Fox River Valley library district may ask voters for property tax hike

  • Building a new library in West Dundee is one of two proposed projects that would cost the Fox River Valley Public Library District $39.5 million.

    Building a new library in West Dundee is one of two proposed projects that would cost the Fox River Valley Public Library District $39.5 million. Courtesy of the Fox River Valley Public Library District

  • Proposed renovations to the Dundee Library in East Dundee would include adding easy-to-use shelves, creating a larger children's area, providing a computer lab, building a drive-up service window and adding tutoring, study and meeting rooms.

    Proposed renovations to the Dundee Library in East Dundee would include adding easy-to-use shelves, creating a larger children's area, providing a computer lab, building a drive-up service window and adding tutoring, study and meeting rooms. Courtesy of the Fox River Valley Public Library District

 
 

Building a new library and renovating an existing one might need a referendum to become a reality. An estimated $39.5 million price tag has been put on the projects proposed for the Fox River Valley Public Library District.

By the end of August, the library board will decide whether to place a question on the November ballot that would raise property taxes for the district's 70,000 residents.

The language of the referendum has not been finalized, but Director Roxane Bennett estimates a tax rate increase of 36 cents per $100 of taxable value would be needed to support construction costs for the proposed projects: renovating the Dundee Library in East Dundee and building a 75,000-square-foot facility in West Dundee.

If the tax hike is approved, Bennett said, the library district would collect roughly $8.7 million per year in property taxes -- $5.5 million more than it collects currently.

That would mean the owner of a home with a $100,000 market value would pay almost $100 more in yearly property taxes, or about $8.29 per month. For a $200,000 home, the owner would pay about $18.41 more per month, or $220.92 annually.

The additional tax revenue would also fund ongoing operating and maintenance costs for the new library, Bennett said, "so we wouldn't have to come back and ask taxpayers for more operating money."

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Bennett said, officials will continue gathering feedback about the proposed projects, which would provide additional space and services, including designated early childhood and teen areas, study rooms, meeting rooms, more technology, drive-up services, larger collections, a multipurpose room and a makerspace.

Residents were encouraged to ask questions, share input and review project plans at open houses last week. The next open houses are 1 to 4 p.m. June 5 and 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. June 7 at the Dundee Library, and 5 to 8 p.m. June 6 at the Randall Oaks Branch Library in West Dundee.

Library officials are also working with a citizens task force, made up of 20 members tasked with asking questions and offering recommendations about the proposed projects, Bennett said.

"It's the community's library," she said. "A library reflects the values that its citizens hold."

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