CL Library Board President’s Remarks to Chamber Town Hall

The introductory comments of Crystal Lake Library Board President Terri Reece to the Town Hall Meeting of local government officials last Thursday morning were some comprehensive, I asked if she would send me a copy that could be posted.

Below are her notes for the event:

CL Chamber Town Hall – September 24, 2015

Toni Reece

Terri Reece

The Crystal Lake Public Library is a municipal library organized under the Illinois Local Library Act. As a municipal library, our service area is defined as the City limits of Crystal Lake. This does not mean a Crystal Lake mailing address, nor are our service boundaries the same as either school district or the CL Park District.

How our organization is structured

9 Board members, who are appointed by the city council, for 3 year terms.

The Library Board is a governing board that

  • sets policy,
  • establishes the budget, and
  • plans for the library’s future services to our community

Library Director – Kathryn Martens
81 Staff – 27 full-time, 54 part-time
95 Volunteers

Throughout the year the budget is reviewed several times

Take into account

  • Previous years’ actual numbers
  • The needs as identified by the Library’s Strategic Plan with input from each department

Income for operating and capital expenditures primarily comes from property taxes – 96%
Tax Income has just returned to pre-recession levels

What CL citizens get for their tax investment

Access to:

  • Books – electronic (ebooks, eaudio), books on CD and playaways, for all ages
  • CD’s – From classical to rock, for all ages
  • DVD’s and Blueray’s – popular movies and television shows, for all ages
  • Magazines and Newspapers – Flipster
  • Video Games, STEM Kits, Puzzles and Business Equipment
  • Programs – Summer and Winter Reading Programs, Technology Classes, STEM Classes, Storytimes, First Saturday Program for children with Special Needs, College Prep Classes, Snow Day Crafts and Programming, Anime Club, Author Talks, Movies, Book Groups, Preschool Fair and much more.
  • Use of computers and Wi-Fi
  • Over 30 databases through the Library website including Consumer Reports and
  • Help with research – 70,000 research questions answered last year
  • 5,128 items were delivered to adult living communities and Homebound patrons

Specifically for the business community

  • Business Equipment to check out – laptop, projector, screen, camcorder and more
  • Access to training – sign up for classes or the library will work with you to get the training you need – i.e. Georgio’s [Excel]

Think of the library as a place to work independently, a place to meet with colleagues or clients in our small study room and use the computers and software

If you have a business in the CL city limits, even if you don’t live within you’re eligible for a card

Indirectly the library brings people out in the community

  •  925 people including people from other communities per day

Chances are they will shop, eat and enjoy local attractions and entertainment

Are libraries going away?

Let me ask you a few questions

  • Do you really envision our community without a public library?
  • There were 311,000 visits to CLPL last year. Is there another city amenity that is used more?
  • Not going away but , as it has done from the beginning, it is changing and evolving to meet its patrons needs

“Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation.” Walter Cronkite

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Articles about the Thursday morning Town Hall Meeting with local governmental officials:


CL Library Board President’s Remarks to Chamber Town Hall — 8 Comments

  1. Let me answer your query’s Reece.

    Any average Starbucks gets 250,000 visits per year (Business Insider), has free wifi and actually contributes to filling the Gov. trough.

    Next question.

  2. 27 full time employees, 54 part timers, and an army of volunteers? Holy cow, I had no idea that the problem was so bad.

  3. D J – be very careful here. The bureaucrat’s answer to this is free, or drastically reduced, gourmet coffee at the library.

    This way they can serve more people to justify their positions and rationale to build new a palatial building.

    Doesn’t everyone deserve “free” quality coffee?

    This is with no concern for the current coffee shops in the area who are providing a service the citizens are willing to pay for, but don’t actually have to pay for if they don’t consume the product, unlike the library of course.

  4. The Crystal Lake Public Library does carry Illinois Pension Scam by Bill Zettler.

    If you are concerned about state and local tax increases of any type (property, sales, income), then you need to be concerned about public sector pensions and the best way to educate yourself about Illinois pensions is to read Illinois Pension Scam.


    The Crystal Lake Public Library is not a standalone taxing district, rather, it’s a component unit of the Village of Crystal Lake.

    As such, employees in the Crystal Lake Public Library are in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) pension system.

    Employees in the IMRF pension system contribute 4% or 4.5% or so to IMRF and 6.2% to Social Security, and thus receive an IMRF pension and Social Security upon retirement.

    About 2,963 employers participate in the IMRF pension system.

    The employer contribution to IMRF varies by employer and by year as explained by the following IMRF documents.

    For example the average employer rate for the regular plan was 12.68% in 2013 and 12.58% in 2014.

    For a more specific example the Crystal Lake employer contribution rate for calendar year 2011 to IMRF was 12.29% of annual covered payroll, and the employer annual required contribution rate for calendar year 2011 was 12.75%, which is a little confusing.

    More on the employer contribution to IMRF.

    IMRF publishes various documents for each of the 2,963 employers every year which indicates the employer contribution for that year.

    Those documents are rarely posted by employers on their website in an easy to find location, are sometimes posted in employer board minutes or agendas or packets, and are not posted on the IMRF website for public viewing, but are available via submitting a FOIA request to IMRF or the employer.

    A few sample documents containing the employer contribution rate are “Employer Retirement Reserve Statement” and “Final Notice of Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund Contribution Rate for Calendar Year 2013.”

    Any reference to “pension” on property tax bills refers to the IMRF pension system.

    IMRF is one of 19 pension systems in the Illinois Pension Code.


    The 19 pensions systems in the Illinois Pension Code are:

    Chicago Fire
    Chicago Municipal (MEABF)
    Chicago Laborers (LABF)
    Chicago Police

    Chicago Parks
    Chicago Teacher Pension Fund (CTPF)

    Metropolitan Water (MWRDRF)

    Cook County Employees
    Cook County Forest Preserve

    Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)
    Regional Transit Authority (RTA includes Metra train & PACE bus)

    General Assembly Retirement System (GARS)
    Judges Retirement System (JRS)
    State Employees Retirement System (SERS)
    State University Retirement System (SURS)
    Teachers Retirement System of Illinois (TRS)

    Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund

    Downstate Police (“Downstate” means outside Chicago)
    Downstate Fire


    Bottom line, the employer contributes much more than the employee to the IMRF pension fund.

  5. Meanwhile, in news you never hear about.

    The Treasury Dept. is busy implementing that new law that no one heard about, that allows pension cuts in troubled multi-employer’once guaranteed’ pension plans.

    Up to 10 million pensioners can expect cuts up to 65%, like those unfortunate to be in the Central States Pension Fund.

    Amazing how quick Gov. acts when it doesn’t affect their pockets.

    Maybe send a memo to Sprinfield about this.

    And who do you suppose this new law exempts?


  6. The referenced multiemployer pension funds are private sector pension plans, mainly in blue collar jobs such as construction where employees move from one employer to another frequently.

    This allows the employee to stay in one pension fund.

    Defined benefit retirement plans of all sorts are in trouble, be it multiemployer pension plans, Social Security, and most of the public sector pension plans in Illinois.

    The public sector pension funds in Illinois have more generous pensions and benefits than the private sector multiemployer plans.

    It’s better to have cuts to a pension, than for the pension to completely run out of money.

    A few main differences between those private sector multiemployer plans and the public sector plans in Illinois are:

    1) The pension sentence in the state constitution only applies to public sector pensions.

    2) Thus private sector salary and pension benefit and retiree healthcare benefit hikes have generally been greater in the Illinois public secator than private sector.

    3) The benefit hikes generally include allowing public sector workers to retiree earlier with a bigger pension than the private sector.

    There’s more but that’s an overview.

  7. Great.

    Looking forward to Springfield chopping their bankrupt pensions recipients by 65%.

    ‘Better to have cuts…than…completely run out of money’.

  8. None of the public sector pensions in Illinois are bankrupt.

    There is no provision for bankruptcy of a public sector pension fund in Illinois.

    There is a provision in Illinois for unlimited tax hikes to fund pensions…that’s the sentence in that was added to the Illinois State Constitution on December 15, 1970.

    “Membership in any pension or retirement system of the State, any unit of local government or school district, or any agency or instrumentality thereof, shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired.”

    No one is proposing reducing Illinois public sector pensions by 65%.

    What percentage of private sector multiemployer pensions are being proposed to be cut by 65%.

    Where are the specifics on any 65% cut.

    There maybe a few pension funds that are 35% funded.

    In fact some of the state public sector pensions are less than 40% funded.

    But no one is suggesting cutting them 65%.

    Clawing back some legislative benefit hikes that occurred to underfunded pensions, yes.

    Clawing back some pensions that had excessive salary hikes that were not properly funded, sure.

    The 65% is thought provoking though.

    Cut a $75,000 pension by 65% would result in an approximate $26,250 pension.

    That would be a rough average and it may even be low for a Chicago area teacher retiring after a 35 year career in 2015 around age 55 who took their college classes to get the lane increases and received their step increases simply by working another year.

    Maximum Social Security for someone retiring at age 66 is $31,956.

    The average person contributing to Social Security would have contributed more than the average teacher or administrator contributing to the TRS pension fund, because in the majority of school districts in Illinois, the teachers contribute little to nothing to their pension fund, in a collective bargaining scheme known as board paid trs, which generally hikes gross pay.

    Back to the library and village, their IMRF pension fund is fairly well funded, although not 100% funded, thanks in large part to the generous employer contribution, and of course taxpayers fund the employer contribution.

    Any shortfall in actuarial assumptions is simply dumped on the employer contribution.

    Unless changed, the employer bears all the risk, the employee bears no risk.

    Which contrasts sharply with the private sector defined contribution 401k.

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