Politics, Policy & Opinion in DeKalb, Illinois, USA
Hopkins Park Pool Replacement Plan Fact Sheet (short PDF)
Hopkins Park Pool Condition Report & Recommendations (41-page PDF)
Comment by niufan99 on January 1, 2010 at 5:33 pm
All these taxing bodies shows that the tax increase is small but when they are all added up it is no longer small I’m fighting now to stay in my home.Our city council is a joke they don’t listen or care what the people want!enough is enough!!
Comment by Mac McIntyre on January 2, 2010 at 12:31 pm
Your “All Wet” blog is further proof of the need and importance of culture change in local government. I wondered why the Park District did not choose to finance a new pool through revenue bonds instead of general obligation bonds that require an increase in the tax levy. It appears, based on revenue projections and the lack thereof, they couldn’t float operations on any expansion of current facilities much less the frills of new construction on revenue bonds.
Comment by yinn on January 2, 2010 at 1:29 pm
Most of the Rockford deficit arose from the vagaries of the weather (probably also the overall economy) this past summer, which affected attendance at Magic Waters; and the same must hold true for DeKalb and its pool attendance. Besides the matter of scale, the biggest difference between the two is that one taxing body has adapted to the shortfall in projections while the other hasn’t.
I suspect you’re right saying “normal” attendance levels couldn’t justify the use of revenue bonds, even for repair and update of current facilities projected at 1/3 the cost of building new. They may base user fees on a plan to break even. However, I would need more info to say for sure. When they get back to me on my question about how much they give to ReNew DeKalb, I will ask for the report.
Comment by Ivan Krpan on January 13, 2010 at 2:10 pm
Mac has on his site a recent clip with Cindy Capek speaking about the need for Aquatics in this community. She is right but her idea of aquatics and mine seem to differ.
Is this about a swimming that is at its end or is it about a bigger better idea in hopes of drawing more patrons?
They are only open three months out of the year, the numbers don’t work. In the video clip she is so ecstatic about counting about 90 people utilizing the pool. The pool has gotten expensive period! They will have to increase the user fee price for the new aquatic center if built but they have no clue what they are going to be? Isn’t that an important factor in considering if this project is feasible for the demographics in this area? Are they going to completely price themselves out of the pool business?
They fully expect the taxpayers to pay for this dream aquatic center while they keep the user fees for other pet projects. This is merely a revenue enhancer for the Park District while they continue to drain many dollars annually into agreed upon TIF projects. This is merely and end around play to bypass the tax cap.
This past summer saw the Park District $30,000.00 in the red with regards to the swimming pool and the pool facilities is paid for. My question is the Park District using the revenue from banquet room rentals as part of the swimming pool revenue. If they are then the swimming totals are truly scary.
Looking at the ballot wording also. It does pretty much give the Park District an open check to do what they desire to the entire Hopkins Park area. Me, I think it’s time to see if it is possible to run Dresser Road to Dresser thru the park and open another street route to move east/west in this community. Could be something to think about especially now that the new high school is on Dresser now.
Comment by Kay Shelton on January 13, 2010 at 9:42 pm
The summer of 2009 was not normal and was cool. I think I can count all of the 90+ days on one hand. I am not complaining. That meant I had something left over from my small bills to ComEd this summer. It was not good swimming weather, though.
Comment by Ivan Krpan on January 14, 2010 at 8:37 am
Exactly Kay. Whenever Mother Nature is involved, there just is no way to make a proper guesstimation on revenue.
Look at the indoor water park CoCo Keys over by the Arlington Horse tracks. Very financially sound communities around this area. Dense population and CoCo Keys was a $25 million INDOOR aquatic center with more features than shown by the DeKalb Park District. With the exception of maybe a couple Holidays, this aquatic center was open every day and still couldn’t make it work out.
No one from the DeKalb Park District will even attempt to talk numbers and profit and how they expect to pay this referendum off. Not one dollar from the user fees will be used to pay down the bonding for this complex because they are putting it all on the taxpayers back.
This is a losing proposition from the get go. They know what the user fees have to be in order to make this work from the operations and maintenance side but throw in the bond debt repayment of $1.52 million per year for 25 years, NO WAY!. They would have to profit (after costs, payroll, and expenses)over $500,000.00 per month. YEAH RIGHT! Not even close to being possible.
This is just a way for the Park District to bypass tax caps and generate more dollars for their slush fund and wish lists for pet projects while the taxpayers in this community are responsible to pay for what I call the next black hole for DeKalb in way of tax dollars.
Too many of the citizens still trust those who have been elected and do not see the shell games that they are playing and how they play the loop holes in order to get more tax dollars to spend. I still believe that any government entity should be able to put at least 20% down if not more on any project they wish to start instead of doing like they all do and borrow 100% for every project.
Comment by yinn on January 16, 2010 at 12:31 pm
Somewhere along the way, government forgot the business principle of tying stable revenues to stable costs, and variable to variable. Budgets should earmark user fees for things like repairs; we’ve seen the same mistake with the city, which disastrously came to depend on building permits for operations and can’t update the muni building mechanicals, etc. I’ve seen the pool photos — half the problem with the current facility is neglect, either through allocation errors, shortages, or (heaven forbid) by design. Also, I was shocked at how often the pool audit reported that previous repairs using substandard materials and methods. Has anyone seen numbers for revenue projections on the proposed new aquatics center? How do we know the maintenance-repair-update problem won’t repeat itself?
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