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posted: 8/9/2013 5:00 AM

St. Charles not upfront about costs

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St. Charles new comprehensive plan will result in the city of St. Charles being financially involved in many real estate projects. History shows the following.

The city wasted $2 million of taxpayer money in buying worthless old St. Charles Mall land covenants from Shodeen.

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Lexington Club developers bought land in 2006 and then asked for a handout. The city wasted $5 million on the handout.

The city is using $16 million of Costco city sales taxes to pay for subsidizing Costco's purchase of land. Batavia did the same for Wal-Mart but only used $1.5 million. The city wasted $14.5 million.

The city has paid millions for the failed First Street project and has to pay $45 million more in future bond payments. For this we have a handful of new shops and a handful of offices. Many tens of millions of dollars wasted.

In the past the city has delayed releasing the financials of projects and avoided discussing financial risks. Leading up to the First Street project the city spent over a year having public meetings and documenting every thing except the financials and the financial risk. Then suddenly, the Planning and Development Committee approved the project and released the financials (but not the financial risks) and two weeks later the city council approved the project. In the future the city council should wait at least six weeks after the financials and financial risks are released before it votes.

The city on its First Street website in 2006 stated, "Taxpayers will notice no change on their property tax bills due to this project." This statement has been shown to be patently false to the tune of many tens of millions of dollars.

Gene Kalley

St. Charles

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