Letter: Issue with editorial regarding the Kaneland IGA vote

By on December 30, 2010

Unfortunately, your Dec. 16 editorial on the Kaneland School District IGA vote in Sugar Grove repeats a simplistic and politically popular but factually inaccurate point of view about the benefits and burdens of new growth on School District tax rates.

Under the state tax cap structure, taxes for existing residents will rise higher and faster without new growth than they will with new growth. This little known fact was publicly admitted by Julie Ann Fuchs, Kaneland’s Assistant Superintendent for Business in an article in the Kane County Chronicle newspaper on Dec. 3, where she stated that lack of growth, not growth, is one of the reasons the district needs a tax levy increase.

At a time when the home building and construction industries remain mired in their deepest depression (not recession) since 1929, municipalities and other agencies such as school, park, fire and library districts all need to find ways to lower costs for new homebuyers and stimulate job creation and economic development, not further restrict them through excessive fees. Total fees in Sugar Grove now exceed $40,000 per home—a clearly unaffordable and unsustainable level.

The issues of impact fees and the benefits and burdens of new growth are both complex and nuanced and don’t lend themselves to simplistic sound bites or handy political catch phrases which tend to pit existing taxpayers against future taxpayers. The development community remains ready to constructively engage with all municipalities, the School District, and all other agencies which charge impact fees to restructure them in a fair but affordable way reflecting current economic realities.

Renewing a deeply flawed, one-size-fits-all agreement for one agency such as the School District when all the towns in the district have different and unique locations, economic development prospects and growth goals is not a wise decision.

The risk is not as you claim in your editorial, that developers will attempt to pit one town within Kaneland School District against another. The risk is that the development community will bypass all the towns in the Kaneland School District and develop in other towns and school districts who understand the benefits of growth to existing residents and structure realistic fees to encourage it.

Marv Bailey
Crown Community Development