At Tonight’s Second Library Referendum Vote, Four CL Council Members on Ballot

At tonight’s Crystal Lake City Council meeting, there will be seven people allowed to vote on whether a second advisory rererendum to borrow $30.1 million shall be put on the April 4th ballot.

Four of them will be on the ballot between now and when the new City Council members are sworn in.

Only one is guaranteed to win.

Five are running for three seats on the Crystal Lake City Council.

Incumbents  are

  • Ralph Dawson
  • Haig Haleblian
  • Cameron Hubbard

Halelblian was apppointed to the post to replace Jeff Thorsen, who was appointed the the McHenry County Board pursuant to the recommendation of the District 2 Republican Precinct Committeeman.

In addition, two leaders of the opposition to the Libary Bond Referendum have filed for the City Council:

  • Sally Munn
  • Stefano Liparoto

Since there are three to be elected, only one of the incumbents is guaranteed to be re-elected.

There is a fourth member of the Council, however, who is running in the Republican Primary Election on February 28th.

Long-time Council member Ellen Brady Mueller is seeking to win the Republican nomination for Alqonquin Township Supervisor against Township Clerk Chuck Lutzow.

The library referendum vote might be described allowing a tax hike by some.

There is still another moving part in local politics which might influence the vote.

Hubbard has run for the McHenry County Board.  He applied for Ken Koehler’s seat when Koehler was appointed to the Metra Board.

Jeff Thorsen got the nod instead.

If Donna Kurtz wins her race to serve on the Crystal Lake District 155 High School Board, she will have to resign from the County Board.

The successor must be a Republican and the recommendation to County Board Chairman Jack Franks will come from local Republican Precinct Committeemen. who generally are not on the tax hiking side of the political spectrum.

= = = = =

Let’s compare the numbers voting for City Council with those who voted in the Library referendum.

Election results for the Crystal Lake City Council in 2013.

Election results of the Crystal Lake Library bond referendum.


At Tonight’s Second Library Referendum Vote, Four CL Council Members on Ballot — 18 Comments

  1. There is a major, significant problem with the new referendum question as it currently is constructed, and that is the reference to the cost of $132 to the owner of a $200,000 home.

    It is literally impossible for the estimated cost of the bonds to be issued, as proposed in the new referendum, to be anywhere comparable to the estimated cost of the bonds in the referendum that just was defeated.


    Because interest rates have skyrocketed in the last 6 months from when the original ballot question was created and the estimate of $132 was determined.

    The 10 year US Treasury rate has increased by roughly 100 basis points over the last 6 months.

    An I would guess that the spread between US Treasuries and municipals has also widened in that time further increasing the cost.

    How can the board approve this proposal knowing that the cost estimate, as stated in the ballot question itself, is inaccurate?

    If the cost was stated as $132 based on the lower interest rates that existed 6 months ago, how can that cost remain unchanged given the much higher interest rate environment seen today?

    Shouldn’t the question be modified to reflect the cost based on today’s prevailing rates?

  2. And the truth be told!

    which I’m sure won’t be… sheep, sheep, sheep….

    Best we can hope for is enough people show up to express their NO opinion again to these people and stop wasting our Tax dollars / time.

    There should be a law against this continuing beating up of the tax payer after they were just told NO!

    shame, shameful…

    they think if they brow beat us enough we will just give in…


    eyes are upon you!

  3. One possible reason they can still use $132 is the City only gave the $132 cost for year one.

    Payments for year 2, 3, 4, etc. were not provided.

    The proposed annual debt service schedule of principal, interest, and total was never provided.

    So they could still likely structure the deal so year one cost to taxpayers is $132.

    Similarly, the City never provided the total interest cost.

    It’s a joke.

    Even a used car salesman is required to have better disclosure to a buyer than property taxing districts are required by the State of Illinois to disclose to taxpayers to pass a referendum.

  4. Mark, its one of 3 answers, and I’ll let the reader decide which is worse:

    1. The Library Board did not even consult with the financial advisor/underwriter to provide an updated cost estimate to reflect changes in interest rates prior to approving the attempt at the new referendum and, as a result, left the $132 cost estimate unchanged in the revised language.

    2. Their financial advisor/underwriter DID provide the Board with a new, higher cost figure, however, the Board decided to NOT use the higher figure because that would make the referendum an even tougher sell than the last time.

    3. Their financial advisor/underwriter DID provide the Board with a new, higher cost figure, however, the Board decided to implement bond structuring tactics to keep the intial cost at the original $132 level with much higher costs pushed out until later years in order to not weaken their chances at passage.

  5. This is so disgusting!

    There are two huge problems here.

    They are separate, but intrinsically entwined.

    The first problem is that no one wants to step up and take on public office.

    I get it.

    People are very busy and have their own problems.

    Not everyone is cut out to serve as a caretaker of the peoples’ interests.

    The second problem is the handful of people that will run for anything, but they have no value system to rely on.

    They are worthless idiots that just move around the system. Voting an incumbent out doesn’t do much but make them change hats.

    They do this on their own, anyway!

  6. I’m going to disagree with Cindy.

    Most of the elected people I know in local government are usually nice people, active in many ways in their community.

    They run for office out of a desire to do good for the community.

    They have nothing but good intentions.

    That indeed is part of the problem.

    They tend to be cheerleaders, advocates for the cause.

    They think their job is to support the bureaucracy.

    They want to be on the library board because they LOVE libraries!

    They want to be on school boards because they LOVE schools.

    And that’s the problem:

    They don’t understand how our government was founded or what their role is.

    Our national government, and all other governments in this country, were based on the “checks and balances” principle.

    At the local level, this means the legislative body — the local board of trustees — is supposed to be a CHECK on the executive — the bureaucracy — not their ally.

    Indeed, that’s why most local elected officials are called “Trustee”.

    A trustee has a fiduciary obligation to represent the beneficiaries of the trust — the people, the voters, the taxpayers.

    The beneficiary of the trust is NOT the library or the school district or the village.

    In fact, I have found that almost without exception, local trustees believe two things.

    First, they believe that every other government is filled with stupid people doing stupid things.

    Second, they believe their government is “special” and needs more money and most people just don’t understand that so anything they do to raise more money, even if it involves blatant attempts to deceive the public, is acceptable because the cause is SO important.

    And that’s when they become strange.

    Nice in every other part of their life, they become defensive about their position on the board, and believe that everyone who is against them is deluded at best and an enemy at worst.

    There’s no talking to them.

  7. Then you actually don’t disagree with me, Steve.

    You just stated my point precisely in your above rant.

  8. I loved libraries.

    I was a librarian in a grammar school!

    This is NOT a library.

    This is a place to free rent videos and for indigents to hang out.

    I am NOT going to subsidize that!

  9. The initial referendum may have used bond structuring tactics.

    That is common when there is existing bond debt service so taxpayers do not have spiked payments for bonds.

    We do not know how the bond payments for the failed referendum were structured because we were only given year 1 cost to taxpayers, and that was only provided as a cost per taxpayer, and not also expressed as the overall principal, interest, and total payment by all taxpayers.

    The existing bond debt service schedule (annual principal, interest, and total payment, each year until the bonds are retired) for the City was not discussed, which is necessary because taxpayers are obligated for existing bond debt service plus the new debt service resulting from a referendum.

    Just as one is obligated for an existing mortage plus a car loan for a car they just purchased.

    It is pathetic not one appointed library board member or one elected village knows or cares enough to provide basic bond referendum information to taxpayers.

    But that is the norm in Illinois.

  10. And, a taxpayer needs to know the bond debt service schedule for each property taxing district on there property tax bill.

    And tge State bond debt service schedule.

    And the Federal bond debt service schedule.

    And the local unfunded liabilities.

    And the state unfynded liabilities.

    And the Federal unfunded liabilities.

    And the unpaid bills at the state, local, and national level.

    And the taxpayers propotionate share for each.

    That information is not readily available.

    The best place to start is Truth in Accounting and the US debt clock.

    No bond referendum will ever put all that together because it would result educating voters about the massive debt and unfunded liability problem facing taxpayers and make it far less likely a referendum would pass.

    Yet each one will say children are important.

    Yet noone educates children about the problem.

    It is rare for a teacher or parent to even mention the us debt clock to kids.

    Much easier to enjoy the party while it lasts.

  11. Could the amount of the bond issued not be tied to the advertised payment amount?

    There are many good people who refuse to run for political office because they themselves or their spouse or their father or their mother or a grand parent or great grand parent or a brother or a sister or an aunt or an uncle or a child or a grandchild or God knows who else somewhere in their lifetime did something that would be exposed during an election.

    Does not matter what that something is.

    Locally look at how they attacked Reick and Serwatka.

    They are still attacking Serwatka!

    They are still attacking Gasser.

    In the above three instances, nothing criminal was exposed.

    But, who wants their entire life and those of all relatives / friends put through a wringer?

    Wait until you see what the current liar in chief and his fellow Progressives do to Jeff Sessions and others during confirmation hearings in D.C.

    Mind you, if you are a Progressive, it does not appear to matter.

    Just look at Clinton.

  12. Never thought much about that as a motivational (or would that be unmotovational?) factor.

    The God knows who problem would be something that has been with mankind since the beginning of time.

    No one is without sin.

    Most people struggle against it and rise above it or join the slime and revel in it.

    The problem we have these days is that the slime are the ones that are trying to be the rulers.

    Steve’s point that there are a lot of people that try to rule by emotions is just an irritating reminder that the incompetent will always be with us.

    Pray against the demons.

    We win eventually.

  13. Regarding Cal’s and all the other Crystal Lake residents ignorance who have posted in this blog to the library referendum.

    1. If you want to continue to live in a community that does not promote reading, education of technology use for children, you are as dumb as the non-readers.

    2. If you think you’re property values will go up with a library that is one step away from Mayberry RDF, you are naive.

    3. If you think that commenting on this blog post and complaining about the “shady deals, mismanaged board, back door deals, then why don’t you show up at any of the meetings? Cal was/has been invited and he’s a no-show. Sally Munn’s been invited, she showed up one time and didn’t say one word, but then went to the city meetings and crabbed like a scorned woman to everyone who would tolerate her endless rants and distrust of anything that breathes. The public record of the Library Board meeting minutes show not one visitor to the published meetings in the past year. Not one of you who complain and are led like lemmings by Cal’s miss use of information, that makes Trump look like a Mensa member.

    4. The freedom of information act allows access to public information. Too bad it doesn’t hold Mr. Skinner accountable to understand 3rd grade math competency, but allowing his bad math skills to taint the information on the library cost estimates, and other data far away from his ability to read a finance sheet.

    5. The Crystal Lake City offices have newer buildings that are needed and add value and credibility to the community, so why are so many residents so naive to not having a decent library? The cost per year in your taxes is less than a dollar a day–less than that coffee you waited for at Dunkin Donuts.

    6. IF Mr. Skinner really wants to make himself useful, he will read the facts, state the facts and start to bring the community awareness up, instead of keeping the deplorables as Hillary referred to, from learning the truth and not following a person that has his own agenda. Perhaps the person that alleged to give you the finger in a certain parade, hurt your feelings.

    Frank C. Covey

  14. Mr. Skinner,

    I doubt very much that you’ll have the courage to post my previous post.

    If you do, I will think a little bit higher of you, but still don’t believe in your one-sided approach to bogus, convenient math and careless delivery of information to the public.

    Whatever chip you have on your already weak shoulders, needs some therapy to fix and I’d encourage you to get over it.

    You’re doing nothing good for the very community you live in, by holding back residents who, yes, need the money, but are not educated enough in civil matters to understand the value of library buildings and good infrastructures.

  15. Comments from new posters, for some reason, are held in abeyance until I approve them.

    It’s a function of the program I use.

  16. I think I posted all of the information presented by the Library during the campaign.

    In addition, McHenry County Blog is the only source besides the State Board of Elections for the $8,000 contribution from the architectural firm.

    I consider that unethical, but perhaps other do not.

  17. 1. The City / Library only gave voters year 1 bond payment.

    The voters should be presented with payments for all years.


    2. The City / Library did not post the estimated debt service schedule, which would look something like this.

    Year 1 – Principal – Interest – Total

    Year 2 – Principal – Interest – Total

    Year 3 – Principal – Interest – Total


    Grand Total all years – Principal – Interest – Totals


    3. The City did not post its existing bond debt service schedule.

    Yes one can scour the annual report for that.

    But the City should post it as a separate document so it can be easily referenced.

    The existing debt service schedule needs to be considered with the proposed bond debt service schedule.


    4. What is the city’s plan to fully fund the fire pension.

    Show the estimated unfunded liability payments per year until the plan would be fully funded.

    That would look something like this:

    2017 – $x

    2018 – $y

    2019 – $z



    5. Next, show the estimated current year employer payments to the fire pension fund over that same time frame (payments to the fund for services rendered this year).


    2017 –

    2018 –

    2019 –



    Next do the same for police.


    Next do the same for IMRF.


    The taxpayer is obligated for those payments.

    The taxpayer deserves a payment plan so they can figure out if the proposed library can fit in their budget.


    That’s just Crystal Lake.

    The taxpayer needs that for every single property taxing district on their property tax bill.


    That’s just local.

    The taxpayer needs that for Illinois.


    That’s just local and state.

    The taxpayer needs that for Federal.


    Show the taxpayer the payment plans.

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