Elburn/Kaneland IGA approved as board president breaks tied vote
by Lynn Meredith
ELBURN—Village Board President Dave Anderson on Monday broke the tie and carried the motion for Elburn to enter into an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with the Kaneland School District.
Trustees Jerry Schmidt, Bill Grabarek and Dave Gualdoni voted against signing an agreement to require developers to pay land/cash dedications and school impact fees. They opposed the IGA based on the concern that the playing field among municipalities in the Kaneland district would not be level if only Elburn agrees to make developers pay.
“We’ve got concerns. We’re all afraid of being undercut by another municipality,” Grabarek said. “The fear is that some other municipality in the district pushes for lower fees with the school district. They would be driving down fees and putting a greater pinch on the taxpayers and the school district.”
The parties spent a year or more of working to get all eight municipalities to sign an IGA with the school district. The IGA ensures that the schools would get enough money to meet the additional financial and user demands on the district and its facilities and services.
All but one municipality—Sugar Grove—agreed to sign.
“We passed a resolution in support of the IGA,” said Cheryl Krauspe, president of the Kaneland School Board. “We worked hard, and we thought we had it done. We thought we had everyone on the same page. It would have made things a lot easier at this juncture. If we compromise with one municipality, the taxpayers will feel it. We don’t have the authority that the villages do to set these fees. We just paid for the study of what the real costs are.”
The issue of the IGA is a hot one because the village is in the process of setting impact fees and land/cash requirements for the Elburn Station development. Sho-Deen representative Dave Patzelt said he believes the fees are too high and based on a faulty method. A new study conducted by Roger Dahlstrom last year had figures higher than what Patzelt feels the true cost of educating a Kaneland student is.
On a four-bedroom house costing $250,000, the impact fee the developer would pay would be $6,000, the maximum allowed. For lower priced homes, the fee would be 75 percent of the CIP. The developer would not pay a real estate tax lag. In all, this represents a 25 percent reduction from the 2011 IGA, which all municipalities, with the exception of Sugar Grove, agreed to sign.
Those on the board who opposed the IGA objected to language that made renegotiation somewhat unclear, and the fact that Elburn was the only party in the agreement.
“What’s the incentive to come to Elburn?” Trustee Jerry Schmidt asked. “If we approve this, we’re throwing three years work (to get the Elburn Station development approved) out the window. It’s not a level playing field, and I just can’t vote for it.”
Hastert agreed that if all municipalities weren’t party to it, the agreement was imperfect.
“If we sign a two-party agreement, everyone else will ignore this IGA. This is a hot issue; the time is now (to make agreements with developers for impact fees),” Hastert said. “Our agreement may be the catalyst to get the others to sign on.”
Ken Anderson voted to enter into the IGA based on the concern that the taxpayers will be asked to pay for schools if the developers don’t.
“We need to protect our existing residents,” Anderson said.
With the board vote deadlocked at 3-3, President Anderson served as the tie breaker, voting in favor of the IGA. In the case of a tied vote, the president is allowed a vote.
“We’re making sure that the developer pays its fair share to educate our kids. We’re setting a precedent,” he said.