Can you give me information on the election?
The Library has asked the Village of Itasca to present residents with a referendum proposal on the February 5, 2008 Primary Election Ballot. Polls will be open from 6:00am to 7:00pm on Election Day. Early voting is also available January 14 thru January 31, 2008. More voter information is available by contacting the DuPage County Election Commission at (630) 407-5600 or online at www.dupageelections.com.
What is the purpose of the Referendum?
The key purpose of the proposed referendum is to replace and repair the existing Itasca Community Library building’s exterior wall cladding, windows, rooftop HVAC units, and sections of roof due to extensive water damage and the subsequent development of mold that resulted primarily from a 1996 renovation project. At the time of the renovation, the walls were clad with an exterior finish system that has since been found unsuitable for a building with a 75-year life expectancy, especially in our area. Numerous building projects around the country were unknowingly affected by this poor product, which is no longer in commercial use.
What will the new exterior finish be?
The new exterior finish will be a redundant water management system proven effective and used regularly in the Chicagoland area. Some areas of the original roofing system and rooftop HVAC configuration also caused leaks. In addition, many areas of the new metal roof were damaged during the original construction resulting in the loss of the protective coating and rusting. Combined, these issues contributed to our current situation.
Why does the Library have to do this now?
The Library needs to pursue this project now because water leakage has been an ongoing issue for the Library since 1999, and numerous attempts to reseal and fix problem areas were undertaken. Unfortunately, extensive testing and assessment early this year indicated continued water infiltration has led to elevated levels of mold, in some areas toxic mold. The Library immediately remediated the most dangerous area but in order to remove all traces of mold from the walls, the entire exterior now needs to be stripped off and replaced before the integrity of the building and potentially the delivery of Library programs and services are compromised.
What exactly will this project be doing?
The actual project work will include complete removal and replacement of exterior wall cladding, remediation of mold, removal and reinstallation of windows, roof patching, applying a protective coating on the metal roof, and removal and replacement of rooftop HVAC units.
Will the Library be closed while the repairs are being done?
We anticipate this project can be completed with minimal interruption to library patrons, staff, and neighbors. If the referendum is approved on February 5, 2008, work is expected to begin immediately and take approximately six to nine months to finish.
How much are the repairs going to cost?
- The repair project will be financed using Tax-Exempt Municipal Bonds. We have estimated a average annual cost to each property owner of approximately $23.00/year.
- In 1999 the Library issued bonds, through the Village to finance the Library expansion. The average taxpayer is currently paying $22.00/year for those bonds. Today the 1999 bonds can be refinanced at a lower interest rate thereby reducing the total cost to the taxpayers.
- If the referendum is approved, we anticipate that we will refinance the existing 1999 bonds and extend the length of the repayment. With the new money approved through the referendum we will maintain an average annual payment for each taxpayer of approximately $23.00/year. Only a $1 per year increase!
- Our goal is to keep the overall taxpayer impact for this referendum as low as possible. Using the most conservative estimates the increase is only $1/year. Due to fluctuations in the bond market the actual cost to taxpayers may be even lower than estimated.
What will the Ballot Question Look Like?
The Ballot Question will read:
Shall bonds in the amount of $1,750,000 be issued by the Village of Itasca, Illinois for the purpose of paying the cost of repairing, improving and equipping the existing Itasca Community Library Building to remediate water infiltration and mold, and for expenses incidental thereto, said bonds bearing interest at the rate of not to exceed the greater 9% per annum or 125% of the rate for the most recent date shown in the 20 G.O. Bonds Index of average municipal bond yields as published in the most recent edition of the Bond Buyer, published in New York, New York, at the time the contract is made for the sale of said bonds?
Why is the ballot language so confusing?
- The Illinois State Statutes require that the Library word the ballot question as stated.
- However, based on the current bond market conditions, interest rates will be well below the stated 9%. The current bond market (as of January 2008) is showing 20 Year interest rates in a range from 4.25% to 4.50%.
Why is the Library not filing a lawsuit?
The Library is not pursuing the contractor and/or architect for costs related to the 1996 expansion problems because when the initial construction was concluding, there was a dispute about a number of items (issues unrelated to the existing water damage and mold concerns) between the Library and the contractor. The resolution was a settlement which included a mutual release executed by all three parties — the Library, the contractor and the architect. The release prevents further claims between the parties.
What happens if the referendum does not pass?
If the referendum is not successful, the Library will be faced with difficult choices related to addressing the serious water and mold issues. Due to the nature of the problem, the Library must find other avenues to fund the project. These options could include taking the money out of the operating budget, which would significantly affect Library programs, services, and potentially even operating hours. In the worst case scenario, if the presence of toxic mold spreads throughout the building before the Library can effectively remediate it, the Library could be closed as a last resort to protect the health and safety of patrons and staff.
Did the Library file an insurance claim?
The Library has filed an insurance claim for the costs of the repairs. Should the Library receive funds from the insurance provider, the funds will be used to pay for the bonds that will be issued for these repairs. The levy that is being requested for these repairs by the taxpayers will be abated (or eliminated/reduced) if insurance money comes in and the District will pay the Bond payments from the insurance proceeds. Because the insurance claim process can take years to complete, and these repairs need to be completed immediately to maintain the programs and services of the Library, the Library determined the referendum process was the best solution.
Where can I find out more information?
The Library will host a Referendum Information Night on Thursday, January 17, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. in the Library’s West Meeting Room to answer residents’ questions one-on-one.
Betsy Adamowski, Library Director will be available at a Referendum Information Desk (by the Circulation desk) the following dates and times:
- Sunday, January 20 @ 1:00 P.M. – 3:00 P.M.
- Monday, January 21 @ 10:00 A.M. – 1:00 P.M.
- Tuesday, January 22 @ 5:30 P.M. – 6:45 P.M.
- Wednesday, January 23 @ 5:30 P.M. – 6:45 P.M.
- Friday, January 25 @ 9:00 A.M. – 11:00 A.M.
- Monday, January 28 @ 1:00 P.M. – 3:00 P.M.
- Tuesday, January 29 @ 9:00 A.M. – 11:00 A.M.
- Wednesday, January 30 @ 1:00 P.M. – 3:00 P.M.
- Thursday, January 31 @ 11:00 P.M. – 1:00 P.M.
- Monday, February 4 * *ALL DAY* *(9:00 A.M. – 9:00 P.M.)
- Tuesday, February 5 * *ALL DAY* *(9:00 A.M. – 9:00 P.M.)
Residents are also invited to have coffee and refreshments on January 31st and talk with Library Board President Maxine Swanson and Library Director Betsy Adamowski from 10:00 A.M. to 11:00 A.M. and again in the evening of that same day from 7:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. (with Library Treasurer David Westen) in the library’s East Meeting Room.
Residents can also email us questions directly at email@example.com.
If you have specific questions about the proposed referendum, please contact Library Director Betsy Adamowski at (630) 773-1699 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.