The DeKalb Public Library (DKPL) apparently pulled a CYA maneuver in an attempt to save its building program at its regular meeting Wednesday night, according to DeKalb County Online.
But first, let’s have a little light reading. The following is a piece of the Illinois Local Library Act that pertains to library buildings, 75 ILCS 5. Emphases added are mine.
Sec. 5-1. Whenever the board of trustees of any public library organized under this Act determines to erect a building to be used as a library, or to purchase a site for the same, or to purchase a building, or to repair, remodel or improve an existing library building, or build an addition thereto, or to furnish necessary equipment therefor, or to acquire library materials such as books, periodicals, films, recordings and electronic data storage and retrieval facilities in connection with either the purchase or construction of a new library building or the repair, remodeling, or improvement of an existing library building or the expansion of an existing library building, or to accumulate a fund to accomplish any of such purposes, or to do any or all of these things, the trustees may proceed as follows:
If a new building is to be erected, or an existing library building is to be remodeled, repaired, improved or an addition thereto erected, or necessary equipment is to be furnished, or any or all of these things are to be done, the board of trustees shall cause a plan to be prepared and an estimate to be made of the cost. If a site or a building is to be purchased, the trustees shall cause an estimate to be made of the cost of such site or building.
The trustees may then determine the funds that will be available from accumulations, and the amount to be raised from a bond issue, by annual certification, or by a mortgage. The trustees shall further determine the term, not exceeding 20 years, over which they shall spread the collection of the cost of erecting a new building, or remodeling, repairing, improving an existing library building or erecting an addition thereto, or furnishing necessary equipment, or purchasing and improving a site or building, or the acquisition of library materials such as books, periodicals, recordings and electronic data storage and retrieval facilities in connection with either the purchase or construction of a new library building or the expansion of an existing library building, or any or all of these things.
The board shall make a record of their proceedings and determinations and transmit a copy thereof to the corporate authorities for their consideration and approval.
According to DeKalb County Online, last night DKPL passed an “ordinance” approving accumulation of funds for capital improvements. This is wrong on at least 2 levels:
1) Records obtained by DeKalb County Online under the Freedom of Information Act clearly demonstrate that DKPL secretly has been accumulating funds for a building program for several years without having first sought the approval of corporate authorities, and
2) DKPL is a component unit of the City of DeKalb. The City is the “corporate authorities” that must approve DKPL’s venture, and it has not.
The City of DeKalb should not approve the accumulation of funds because it was done under a cloud of Open Meetings Act violations and in usurpation of its authority as well.
Furthermore, as a remedy DeKalb should refuse to approve the latest DKPL tax levy proposal until the accumulation amount is stripped of it, and insist on a refund to taxpayers of DKPL’s ill-gotten surpluses of the past few years.
For previous posts about DKPL shenanigans, check the DeKalb Public Library tag.