DeKalb Park District property transfer could use another look

DeKalb Park District (DPD) passed a resolution last summer to convey park property to City of DeKalb for its new city hall. The transfer has since occurred under an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) between the two.

City of DeKalb paid DPD a dollar for the property known as the Nehring building. Possibly illegally by ignoring the Park District Code of the Illinois Compiled Statutes. Definitely unfairly as we bear witness, for example, to DPD’s financial struggles to keep its golf courses open. 

DPD acknowledges it must go to referendum to sell a golf course – there’s the Park District Code for you – but somehow a virtual freebie to the city under IGA is fine? What the two parties did was cite other authorities for the conveyance, the Local Government Property Transfer Act and the Intergovernmental Cooperation Act. Here’s what the Property Transfer Act says:

If such real estate shall be held by the transferor municipality without restriction, the said municipality shall have power to grant or convey such real estate or any portion thereof to the transferee municipality upon such terms as may be agreed upon by the corporate authorities of both municipalities…

“If…without restriction…” So, isn’t the next step to check the statutes that apply to the transferor to see what restrictions it might have? City of DeKalb might not have any restrictions, but the city is not the transferor. DPD is, and Article 10 of the Park District Code has a lot to say about it. Continue reading DeKalb Park District property transfer could use another look

DeKalb Park District did not endorse the Annie Glidden North plan proposal. Here’s why

The DeKalb Park District (DPD) did not endorse City of DeKalb’s Annie Glidden North proposal.

The resolution on the issue, unanimously passed during a special meeting Tuesday night, reads as follows:

NOW BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of Commissioners of the DeKalb Park District, County of DeKalb, and State of Illinois, as follows:

That the DeKalb Park District does in good faith and through its cooperative nature support the City of DeKalb in its deveopment of a plan for the revitalization of the Annie Glidden North neighborhood and will actively participate in the development of the plan for the benefit of the residents of the Park District.

The commissioners support “a” plan that they “will actively participate in.”

DPD had the special meeting to hear the city’s presentation on the plan proposal. It was the only chance they had to hear the proposal before the DeKalb city council considers it next week.

That’s right, City of DeKalb plans to push through the proposal without ever consulting DPD, even though DPD operates four parks within the area designated as Annie Glidden North. Apparently, the city thought DPD would just rubberstamp the proposal.

I honestly can’t wait to read the minutes of this meeting. According to attendees, commissioners did not exactly mince words.

Council members: We love the new you, and we want you to succeed. Please remove Annie Glidden North from the agenda for the time being, and take steps to mend fences with the park district.

And please, take a good hard look at the unforced errors of your city manager.

DeKalb Park District Position on Consolidation with City of DeKalb

FACT: Sometime last month, DeKalb Mayor John Rey approached Phil Young, who is the president of the DeKalb Park District, about the possibility of consolidating the two units of government. As you may already know, local government consolidation is a hot topic at the state level and a project of our lieutenant governor, Evelyn Sanguinetti, which evidently has inspired His Honor.

FACT: DeKalb Park District would rather not be absorbed by City of DeKalb. Continue reading DeKalb Park District Position on Consolidation with City of DeKalb

Park District Wants to Fix the Pool with Its “Revolving Credit Line”

In a story that appears to be designed to make us feel ashamed about questioning the destruction of recreation space that has become important to the community (I’ll comment further on the land swap deal another time), the Chronicle drops in this tidbit:

About that pool: Although the DeKalb Park District won’t be building the aquatic center complex envisioned in 2010, Capek said there is a plan to fix the pool at Hopkins Park.

The pool there now was built almost 40 years ago and is nearing the end of its useful life. The park district pursued a grant for the work, but missed out in the face of stiff competition, Capek said.

“The board made the commitment to do that within existing financing,” Capek said. “The project will move forward at end of pool season in 2014 and they hope to have it open for the 2015 season.”

Unlike the old plan, this time park officials plan to save money from their annual bond issue to put toward the pool improvements. The new pool will fit within the footprint of the existing pool, Capek said.

The park board has agreed to allow staff to stat moving forward with the project, and it should be discussed more at the park board’s budget meeting Dec. 6, Capek said.

It so happens that the McHenry County Blog has just explained well this lovely loophole that park districts have made an annual ritual: Continue reading Park District Wants to Fix the Pool with Its “Revolving Credit Line”

Park District Issues Bonds Every Year

A few weeks ago, DeKalb Park District Director Cindy Capek was quoted in the paper as saying DPD issues bonds every year. I mentally filed this because it was news to me. (Also, I’ve been meaning to keep a closer eye on any local public body whose board thinks it’s OK to have an admitted thief as president.) Anyhoo, I finally got around to asking about it. Continue reading Park District Issues Bonds Every Year

Park District Prez Owes Us

I have had a very high opinion of Matt Volk for a long time. He is one of the good guys: a cheerful, caring, can-do type person who gives hundreds of volunteer hours of service to his community, year after year.

But as president of the DeKalb Park District board, Volk owes his public an explanation of his guilty plea on a theft charge, or his resignation from the position, or maybe both. The one thing he should not do is to pretend nothing has happened.

Biernacki: “Widespread Community Support” for Skating Rink

Northern Star‘s article on the impending demise of DeKalb’s synthetic skating rink:

Because The Skate School was not at fault for the decline in patronage, Biernacki said he is sure the council will relieve the contract.

“We pursued [the ice rink] with widespread community support,” Biernacki said. “That support did not translate into patrons.”

Biernacki said there are many choices for the council to make in regards to the future of the ice rink. “We need to look at all of the options,” Biernacki said. “We could reprogram the rink or mothball it for a while. It’s still up in the air.”

Oh, my. There’s a whopper packed right in the middle. Let’s pull it out and eyeball it for a min. Continue reading Biernacki: “Widespread Community Support” for Skating Rink

Williams Architects & DeKalb Park District

Williams Architects Ltd. completed the pool facilities conditions report for the DeKalb Park District that led to the creation of a political action committee (PAC) and a $15 million referendum on a new water park for DeKalb.

Because of our experience with ReNew Our Schools PAC’s having obtained contributions from the architect and the bond company who would later benefit from District 428 school construction, it seems prudent to ask whether Williams Architects contributed to the Hopkins Pool Referendum Committee. So far, the Hopkins PAC doesn’t seem to have filed a Statement of Organization with the State Board of Elections; and even if it has/does, we may not see financial reports until July.

However, for whatever it’s worth, Williams has a contribution history. Continue reading Williams Architects & DeKalb Park District

Park District & TIF

Here are facts obtained recently from the DeKalb Park District about its agreements with the City of DeKalb:

  • Once upon a time, the Park District would submit requests to the City for reimbursements of Tax Increment Financing (TIF)-eligible expenses incurred on a project-by-project basis. The projects had to occur within TIF districts and there was no guarantee of reimbursement.
    Continue reading Park District & TIF

  • Park District Finances & Financing

    Meeting minutes for the September 10, 2009 Park Board “study session” included a presentation of the Independent Auditor’s Report of the FY 2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).

    [Brian LeFevre of Sikich, LLP] reported that both the District’s Golf Course and Hopkins enterprise funds were in a negative working capital position requiring them to borrow cash from other District funds.

    LeFevre noted that these deficits could affect the wellness of other funds.

    Commissioner Mason inquired how the losses compared to last year. LeFevre stated that they were less than last year, but recommended that the District review and measure the full operating cost of the enterprise funds to manage expenses.

    LeFevre explained that due to the decline in market value, additional contributions will be required of the District to the IMRF Fund in the next few years. In FY 2009, funds were transferred to the IMRF Fund from the General Fund to place it back in balance. [Emphasis added.]

    A bit later in the program, Aquatics Center financing options were discussed. Continue reading Park District Finances & Financing