Virginia Street Tax Increment Financing District. Note the decorative "brick work" around the monument. It can be seen at intersections as well.
The first one I saw was near Pizza Hut.
Get close enough to the new $16,000 monuments and you can see this symbol of the City of Crystal Lake.
What was it?
It looked like it belonged in a cemetery.
Friday, I learned city officials actually call them “monuments.”
On the monuments is the Crystal Lake City emblem or symbol: a “CL” with sailboat like sails filling in the “C” and the “L.”
So where does the money come from?
Let me quote the Chicago Sun-Times from August 16, 2009:
“TIFs re-direct taxes away from schools, parks and other local government agencies bankrolled by property taxes. Property taxes within a TIF district are frozen at existing levels for 23 years.”
And how much will it cost residents of McHenry County (because TIF districts export what’s spend to taxpayer in all overlapping tax districts and Crystal Lake, of course, is in McHenry County, the Conservation District, the Crystal Lake Park District, School Districts 155 and 47, etc.).
So, what’s the cost?
Mayor Aaron Shepley didn’t know when I asked Friday, but pointed me to someone in the City Engineering Department who would.
= = = = = =
What I heard over the phone was $60,000. The real cost was $16,091, City Finance Director Mark Nannini called something after 10 AM to tell me. Guess I misunderstood an answer to my question of “$16,000.”
I have revised the article and headline to reflect that cost.
= = = = =
The answer (drum roll) is
$16,000 for each one.
There are four.
So, when a local tax districts tells you it can’t afford something that costs $64,000, remember the found monuments on Route 14.
That’s where the money went.
At least the city council members did not insist that their names be placed on the monuments.
The petitions for re-election are being circulated for Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Shepley and Council members Cathy Ferguson, Ellen Brady Mueller and Brett Hopkins.
The festivities were problem in front of the building you see next to the play area.
And, just in time for the campaign, there is an election kick-off party that required the of spending well over $10 million. $14.37 million, according to the Northwest Herald.
As pointed out in 2005, there was a cheaper way, at least for Crystal Lake area residents.
There was no need for a Tax Increment Financing District to pay for turning Vulcan Lakes into Three Oaks Recreation Area.
Indeed the announcement that a TIF would be formed to finance the project was what stimulated me to start McHenry County Blog. $115 million would be available, said the city’s consultant. Bill Cellini’s group won the contract from the council to do the development, but backed away from it after his name coming up in the Tony Rezko trial.
TIFs are just a way to force everyone (yes, everyone in any overlapping tax district, and because of McHenry County government and the McHenry County Conservation District, that means all county resident) not living in the TIF to pay for it.
It’s a tax increase that the city council voted on all of us.
Oh, wait. That isn’t the way it’s being financed.
With the recession and the decimation of the commercial strip on the Vulcan Lake side of Route 14, the city couldn’t sell bonds to pay for the enormous cost of TORA.
Tall street lights line the roads. This one runs to the parking lot area from Main Street.
MCCD undoubtedly would not have spent, how much, hundreds of thousands of dollars on fancy street lights for a facility that closes at sunset.
That way was to convince the McHenry County Conservation District to take it over.
Had the council done so, our area would have finally gotten back some of the tens of millions of our tax dollars that has been redistributed north, northwest and west, like a kid slinging a bucket of water. The pockets of those in District 47 have ended up as empty as the bucket, another victim of Illinois’ having way too many local governmental units.
But control of the facility was the primary goal of city officials.
And maybe their names on a plaque. The edifice complex in action.
Bragging rights they have achieved include
having been instrumental in constructing the facility and
like Barack Obama, forcing the payment for it on their grandchildren.
Not to mention the ability to feature on their campaign literature what a great accomplishment opening the facility has been.
I couldn’t get close enough to take photos of the council members taking credit for the project without paying $5 for parking.
Not worth the price, so I’ll just run photos of the six council members who voted to raise the city sales tax 75%. There won’t be the same backdrop, but credit will go where it is due.
Mayor Aaron Shepley
Councilman Ralph Dawson
Councilwoman Cathy Ferguson
Former Councilman Dave Goss
Councilman Brett Hopkins
Councilwoman Ellen Brady Mueller
Shepley, Ferguson, Hopkins and Brady Mueller are up for election next spring. Expect to see TORA on their campaign literature…assuming they even have an opponent requiring them to print any.
Building whose purchase by Grafton Township could be authorized by a vote of those attending the Annual Town Meeting on April 13th at the Huntley High School.
At last Thursday night’s meeting of the Grafton Township Board, Township Administrator Pam Fender presented a real estate listing for the old R & R Metal Craft Building at 11012 N. Blakley Street in Huntley. (Near the library and village hall, for those of you not from Huntley.)
When I asked her later if anyone had encouraged her to look for potential office space, she told me it was her idea.
Last November 9th it was listed for $1.15 million. Fender told me it could be re-modeled for township use for about a half a million dollars.
Grafton Township Hall on which a November referendum is scheduled.
So, something over $ 2 million, plus any interest on borrowed money.
And today, wrapping up the suit successfully filed to stop the $5 million (including interest) building of a new township hall on Haligus Road, the township’s attorney was very concerned that Judge Michael Caldwell include a line in the permanent injunction would allow the Township to pursue the issue of a new building at the forthcoming meeting of Township Electors on April 13.
The township trustees apparently are not willing to let the voters decide at the fall election whether they shall have new offices.
They want to allow only those who show up at the Annual Town Meeting to make the decision.
Grafton Township Trustees Gerry McMahon, Betty Zirk, Rob LaPorta and Barb Murphy at last Thursday's township meeting.
So, expect a vote to buy a building to serve as a new township hall a month from now at the Huntley High School Auditorium. Whether it will be the Blakley Street building or another one remains to be seen.
A floor plan of the building can be found below:
Main floor layout of the empty building Township Administrator Pam Fender found.