Crystal Lake Library and Real Estate Company

The Crystal Lake Public Library has now purchased six pieces of property near the existing library so they would have room for the new library the public keeps turning down.

They bought one piece in January 2017 – AFTER they lost the referendum.

Election results of the Crystal Lake Library bond referendum.

And their budget for the current fiscal year indicates they plan to buy another property.

So, what have they bought and how savvy have they been? Here are the facts about the properties they purchased:

The building at 91 W. Crystal Lake Avenue is a four flat, meaning the Library Board paid $150,000 per unit.

That same year, condos in Crystal Lake were selling for as little as $67,000.

Condos are selling right now for about $55 per square foot.

Here are the sale prices for some other homes near the library:

  • 46 S McHenry Ave. sold last September for $125,000. That’s $79 per square foot.
  • 34 S McHenry Ave. sold in September 2014 for $176,000. That’s $110 per square foot.
  • 46 S Williams St. sold for $70,000 in July 2015. That’s $61 per square foot.

To put the purchases into another perspective, the Library’s annual budget is about $5.5 million.


Crystal Lake Library and Real Estate Company — 64 Comments

  1. Plus, Landscaping and driveway aren’t all done yet and allot of my labor isn’t in that $135 figure.

  2. We DON’T need a library. Especially one run by crooks!

    They rendered themsleves useless when the got rid of books and embraced videos.

    Now they are into buying up real estate.

    The whole scam is a terrible joke at our expense.

  3. Nob totally missed Cal’s point here.

    Nob seems to think it great to be taken.

    The average price in Illinois is $125 and he thinks it’s a plus for him to squander money.

    Must be a government worker to afford that kind of decadence.

    In times such as these it is quite the goof that would gloat about it.

    Good luck with that huge tax bill coming up.

  4. Of course we do not need libraries! Neither do we need schools. Who said we need education? Let churches take care of education, starting with sex education. Enjoy the Monday morning compassionate conservative nonsense folks. 2018, are you here yet? Tic tock, tic tock…

  5. Dear Angel:

    Let us agree that there is some legitimate public purpose in having libraries.

    It’s reasonable to ask how much they should spend and if they are spending the public’s money wisely.

    Are you really supporting the Library Board’s purchase of these properties, and at these prices, and including at least one purchase after they lost the referendum?

  6. Good morning Angel R. Llavona.

    Such hate and cynicism so early in the day.

    Libraries are going the way of buggy whips, especially facilities not in a research or university setting.

    A library attempting to become the local “Blockbuster” is a failing strategy.

    Your premise, eliminating the education system, is entertaining.

    We look forward to the 2018 elections where there the Democrat Party will set new records in election losses.

  7. Evidently, referendums and public opinion mean nothing.

    How sad that those footing the bills are being completely ignored.

  8. Of course my compassionate conservative friends salivate with the dream of eliminating public education and anything related with expanding public knowledge and awareness about issues. Our founding fathers (yes, those whose memories my compassionate conservative friends love to refer to) had personal libraries and frequently cited in their research conducting to the drafting of the constitution to those books. Public libraries acknowledge the fact that education and research should be available to the people, not just the privileged few. Wait a minute! This is compassionate Mchenry county, where the only thing that matters is the value of my house…tic tock, tic tock…

  9. Angel R. Llavona

    Please set your clock ahead by 60 years.

    It must be stuck in the mid 20th century …tic tock, tic tock…

  10. McHenry county compassionate conservatives love the phrase “Freedom is not free”. What about education?

    Please run and buy the bumper sticker “Education is not free.” and proudly display it.

    Proceeds will go to public schools and the education of American kids.

    And do not forget to thank a teacher.

    2018, please don’t delay…tic tock, tic tock…

  11. Perfect example of how fiscal irresponsibility is excused and justified.

    Thanks, Angel.

  12. It is a useful exercise to demand that everyone advocating a position involving the legal right to confiscate OPM (other people’s money) describe a MAXIMUM amount that should be confiscated, and the rationale behind that maximum.

  13. “Of course my compassionate conservative friends salivate with the dream of eliminating public education and anything related with expanding public knowledge and awareness about issues”

    The “awareness about issues” and “education” children receive by public schools today is not education, it is indoctrination.

  14. Property tax rates are RATIOS describing the “amount of public spending demanding funding relative to the means of the taxable community”.

    RATIOS can be compared to communities all over America. ALL of America is required by law to provide certain social services, including education.

    McHenry County’s property tax rates are so off-the-charts-outlier-high that one can only draw this conclusion:

    McHenry County taxing bodies are taking the position that ONLY THEY are sufficiently funding social services.

    Schools and libraries ALL over America must be starving for funding and must be severly deficient by comparison to any library in Crystal Lake or other McHC municipalities.

  15. Cindy, you ass ume way to much and seem to not understand a simple things like average cost verse location location.

    The normal price for a jonkie project home is less than average, about $155-$120 sgft, custom homes more than average.

    Location is a big part of it and these houses have a decent location, close to downtown and train, schools close, decent size properties also.

    My cost was including acre out in the boonies of Alg. Twh, and I’d expect real estate taxes will be $7500, nothing to brag about.

    What is missing here in this discussion is not only why is the Lib buying more property when popular opinion is against it, but also the property taxes being lost.

    According to the numbers on the McH Co. Gis,, the combined lost of property taxes using
    15 paid 16 taxes is:$36,696.44.

    Village of Cary played developer after many of us were against that, I’d wonder how much of a lost more than ten years of sitting empty has cost our tax payers.

  16. Angel, your tactics are well known.

    They include the Red Herring, which seeks to divert the argument from the real subject, and argument ad hominem, an attack on people instead of the subject.

    Please answer the question that is germane to THIS article:

    do you support the Library Board’s action in buying these properties?

  17. Susan, well said, we do need to establish a total tax we are WILLING to give in taxation.

    The legislation to allow us to vote on tax levies is a good start in that direction.

  18. Thank you Nob, If proponents of forcing public spending obligation would put in the work to understand and quantify a rational maximum rate (or nominal amount), they might not be such potent pawns.

  19. Nob, the evidence is strong, not only in terms of the assessor’s valuation but in dollars per square foot, that the Library drastically overpaid for most of these properties.

    I sure wish they’d been willing to pay $150,000 for MY townhouse in Crystal Lake. I’d be lucky to get $60,000 for it today.

    And it’s far bigger than the apartments in the four flat they bought.

    Of the six properties they bought, all were purchased at prices far higher than the average for the area.

  20. We value education and research.

    Public libraries make that available to the public.

    That costs money.

  21. When useful idiots are too lazy to quantify HOW MUCH money, it destroy the many for the benefit of the few.

  22. Angel, citing platitudes is not good argumentation.

    “We value education” doesn’t tell us how much to pay or how to determine what we should be doing.

    Please answer the question:

    do you support the library buying these properties at these prices, especially the parcel purchased after the referendum?

    It’s a simple yes or no question and your refusal to answer it speaks volumes.

  23. “Education and research are not free.”

    “Education and research are priceless.”

  24. Angel, once again you refuse to answer the question.

    As long as money is limited, we can’t spend it all on the library.

    So it’s legitimate to ask how much is the right amount and if the money spent is being spent wisely.

    So I ask you once again:

    do you support the library buying these properties at these prices, especially after losing two referenda?

  25. Are the ability to feed one’s family and the ability to afford shelter priceless?

    If you refuse to quantify limits to what you will demand to take, and further refuse to prioritize a citizen’s right to afford their own survival ahead of their obligation to pay (under penalty of law) for YOUR priorities,
    are you not a sociopath?

  26. Steve you are dealing with a scorned Angel, her clock ran out.

    Angel has a problem with “We The People”, therefore there will be no dialog, just nonsense comments to take up space.

  27. Steve assessor and selling prices are always different, which is good or taxes would be hire.

    I’m not disagreeing on they over paid, just adding info for consideration.

    Expect more of the same if residents don’t go to meetings and voice their opinions.

    These poeple are on a mission, hard to stop that without the same counter action.

  28. Nob? Your info was superfluous and braggadacio.

    It had nothing to do with our overpayment for useless real estate by people that are basically thieves.

  29. Nob, your points are well taken.

    And I appreciate that you’re not disagreeing that they overpaid.

    I always prefer to refer to objective, independent data when possible, which is why I quote both the assessor and the price of other properties that have sold recently.

    With regard to your specific points, the assessor’s estimate of market value SHOULD be close to market value.

    In particular, while it might be off for one parcel one way and another parcel the other way, on balance errors should damp out and so with six properties the aggregate should be relatively close to true market value.

    If the difference were 10% or 15%, I wouldn’t quibble.

    But since it’s 100%, the difference is so large that it gives us great confidence in the conclusion that the library board overpaid.

    This is confirmed by a second data source:

    the actual sale price per square foot of other properties in the area.

  30. Utterly Dispicable and this is why We Must VOTE out CL council one and all! they don’t care anything about its citizens and if they say they do they are full of it…

    Actions speak louder than words!

  31. The price per square foot of the housing units is meaningless in this case.

    The CLPL was buying land, and I’m sure the housing units will be torn down when the City of Crystal Lake decides to defy the will of the voters and build this thing.

    I mentioned this in a previous post in another thread, but there is already a perfectly good library in Crystal Lake at McHenry County College, and any resident of the college district can get a card.

    This proposed new library is definitely a “want to have” and not a “need to have.”

    With taxes the way they are in this county, municipalities should only be looking at projects that they truly need.

  32. Maybe it’s time to make another unit of gov, the CL Library dist.

    Ya another one, but at least then the board and taxation would be better controlled.

    Appointed board members tends to be a negative also.

  33. Angel, we’re still waiting for your answer:

    do you support the real estate purchases or not?

  34. Nob? You are truly an idiot!

    The answer to government waste is MORE government? Wow, you’re stupid!!!!!

  35. Not more Cindy the library board already exists.

    Perhaps if they have to answer directly to voters they’d wise up and back off or lose their position on the board.


  36. Taxpayer-oriented people could not be found to run for the CL Grade School Board or the CL Park Board.

    What makes you think candidates could be found to run for a minor office like library board, whose members are now appointed by the CL City Council.

  37. City Council is responsible for this fiasco (as they are for many many taxpayer fleecing fiascos).

    Like the others above said, “They need to go! ALL of them!”

  38. Cary has a library district, and at least a few of them have been fiscally responsible.
    Steve has pointed out that Cary is cheaper to run compared to CL.
    I know one young man running for the Cary board who is pro library, yet understands we pay to much in taxes, even the library.
    Just the facts Cal.

  39. Oh – I see Angel’s wings have been clipped and eyebrows singed by that Fire Steve was laying down.

  40. If memory serves, Cary fixed their library with numbers not in the same universe as CL.

    And included AC etc.

  41. Re:

    “Taxpayer-oriented people could not be found to run for the CL Grade School Board or the CL Park Board.

    What makes you think candidates could be found to run for a minor office like library board, whose members are now appointed by the CL City Council.”

    Cal wins the Kewpie doll!

    Jack Franks was in charge of two different commissions to reduce government units in the State with practically zero success.


    Imagine if we eliminated all the Fire Districts, Library Boards, Park Districts, Townships, Drainage Districts, Regional Boards of Education, Local School Boards (total rubber stamps for the union).

    We might then actually have some people ‘freed up’ to run for the State Legislature, County and Municipal governments.

    Instead we are left with primarily people who have huge egos and little talent being easily led / controlled by full time government union employees.

    Feeds right into the desire of OWO groups / elites.

    We just freed up Mr. and Mrs. Miller to run for offices.

  42. I don’t always agree with Nob, and I don’t in this case. But I’ve never doubted his motives or his thoughtfulness.

    And one of the things I like best about this blog is the opportunity to collaborate with others, not just to debate.

    (The thing I like best is that Cal reports important information not found in other local media.)

    On more than once occasion I’ve had my thinking changed by what others have said, when they presented facts or reasoning I hadn’t considered.

    Nob — I appreciate your perspective but I think that if you consider some of the arguments here you will find that creating a Library District is a bad idea.

    There are two problems with the idea.

    The first is that we, as citizens, are already overburdened.

    I have 58 local government officials I’m supposed to keep an eye on.

    That doesn’t include anyone above the County level.

    It’s simply not possible for the average citizen to find the time to keep an eye on all these people, and so they pay attention, if at all, to the larger units of government, which permits small units, like library districts to carry on with no oversight.

    I remember an incident a few years ago when one of the MCC board members said to another, “Remember how much more fun this was when no one was paying attention?”

    The second reason is, as Cal pointed out, that special purpose governments tend to attract cheerleaders, advocates for the cause.

    Who wants to be on a library board?

    Answer: people who LOVE libraries!

    The role of the trustee should be as the taxpayer advocate, the check on the bureaucracy in our checks-and-balances system, the skeptic.

    But people who feel that way about government in general are much less inclined to run for government office, much less so than people who just love what a special purpose government does.

    So, while I appreciate your view that the problem is the City Council and that we should put the control directly into the hands of the voters, I think the offsetting arguments outweigh that perspective.

  43. Klaatu? Moderate is gone. She disappeared imediately when I called her identity out. Be assured that Rosa will eventually sneak back in under a new assumed name. She is licking her wounds right now. The idiot angel will soon follow.

  44. Steve I respect that and all of your comments.

    I just threw that idea out there for the H of it.

    There seems to be a repeating pattern with people who seek office.

    They claim to be fiscally responsible before the election, maybe six month after election they still are, but after that they almost all resemble who they replaced.

    The legislation floating around the state to allow us to vote on levies IMO is the best way to start to curb over spending gov.

  45. IMO a state property tax rate cap a la Cali and Mass. and INDIANA is the best way to curb over-spending govt.

  46. Susan?

    Nob won’t understand that.

    He thinks this is a democracy and he gets to vote on everything.

    Doesn’t realize how well that worked out with the lock box for IDOT, I guess.

  47. Susan, provide a good link for that please!

    I’ve kind of heard of that, but don’t hear any of our elected pushing IL legislation in that direction.

    Perhaps a combo of both concepts would be the best direction.

    Cindy our Consitution is flawed, has been since 1783.

    You like the elected to tell you how to pay taxes don’t ya!

  48. Susan another thought is getting rid of property taxes in favor of a local income tax!

    A tax we also get to vote on of course.

    My plan would have to be first approved by referendum.

    The referendum would be on the percentage of income to be taxed.

    The proceeds would be subtracted from the property tax extension for residential real estate the next year.

  49. Actually I figured out a way to replace residential property taxes with a local income tax.

    One problem is that income taxes are not as stable as real estate taxes.

    Another is that there is no way to force landlords to pass savings onto renters.

  50. Cal my post at 6:27 is not what I posted, I stopped after the word course. in the second sentence!
    What the …………?

  51. Cal to your 6:51, ya careful consideration and planning will have to be part of any change.

  52. The library employees are not members of a labor union.

    The City of Crystal Lake has 3 bargaining units:

    – Fire (IAFF Local 3926)

    – Police (MAP Chapter 177)

    – Public Works (IUOE Local 150).


    More detail about the positions represented by the IUOE Local 150 bargaining unit follows.

    This information is from the collective bargaining agreement.

    Included: All full-time and regular part-time employees in the City of Crystal Lake in the following classifications:

    – Program Coordinator

    – PWS Facility Operator

    – PWS Distribution System Operator

    – Maintenance Worker

    – WW Collection System Operator

    – Laboratory Technician

    – Pre-Treatment Coordinator

    – WW Facility Operator

    – Auto Technician

    – Parts Clerk.


    – Director

    – all Superintendents

    – all Supervisors for the Division of Streets, Sewer and Lifts / Storm Sewer, and Wastewater

    – Assistant to the Director of Public Works

    – Laboratory Supervisor

    – Administrative Assistant

    – Office and Clerical Employees

    – Seasonal Laborers

    – all other employees of the City of Crystal Lake

    – all supervisory, confidential and managerial employees as defined in the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act.


    Some municipalities put their collective bargaining agreements on the municipal website and some do not.

    They are available via FOIA request.

    The Better Government Association has many collective bargaining agreements on its website also, including current agreements for the City of Crystal Lake. > Tools and Data > View All > Information Databases > Collective Bargaining Database


    A big taxpayer need is collective bargaining transparency reform in Illinois:

    – Taxpayer ratification of collective bargaining agreements, just as the rank and file union members vote whether or not to ratify the agreement

    – A collective bargaining change document issued a few weeks prior to the voter ratification vote.

    – The change document would contain for instance, underline text for additions, and stricken text for deletions, so taxpayers can quickly identify changes from the previous document.

    – The change document would be archived on the village website.

    – various other reforms to the IPLRA and IELRA.

  53. Library employees do contribute to the IMRF pension fund, which would be along with other municipal employees (same fund).


    The Mayor appoints the 9 member Board of Trustees to the Library Board.

    The Library is a discrete component unit within the City of Crystal Lake.

    As of FY Ending April 30, 2016 the Library had $3.5M invested in CD’s.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.