Sugar Grove library asks for funds to run new library

By on March 26, 2009

by Susan O’Neill
The Sugar Grove Public Library District will ask voters to increase funding for the operating expenses of the new building scheduled to open in August 2009. The 27,430-square-foot building, currently under construction, is located on a five-acre site at Municipal Drive and Snow Street.

The voters approved the increase in funds in 2004 to build the library, but have rejected a referendum that would increase funding to pay for the operation of the new building eight times. According to Library Director Beverly Holmes Hughes, the bond rate that residents are paying for the building is less than half the projected rate. However, the money from the approved building fund cannot legally be used for library operations.

The library is asking for an operating increase of 20 cents per $100 of assessed equalized value, which translates to an increase of $67 for the homeowner of a $200,000 house. That owner currently pays $188 in annual taxes for the library.

When the operating expenses referendum did not pass in November 2006, library hours were cut from 58 to 47 hours per week. Some of the children’s programs and all adult programs were suspended, due to staffing, scheduling and budget restraints.

Hughes said it was difficult to make the cuts and changes in the library’s hours, and if voters fail to pass the current referendum, additional cuts are likely.

This is because the same funds that are available to operate the current 6,000 square-foot building are what is available to operate the new 27,430-square-foot building. The new building will bring with it an increase in the utilities, insurance, staffing, maintenance and other operational costs.

Hughes said that even if the referendum passes in April, the library will not see the additional level of funding until July 2010.

According to a Kane County tax computation report from April 2008, the Sugar Grove Library’s operating rate is one of the lowest in Kane County. At 9 cents per $100 of equalized assessed value of a home, it is only higher than one library, Maple Park, which has a rate of 5 cents per $100. By contrast, Elburn’s Town and Country Library’s operating rate is 21 cents per $100, and Geneva’s operating rate is 26 cents per $100.

Passing the referendum will mean the library will be able to meet the insurance, maintenance and utility bills for the new facility, the addition of at least 11 hours to the library’s schedule, more staff added for providing services, additional library programs for the community and more books added to the collection.

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    April 2, 2009 at 1:10 PM

    Seems the Sugar Grove library is a bit big for a community that has not grown enough in size to support it. If the library needs more money-then they should charge fees to those who actually use it. I own a house-I am single-and I do not feel I should pay as much as those with full families utilizing it. The fact I pay for everyone’s schools etc. is unfair enough! Also, hate to say it-but libraries along with newspapers and the Post Office will soon be obsolete thanks to the internet.

  2. sgmom

    April 2, 2009 at 2:45 PM

    single, I guess you don’t understand the nature of property taxes. it is not who lives in the house, or how many. it is for the property site! the notion of a library being obsolete is pretty far out there. the use at the library has increased, not decreased. also, when constructing public buildings, you want to build them long enough to last the community for 30 or more years. also, the library district is much larger than the village limits and encompasses a larger population.

  3. Tim Wilson

    April 8, 2009 at 8:51 PM

    The library district is comparable to others in the area. North Aurora being fairly close in size. the funding for the Sugar Grove Library District is way out of scope with other towns.

    If you own property your tax rate is based on the value of what you own. The taxes are not a secret only disclosed after you actually buy your home.

    I was single when I moved to Sugar Grove. The reason I bought my house was due to the low taxes. Yes they have gone up since then I researched my property before I bought it. If you feel that its unfair for you to pay property taxes I would suggest renting.

    I would like to agree with you about post offices but I have yet to find a way to email a package. (Post Offices by the way are not funded by tax dollars)

    I dont know what you consider as a “Full Family” but if you bought a 5 bedroom house and dont have kids then yes you are paying the same. If you have a townhome then you are paying less.

    Do you think public education is an unfair burden to the community? What are the costs in having an uneducated population?

    If you live in the Kaneland School District I want to thank you for funding the new middle school that my daughter will be attending. Did you go to public schools?

    Also I have one last question. Do you vote? If so you have every right to complain. I would hope you did but with the dismal turnout there is a 1 in 4 chance that you didnt vote for village trustees or president and a 1-5 chance you didnt vote on the library refendum. You have as much of a voice in what gets done in your tax districts as anyone else.