Press Release 12.28.22
Press Release 12.28.22
Sugar Grove Public Library District Trustees Asks Voters to Approve a Zero Tax Rate Increase on the April 4, 2023 Ballot
The Board of Trustees of the Sugar Grove Public Library District voted during its regular board meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 14, to place an operating rate increase question on the April 4, 2023, consolidated election for voters in the District.
Since the construction bonds for the current Library building will be paid off in February 2024, the Library Board of Trustees determined that the Consolidated Election on April 4, 2023, would be the most fiscally responsible time to ask voters to fund the Library, because it will be a no-net tax increase.
This question will ask for voters’ approval to “swap” money used to pay off the construction bonds, about $818,000, to cover annual operation costs. The increase in the tax rate will be equivalent to the amount of debt reduction, resulting in a zero or “no-net” tax increase. If residents vote yes, the tax rate will remain the same as it currently is, and if the residents vote no, the tax rate will decrease.
If approved, increased funding would be available to the District in June 2024, which is when its hours, collections, and services would begin to increase.
Should the referendum pass, the Library could increase hours of operations to add back weekend hours, increase purchases of digital and print materials, offer more programs, and expand services, especially in the areas of services for children, senior citizens, technology learning classes, and genealogy. Attention to the needs of the aging building could be met. A capital needs plan estimates the Library will need more than a half million dollars in the next 5-10 years to maintain the 26,000 square foot facility and its 5 acres of land, and more than $2 million in the next 20 years.
Should the referendum fail, Library hours, programs, books, and services would decrease by an additional 25%. This would mean fewer new materials, longer wait times for holds, and fewer programs. Funding from those areas would have to be redirected to building maintenance and capital needs on the aging facility.
In the 2004 general election, residents voted “yes” to a building bond question to construct a new, larger Sugar Grove Public Library facility to meet the needs of the growing community. But the second question, for an increase in operating tax rate to fund the larger facility, did not pass. The Board of Trustees put the question of an operating tax rate increase in front of District voters eleven times between 2004 and 2014, but all of the ballot measures failed.
The library has not had a voter approved operational tax rate increase since 1963.
The current Library has an operating tax rate intended for a building 25% of its size and operates at a level below the Illinois Library recommended standards based on its population size, collection, and facility due to its limited operating revenue. The Library has used various methods to keep costs down while offering the most services possible to residents. The Sugar Grove Public Library District has been unable to operate the library full time and recently reduced hours by closing on Sundays. The District operates 46 hours a week, more than 40% fewer hours than neighboring libraries. All staff, including the Director and management team, work part-time hours. They do not receive health insurance or a pension, and are not members of IMRF (Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund). Volunteers, grants, and budget-friendly contracts have allowed the Library to continue to operate.
There has been no way to save for capital needs or afford maintenance on the aging facility. The library is 13 years old, and the facility systems will be aging past their life expectancy in the next ten years. An assessment of the building shows that the Library will need approximately $600,000 in the next 5-10 years towards maintenance and capital needs for the 26,000 square foot building and 5 acres of land, and over $2 million in the next 20 years. The Library cannot continue to operate with the current level of funding without going into debt or becoming inoperable. The Library must now prioritize building maintenance and capital needs now in order to ensure the Library remains operable.
The question on the ballot for the consolidated election on April 4, 2023 will read: “Shall the limiting rate under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law for the Sugar Grove Public Library District, Kane County, Illinois, be increased by an additional amount equal to 0.147% above the limiting rate for library purposes for levy year 2021 and be equal to 0.271% of the equalized assessed value of the taxable property therein for levy year 2023? Yes or No” The question does not reflect any information about the zero/no-net tax increase, as it must follow required wording per Illinois State Statute. The Library will ask voters to continue to support a library tax rate of .271% which is what the current rate is with the building construction bonds included. If residents vote yes, the tax rate will remain the same as it currently is, and if the residents vote no, the tax rate will decrease.
The Library is very well-used by the community. In FY 2021-2022, the Library District had over 45,000 visitors and over 122,000 items checked out. A 2021 community survey revealed that 98.9% of respondents thought the Library was important for the community. Survey respondents indicated a desire for increased weekend hours, facility improvements, and more materials and programs.
The same survey revealed that only 52% of respondents knew that the Sugar Grove Public Library District serves more people than the Village of Sugar Grove. Per the 2020 census, there are 16,114 residents of the Sugar Grove Public Library District, from Sugar Grove, Aurora, Montgomery, Elburn, North Aurora, and Batavia, covering a 37 mile area. The Village of Sugar Grove has a population of 9,235, 42% less than the Library District’s population. The Library District is an independent taxing body that doesn’t receive funding from the Village.
More information about the referendum can be found on the Library’s website https://www.sgpl.org/referendum or by attending one of the two Library Town Hall meetings. The meetings will take place in the Library’s Meeting Room C, located at 125 S. Municipal Drive, Sugar Grove, IL on Saturday, Feb. 4, at 11:30 am and Thursday, March 2, at 6:30 pm. Early voting begins March 10, 2023. Library officials and consultants will present information about the upcoming April 4, 2023, consolidated election for the Library District’s ‘no-net’ operating tax rate increase.
About the Library:
The Sugar Grove Public Library District is located at 125 S. Municipal Drive, Sugar Grove IL 60554. It serves a 37 square mile radius area that serves a population of 16,114 residents from Sugar Grove, Montgomery, Aurora, North Aurora, and Elburn. The Library District serves Sugar Grove Township, and Blackberry Township south of Seavey Road, except those areas annexed by North Aurora to the northeast and Aurora to the east. The Library has 7,100 cardholders or 44% of the district population. In the 2021-2022 year, there were 45,368 visitors, 3,592 program attendees and 220 programs, and 122,000 materials circulated.
For more information contact:
Genna Mickey, Library Director
125 S. Municipal Drive
Sugar Grove, IL 60554