The Brainerd Community Center, Inc. (BCC) has tried to sell rebuilding the Brainerd Building at $15 million in taxpayer expense as Libertyville's version of the Gorton Center in Lake Forest. That's curious, because if that comparison is accurate, the proposed Brainerd project is doomed to fail. Let's compare: The Gorton Center was renovated with private donations, not taxpayer dollars. So it's reasonable that private donations would cover operating expenses. But if Libertyville residents are forced to pay through taxes for the Brainerd Building, do you really think they'll donate more to pay for shortfalls? When was the last time you heard about someone paying more than they owe in taxes on anything?
The Gorton Center's 2012 Annual Report (www.gortoncenter.org/about/annual-report) shows that it operates at a loss. In 2012, its operating expenses exceeded revenue by $50,000. If it were not for the extraordinary generosity of the residents of Lake Forest, the Gorton Center would have trouble keeping its doors open.
In 2012, alone, the Gorton Center received $405,691 from over 200 donors, including two donations of $20,000-plus. The Brainerd Community Center Inc. projects the building will operate at a loss for at least the first five years. Fundraising, they suggest, will make up the shortfall.
Its history does not inspire confidence. The BCC has raised less than $150,000 since 2006, In 2012, even after a successful fundraiser, it had a balance of less than $20,000.
If this referendum passes, the $15 million taxpayers will pay for the construction will be just the start of the bill. We'll be hit with taxes to support losses every year after it opens. Vote "no" on the Libertyville referendum.