Task force recommends downsizing Fox River Valley library project

 
 
Updated 8/22/2016 3:45 PM
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  • A citizens task force is recommending the Fox River Valley Public Library District reduce the size, scope and cost of a redevelopment project, which includes renovating the Dundee Library in East Dundee.

      A citizens task force is recommending the Fox River Valley Public Library District reduce the size, scope and cost of a redevelopment project, which includes renovating the Dundee Library in East Dundee. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

• This story was updated Aug. 21 to say the owner of a home with a market value of $100,000 would pay approximately $70 more in property taxes each year to the Fox River Valley Library District.

A citizens task force is recommending the Fox River Valley Public Library District reduce the size, scope and cost of a proposed project to build a new library and improve an existing one.

The initial proposal, expected to cost roughly $40 million, included acquiring land and constructing a roughly 75,000-square-foot library in West Dundee, as well as renovating the existing Dundee Library in East Dundee.

But many residents, including a majority of those who responded to a community survey, expressed concerns over the project's price tag and the tax burden it could place on residents, library Director Roxane Bennett said.

The task force, made up of 21 residents, is now suggesting the library district downsize plans for both projects.

Though designs have not yet been drawn up, Bennett said, renovation plans for the 30,000-square-foot Dundee Library would likely focus mostly on necessary improvements. Additionally, she said, the proposed West Dundee facility, which is still slated for Randall Road and Recreation Drive, is instead expected to be the same size as the Dundee Library.

The library district would then close the current 5,000-square-foot Randall Oaks Branch Library, which rents a space at the Dundee Township Park District recreation center across Recreation Drive from the proposed site.

"This would establish equitable service on both sides of the district," Bennett said, noting the West Dundee building could be expanded in the future if necessary.

To cover construction, renovation and operation costs of the downsized proposal, the task force recommends a property tax increase of 21 cents per $100 of taxable value. Funding the original proposal would have required a property tax hike of 36 cents per $100 of taxable value, officials said.

The library board will decide Tuesday whether to place a referendum question on the November ballot asking for the tax increase, Bennett said. If voters approve the measure, she said, the owner of a home with a market value of $100,000 would pay approximately $70 more in property taxes each year.

As a result, the library district would collect an additional $3.2 million in annual property tax revenue, doubling what it collects currently, Bennett said. About half the money generated from the tax hike would go toward building the new library, while the other half would go toward staffing and maintaining it.

Though not as complete as the original project, the downsized proposal would still allow the library district to provide a "substantial improvement in service," Bennett said.

"Ultimately, it's up to the community. It's the community's library," she said. "And if I can address the concerns and the desire for better, increased services in a way the community feels is affordable, then I feel great about that."

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