Once again let me express deep, deep skepticism that DeKalb Public Library will actually raise the stated goal of $6 million in private donations to contribute to its expansion costs.
Witness the latest step toward putting it on the taxpayers.
In order to meet a looming June 30 deadline, the DeKalb Public Library will borrow $6 million from a private bank as a part of its fundraising strategy for its planned expansion.
How does that even work? If DKPL can just walk into a bank and get a loan of millions, why is it asking the City of DeKalb for help?
Just as importantly, is there anyone who believes DKPL will honestly commit to fundraising once a bank loan is in hand?
If the library board were serious about raising funds from anybody besides Mr. & Ms. Taxpayer, it would have launched a capital campaign well before last month and passed the hat ’round its own table. As of December it hadn’t identified even one major donor and that’s got to be the case today, else they wouldn’t still be looking at borrowing the entire $6 mil.
I truly believe DKPL’s “fundraising strategy” is to use public money, period. Only the city council can change that course and it can start by applying the brakes Monday.
Here’s the latest.
DeKalb library leaders asked the DeKalb City Council on Monday if it would consider borrowing $7.5 million for the $24 million construction project, which would add 47,000 square feet to the 19,000-square-foot building at 309 Oak St. Library leaders need to secure $15.5 million by June 1 to qualify for an $8.5 million state construction grant they were offered last month.
No, that’s not quite right. They weren’t “offered” anything. DKPL applied for the grant last April and its number finally came up, probably because a couple other libraries lost referenda in November (but we don’t know for sure, because I’ve been foiled in my FOIA inquiry).
It’s a crying shame for taxpayers that DKPL turned in an application with a plan to spend $24 million, because the eligible construction costs only come to about $13 million. This means there are a lot of goodies in there that the state won’t cover. When DKPL board members say they really, really tried so hard to save taxpayers money, the fitting response is a derisive laugh, IMO. Read the rest of this entry
The discussion about the city’s issuing bonds on behalf of DeKalb Public Library for its expansion starts at the Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday.
In order to secure the $15.5M needed for the expansion, the Library has a plan of financing for City Council consideration. The Library will use $1M in Library fund balance and is planning to raise $6M in donations. The Library is requesting $1M from the City from TIF funds. For the remaining $7.5M, the Library will bond this amount, which will be a general obligation bond paid by property taxes. The Library is a component unit of the City; therefore the City would have to issue these bonds on behalf of the Library.
Discussion and direction is requested on the $1.M contribution from the TIF fund, the bonding for the $7.5M remaining balance, and the timing of these actions. The City’s Financial Advisor will be present to assist the Council in this discussion.
This is the biggest bunch of hooey ever. There is no way DKPL will do the work necessary to raise the promised private donations because the City of DeKalb is its sugar daddy. I believe it is also quite possible that the State of Illinois will be good for nothing much beyond IOUs. Be prepared for us to be on the hook 100% for another overbuilt monument to our particularly destructive brand of hubris.
DeKalb Public Library has finally shared with the Daily Chronicle the expected full cost of its expansion plan: $24 million.
This is amazing to me. I was there a few weeks ago and director Dee Coover told me the board had cut back the expansion plan by one-third to adjust to lowered population projections. Does this mean the original price tag was $36 million, or that the price tag is the same, with one-third less space but more bells and whistles?
At any rate, we do have some facts to chew on:
The estimated cost is twice that of DeKalb’s new police station.
Our neighbor Aurora approved an expansion plan for its library system last year that cost $30 million — but Aurora is five times the size of DeKalb and has two branches and a bookmobile.
The state grant of $8.5 million covers a little less than 65% of eligible construction costs, meaning DeKalb’s eligible costs come to about $13 million. It also means that up to $11 million of the total cost comprises extras not allowable under the grant program.
For these reasons, my earlier dubbing of the expansion proposal as the “Taj-Mah Library” still stands. Especially as DeKalb is becoming smaller and poorer.
The facts also don’t help to quell very serious doubts — from both fiscal and legal standpoints — that the city should not be issuing bonds on behalf of DKPL.
That’s not to say I’m anti-expansion. I’m not, and in fact I’m generally not strictly anti-anything except for “ends-justify-the-means” excuses, entitlement mentality, illegality, incompetence, lying and other sins and failures of public morality.
There’s a Facebook group called “You know you’re from Sycamore, Illinois when…”. I just took a screenshot of it in case somebody deletes something later. Anyway there’s a nice photo of the Sycamore Public Library posted along with this description:
For those of you who haven’t been back to Sycamore for some time, this is a foto of the new library. Instead of tearing down the old one, we added a large addition to the east side of it in 1997. It is two stories and has room for a large meeting room and kitchen area. I think the addition ties into the old building rather well. At the east end is a large parking lot.
One commenter on the post notes that there was a lot of opposition to the Sycamore Library expansion and to paraphrase, he was proud of the work he and others did to overcome it. That is a nice comment. Nobody called anybody names.
Then there is Kris Povlsen’s comment:
We are doing the same here in DeKalb to the Haish Library. The anti idiots are always going to oppose all progress. Over the years I have learned to ignore them and do what is in the best interest of the community.
Read the rest of this entry
[Update 1 added 2/23/2012 after the jump.]
[Update 2 added 2/24/2010]
Click on either image to access larger versions.
I’ll note additions to this post, if any, at the City Barbs Blog Facebook page as well.
Read the rest of this entry
The DeKalb Public Library closed yesterday on its purchase of land for expansion from Castle Bank, trustee under Trust Agreement #2222 and the sole beneficiary of the land trust, developer Steve Irving. The purchase price is $1,450,000 plus $25,000 for each month/part of month beyond the original target closing date of October 1, 2011, according to the purchase agreement.
If you’d like a copy of the agreement, e-mail me. It’s a 30-page PDF.
People are starting to ask me why I’m against the DeKalb Public Library expansion.
I’m not against AN expansion of DPL. I’m against THIS expansion because I disapprove of secrecy, corrupted processes and the lack of proper public participation. I’m against letting the current library board, a group of proven lawbreakers, run the show.
Pick anything under the DeKalb Public Library tag at this blog for details, and check out DeKalb County Online for Mac’s view of the latest developments. This is about making sure government follows the rules, and creating a fuss when it’s not. Period. It always has been. Read the rest of this entry
It was a toss-up whether to focus on DeKalb Public Library’s ongoing coyness about its expansion plans, or the role of local media in covering for it. How about a bit of both.
Today’s WTF moment is brought to you by the Daily Chronicle in “DeKalb officials expand on library land process, say everything appears kosher”.
City attorney Dean Frieders said the city council does not have to give its approval for the land purchase because it would be funded with “relatively short-term financing,” in the form of a bequest, rather than a tax increase, a mortgage or a municipal bond to purchase the land.
And, ahem, TIF money.
Here’s the comment I left on the story.
The development agreement may give the council a “say,” but according to library law the council does more than that — council makes the call. At any rate, why are we listening to the same city officials who flip-flop about whether council has the authority to set the library’s levy (it does), and who refuse to insist the library make its annual report to council using the same detailed report it sends to the state? Perhaps it is time for our state’s attorney to step in, at least to ask for an opinion from the Illinois Attorney General.
The alternative is to go to court. Read the rest of this entry
A new police station on Route 38 is in the works, and a proposed expansion of the DeKalb Public Library would involve closing a portion of North Third Street.
Clearly, each of these projects/proposals if built would impact traffic patterns at their respective locations.
Mac McIntyre brought up the need for a traffic study at the police station site a few months ago so I’ve been doing some research into the requirements as time allows.
Communications with the state Department of Transportation have convinced me that it would likely not be possible for the City of DeKalb to obtain a permit for the police station construction without a traffic study. Indeed, ComEd will have to obtain a permit to dig a hole for a pole before it begins utility work at the site.
Additionally, I just found out that the city approved “administratively” a traffic study, now in progress, for the police station site.
All’s well then, right? NO. My reading of the Municipal Code does not allow for an “administrative” decision on traffic studies. The procedure is for the director of Public Works to make a recommendation and for the city council to vote on the recommendation.
I’ve put the applicable section of Chapter 23, Article 7 after the jump. Read the rest of this entry