Island Lake re-examines getting a new village hall

Island Lake village officials want to leave behind the 1950s-era building that houses municipal offices and relocate to a new facility.

The board is considering working with a building group, which would construct a facility the village would lease for municipal offices, Trustee Charles Cermak said Wednesday. The village is examining three to four village-owned parcels to determine if any would be suitable.

Mayor Debbie Herrmann said the cost to maintain the village hall at 3720 Greenleaf Ave. is exceeding the cost of moving.

"We're not looking for bigger; we're looking for functionality," Herrmann said. "We don't need the Taj Mahal."

Village hall repair and maintenance costs are estimated around $25,000 to $30,000. John Little, the village's financial director, said the annual maintenance budget is $12,000.

"I think if you start looking at retrofitting the place, it might be cheaper in the long run to do something different," Little said.

Needed village hall building repairs include the roof, windows and plumbing.

In 2009, Island Lake village board members considered putting a referendum on the ballot to ask voters to fund a village hall construction project. One idea would cost up to $10 million for a new village hall and police station, while another was to spend more than $12 million to revamp the existing village hall and build a new police facility and gymnasium.

Village officials rejected the proposals and never put a question on the ballot.

Herrmann said such a plan is more in line with village needs and more cost-efficient.

"We're looking at ways to do this in an economical fashion that would not hinder the taxpayers," she said.

A new village hall would still include the police station and public works department, officials said.

The village board is scheduled to discuss its options at a meeting at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 24, at village hall.

Trustee Thea Morris said discussing options to relocate will help the village run more effectively and efficiently.

"I don't think it's a shock to anyone that we have to look at options," Morris said.

Herrmann has met with various concept developers and public-private partnership investors to lay out the village's options. In addition, a University of Illinois at Chicago urban development graduate class completed a semester-long project for municipal service planning and used Island Lake as a model.

Officials said no plans have been finalized and nothing is up for vote.

"I don't think we're anywhere near a finalized point," Morris said. "It's an excellent opportunity for us to have an open meeting to discuss what options we have to move forward."