Where is the money from my increased taxes going?
Once the building plans are approved, the funds will be spent on bond payments for approximately $23 million allocated for a new Library building. A portion of the increase will also be used for operating expenses that will increase with a new facility. An explanation of the Helen Plum Library’s past annual operating costs compared to other local libraries is outlined below.
Prior to the successful passage of the November 2016 referendum, the Helen Plum Library had the lowest expenditure per capita of any of the local peer libraries with similar populations. Minimal annual levy increases through the years by Helen Plum were not significant enough to result in a capital reserve fund that could be used for the replacement of aging building systems and renovation of the facility.
Lombard taxpayers have benefitted from this lower tax rate for decades, however the building needed an investment from the community for upgrades.
This .216 tax increase will fluctuate slightly from year to year based on population and budget. After the 20 year bond debt for the new facility is paid off, the Library Board at that time will make a determination about the tax rate going forward.
To date, the Library has paid an additional $5,000 in redesign fees that will be deducted should those plans become part of the final design process.
Did you consider other locations for the new Library building?
- Preserving our significant, unique historical link to both Lilacia Park and the Plum family is important to us as well as the history of Lombard.
- The Library currently has more than 255,000 visitors each year. Moving the library to another location would eliminate foot traffic from the Library to downtown. A new building would attract more visitors and increase foot traffic even more.
- The location is walking distance for students in the immediate area and provides the option of classroom or afterschool visits
- Metra commuters have easy access to the Library, especially with the new drive-through feature.
- The Library owns its land, and also the site to the west of the building. Any new site options would need to be acquired at a significant additional cost. The new building budget includes only $900,000 above the costs for demolition and construction for a new building.
What about Mr. Z’s property?
The property is currently on the market for more than $2 million. The Library owns the current building property and the two lots directly to the west of the Library.
Also, Mr. Z’s building is only 28,000 sq. feet, so the Library would need to add a second floor to meet the needed space increases (the current Library is 34,000 sq. ft.) of 50,000 sq. ft. Due to the need to insure structural capacity to house the weight of multiple bookshelves we would also incur additional demolition expense.
What about the DuPage Theater location?
The Village of Lombard owns the property on Park and Main. Their intent is to develop the site for commercial or residential use to provide a future tax revenue stream for the Village.
Can voters within the Helen M. Plum Memorial Public Library District (the “District”) initiate a future referendum to lower the District’s general library tax rate of .60% pursuant to Section 18-120 of the Property Tax Code, as amended (the “Code”), to “undo” the Limiting Rate Referendum that was passed in November of 2016 (the “Election”)?
Specifically, Section 18-190 of the Code reads:
“Notwithstanding the provisions, requirements, or limitations of any other law, any tax levied for the 2005 levy year and all subsequent levy years by any taxing district subject to [PTELL] may be extended at a rate exceeding the rate established for that tax by referendum or statute, provided that the rate does not exceed the statutory ceiling above which the tax is not authorized to be further increased either by referendum or in any other manner.”
In addition, Section 18-120 of the Code only applies “to rates which are specifically made subject to increase or decrease according to the referendum provisions of the General Revenue Law of Illinois [now the Code].” Rates in the Public Library District Act of 1991, as amended (the “Library Act”), are not subject to the provisions of the General Revenue Law. The general library tax can only be increased up to .60% by referendum — Section 35-10 of the Library Act provides that “[t]he annual public library tax may be increased to not more than 0.60% if the voters of the district determine and approve the increase by a majority vote of those voting upon the question at any regular election.” There is no provision under the Library Act to decrease such rate pursuant to the General Revenue Law.”
Will the new Helen Plum Library still have all of the same features discussed prior to the referendum?
- The new building will be 50,000 square feet, as originally indicated in the pre-referendum proposal. The only significant change is that we will not renovate the Henderson Plaza at the corner of Maple and Park.
- The initial timeline for the project had the Library staff and materials scheduled to be relocated temporarily mid-summer of 2016. Concept plans have been submitted to the Village and are currently being reviewed. If the plans are approved early in 2019, the final phase of the new building project should be completed in 2021.
What are the additional features that will be available in the new Helen Plum Library?
- The new facility will be completely safe and accessible with state-of-the-art mechanicals.
- Ten study/meeting rooms seating one to twelve persons. In addition there will be a 28 person room for Board meetings or audience style programs.
- A large divisible meeting room with the latest audio visual technology and room for 100+ people.
- The exterior plaza deck will include a seasonal entrance to the 2nd floor and will offer a variety of seating options.
- The new entrance will be closer to the parking lot.
- Convenient drive-thru service will be available for drop off and pick up.
- A vending café will be located just inside the building entrance.
- A gallery wall will be available for displays.
- Youth services will expand to include a storytime room and activities space, a pre-teen area and an early literacy area.
- Teens will have a safe, supervised area for study, collaboration, and engaging in creative and technology activities.
- The 2nd floor will house most of the Adult collection and will provide a wide range of seating options with views of the Park and Plaza.
- A creative space will be available where patrons can create and learn using emerging technologies and share community resources.
- The computer lab will be the new site for more technology training and programs.
Will Lilacia Park’s lilacs or Coach House be damaged?
Significant steps will be taken to insure the utmost protection of our neighbor’s property. The new driveway into the Park will upgrade the ability for increased fire protection access that is currently unavailable for the Coach House.
Will handicap and regular parking increase in the new building?
- Helen Plum Library hired Gewalt Hamilton, an independent consultant to conduct a traffic study and review parking requirements. The study determined that the Library has more than enough parking spaces to accommodate patrons by including on-street parking and also has enough current parking to accommodate the proposed new Library by including on-street parking.
- The new Library drive-through service will also provide convenient driver side drop off and pick up of materials that are placed on hold.
- Four new handicapped parking spaces will be located on Maple St. near the building’s front entrance.