Monday, February 1, 2016

Response to Anonymous Email about Referenda

With two referenda before the Plainfield Library’s voters on March 15, getting information out to residents on the proposed plan is a priority for Library Trustees and staff. The Library offers a variety of ways to ensure all have an opportunity to get answers to any questions they may have about the proposed plan: drop in Q&A, representatives at community events, email form for questions, special newsletters and more.

The following response is based on an email reported to be circulating among residents, as forwarded to a Library official. The text in red is the unedited email, as forwarded. The text in black is answers to questions, clarifications and context.
­­­­­­­­­­­­Subject: FW: Library
20 year/39M Bond for project ref
  • True.
The building bond question on the ballot authorizes a 20 year bond for $39,000,000 to build a new library, including buying property, tearing down the old building, making a new parking lot, buying furnishings and equipping the new building, including servers and computers.

100% funded by levy increase ref
  • Partly true.
The building bond portion of the increase is 100% funded by property taxes and will be paid off in 20 years, then automatically removed from your tax bill. The bond repayment tax rate generally decreases over time as new property is annexed or develops, spreading the fixed payment amount over a larger tax base. The bond rate on the existing Library was 0.1657 in its first year, but dropped to 0.0094 by the final (20th) year. Local funding match is required for the Live and Learn Construction Grant for which the Library would apply:
The limiting rate question is for an increase of 19% (0.0039 mils) to operate the proposed library, which is 3 times larger than the current building. Property taxes comprise approximately 85% of the Library’s annual operating revenue. The limiting tax rate increase is ongoing for the operation of the Library, subject to the tax cap after the first year.
Building Going from 27,160 SQ Feet to 72,000 SQ feet
Parking lot to 170 spots
  • True.
The estimated size and number of parking spaces listed are correct. The design will be finalized following a successful referendum. An updated Space Needs Analysis in 2015 initially called for 94,000 sq ft, but was reduced by the Library Board of Trustees to contain costs.

1989 ref failed, failed 1993, failed in 2009 for a 100,000 SQ ft facility reduced from 130,000 ft
  • True.
The three referenda listed were for different purposes. The building bond referendum in 1989 failed. A revised building bond referendum passed in 1990 with the support of the community for the library and its services, resulting in the construction of the current Library. The 1993 limiting tax rate referendum, to operate the new Library that was 10 times larger than the old, failed. Following that failure, half of the staff were laid off, the materials budget frozen and hours of operation slashed to 48 per week (68 per week today). Restoration of services occurred as the building boom began in the late 1990’s. The 2009 limiting tax rate referendum was to fund both building bonds and operation for a renovated and expanded main library and a new branch. The original Space Needs Analysis showed a need for 130,000 sq ft of Library space. The Library Board of Trustees proposed a plan for 100,000 sq ft total library space. Not listed is the 1988 referendum to merge the McClester-Nimmons Village of Plainfield Free Public Library and Plainfield Township Library into the Plainfield Public Library District and expand its service boundaries, which passed.

Marketing Scheme-
1)Hired a firm and haven’t disclosed amount paid to market Ref/design architecture
  • False.
No firm has been hired to market the referendum. The contract for Nagle Hartray Architects for pre-referendum services through schematic design only was approved on April 15, 2015 for $99,000.00. Graham Harwood from CCS International was contracted in January 2015 as owners’ representative with pre-referendum cost estimating for $42,400.00. The Plainfield Library’s monthly financial reports are included in the Board packets posted on the Citizens Information Center web page: Also included in the packets is supporting documentation for Action Items on the agenda, including contracts.

2) Message is that average property tax will only go up $200.00 per year- that is from a sample in the lower end homes in the Bolingbrook Portion of the district- Homes in Plainfield Township that fall in the Lib District est. $350-400 per year,  est. Wheatland $400-650 per year.
  • False.
American Fact Finder, which is the latest census information, was the source for median home values in 2014 (most recent year available). Those were:
Village of Plainfield - $289,300
Plainfield Township - $193,500
Wheatland Township - $358,400
The estimated increase for the median home value in the Village of Plainfield is $172.19, for Plainfield Township is $111.38 and for Wheatland Township is $216.04. Homeowners determine their own home’s estimated increase using the cost calculator found here: 

3) FUD- Fear of Uncertainty and doubt- if it doesn’t pass, capital improvements that have been ignored/not budgeted for
  • False.
What happens if the referenda fail is based not on fear, uncertainty or doubt, but fact. Capital needs have been at the forefront of the Library’s budget and planning process. The Building Evaluation 2-2012 outlines the base capital needs for keeping the current facility operational in the long term. That report, along with Strategic Plan 2011 to 2015, Strategic Plan 2016 and Beyond, and Long Range Budget Plan FY14-FY17 can all be found in the Other Documents section of the Board of Trustees web page here:

Page 72/76 has a staff shower room in the schematics
  • True
The Schematic Building Program shows a staff shower room with an allotment of 75 sq ft, which was intended to also serve for performers in the large event space, combining meeting rooms to seat 290. With the Schematic Building Program listing 77,000 sq ft of space, the final design process, following successful referenda, will include trade-offs or combining spaces, such as adding a shower stall to an accessible restroom. Green design, if the Library Board decides to pursue LEED certification, includes features like a shower room for staff to support bicycling to work.

Drive through book drop causing traffic/safety management- much more parking lot space required
  • False.
A drive up book return and service window eliminate the hazard of cars blocking traffic flow in front of the building in order to return materials, as seen with the current building, and provides safe, convenient access. Delivery and receiving are also accessed by the service drive in the rear. Maintaining an adequate amount of parking was the #1 public comment received about the downtown site. Again, the design will be finalized following successful referenda.
Exponential expansion of space for programs that will compete with the private sector- some of which are already offered by the YMCA
  • Misleading.
Program attendance has grown exponentially – 2,191% since 1993, the first year program attendance was tracked. Classes and programs are a huge part of 21st century public library service. These services reflect the changing world we live in, utilizing the latest technology and responding to the evolving needs of our community. The YMCA and private sector businesses may offer some similar programs, but their missions are different. A public library by definition provides access to knowledge, information and works of the imagination and gives that access freely to all. The Library partners with public and private organizations to further the reach of each by pooling resources when it makes sense to do so.

No scientific Poll showing the residents support this proposal when given the true scope of the project. – they were given a push poll
  • False.
Public Research Group, from Naperville, worked with the Library Board of Trustees and staff, first to determine what information they were seeking and then how to get that information from respondents. The benefit of using a professional survey company is their expertise in developing questions that are unbiased and follow up to confirm the answers given. The report on that telephone survey can be viewed here:

No strategic planning/capital replacement plan- ED since 2000, ADA/Building code violations need attention
  • False.
As item 3) above shows, the Library Board of Trustees has worked diligently to maintain a building with myriad structural and design issues. Compliance with full current building code is triggered when a significant investment is made in the existing building. Addressing the work identified in the Building Program 2-2012 would trigger this compliance.

P 76 to see the shower room planned for the library

  • Links to the Library’s web page.

The entire planning process and documentation is available on the Building & Expansion Planning web page:

If you have further questions, stop by a drop in question and answer session, ask a Library representative at a community event, submit questions online via the web form, call, text or chat with a librarian. Dates and times of drop in sessions and Library representatives at community events are available here:

To submit your questions directly to the Library:

You can also call Library Director Julie M. Milavec at 815-439-2874 or visit the Library’s website at


cc said...

Could you post a diagram on FB that overlays the proposed plan atop the current building and parking? I'm having a hard time figuring out where the space is coming from.

Julie Milavec said...

We do not have a site plan that overlays the two, but the existing site plan is on page 7 and proposed site plan on page 19 of the summary presentation:
The Library owns the first house to the north of the current parking lot along Route 59. There are 4 additional properties to the north along Route 59 contracted for purchase after successful referenda. The existing site plan on page 7 shows only the first two additional properties, as those were already under contract when the site plan was drawn.