Yorkville Considering Referendum, Rec Partnership with YMCA

City leaders exploring a $4 million referendum and partnering with the Fox Valley YMCA on an $8 million project.

A possibility for a new recreation facility is emerging as Yorkville leaders consider whether to purchase the when the lease expires next summer.

Leaders are considering seeking a $4 million bond referendum so the city could split the cost of a new recreation facility with the Fox Valley Family YMCA, whose leaders have indicated they plan to build a new facility soon regardless of the city's plans with the REC Center.

Alderman Chris Funkhouser revealed the details at Tuesday's Committee of the Whole meeting. Funkhouser led a meeting Monday with YMCA representatives, who are planning to review the idea with that organization's board members.

The group did not determine where the building would be, what it would include or how it would be managed, Funkhouser said. Some thought a November referendum would give leaders more time to plan than waiting for an April referendum, since the lease on the REC Center expires in June.

City leaders have been discussing purchasing the REC Center for months.

If approved, city would buy the REC Center building (including four rental units), equipment, business and land for $2.5 million, City Administrator Bart Olson said in a memo to City Council members. The owners, Walker Custom Homes, would finance the installment contract at 6 percent interest over 20 years, so the city would pay them $17,910 a month for a total of $4,298,586.

The city held the first of three public hearings on the potential purchase last month. Future hearings will be at the July 24 and Aug. 28 City Council meetings, which start at 7 p.m. Aldermen could vote on the contract on Sept. 11.

But Ward 2 Alderman Jackie Milschewski was worried the YMCA could end up competing with the older REC Center facility in Yorkville. YMCA leaders indicated that they were planning to build a new facility within the next few years, Milschewski said.

"The YMCA, they’re planning to build somewhere," Milschewski said.

Ward 1 Alderman George Gilson Jr. supported pursuing the join venture. He questioned the maintenance costs involved with an older building, as well as the history of annual budget deficits involved with the REC Center. He dubbed the REC Center a "money pit."

Gilson also supported taking the issue to the voters through a referendum.

“I’d rather have them have a say in it," Gilson said.

But Ward 4 Alderman Diane Teeling emphasized that selling bonds would mean a property tax increase for local residents, while the REC Center purchase is expected to be covered by other city funds. She doubted the bond referendum would pass.

Ward 1 Alderman Carlo Colosimo suggested putting two questioned to residents: one of the joint venture with the Fox Valley Family YMCA, and another on purchasing the REC Center.

"Ask the citizens: Should the city ouncil  purchase the REC Center without issuing any bonds?" Colosimo said.

The matter could be discussed at the next City Council meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. July 24 at .


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Judith Burks July 11, 2012 at 06:38 PM
As a resident who has been attending the Ad Hoc committee meetings regarding the Rec Center and also someone who has been out in the community for Many months talking with residents about their concerns over taxes I can say this is a pretty exciting time for our community. Many folks have have expressed concerns about the recreational needs of the community and they quality life. Equally important are the tax issues in our community. Along with those concerns is getting the MOST value out of every tax dollar. For me purchasing the current Rec Center building is not even a consideration. It is an aging building with many, many problems and spending over 4 million dollars to purchase a building which will probalby not our live the life of the purchase contract is just throwing the tax payers dollar down the drain. We have an opportunity to partner with the YMCA to construct a first rate recreational facility with our 4 million and only put up 1/2 the financial contribution. This is a forward thinking propostion. The city already has property that could be the proposed site. Yes, it would mean an increase in taxes - About $50 per household but the membership fee for the full membership would go from $1,440 for a family of 4 , at our current Rec Center to $684 for a family no matter how many children. Think about it and do the math. Memebers would also have access to all the YMCA facilities.
Judith Burks July 11, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Please know we are still encouraging people to take an active part in your city government. That can be accomplished many ways - attend council meetings, attend committee meetings, call your alderman and let them know your concerns or email them. This information is available on the city website. Please be assured the folks you have elected to your city government are working hard on your behalf but if you are not communicating with them they do not know what your opinion is on the issues they are dealing with. You do not need to attend the meetings to participate but you do need to communicate with them. They want to know what your concerns are and your visions for the future. This is our community, be an active part of it!
Tax poor July 11, 2012 at 08:57 PM
There is a YMCA right on the border between Plano and Yorkville now. Do we need one in every small town? The roads are terrible, homes in foreclosure, empty lots all over and you want to build a YMCA. Put a dome over the watermark!
Kibitzer July 12, 2012 at 12:59 AM
I just don't get it. I just don't get why a comment like "about $50 per household" doesn't garner tons of comments from people who might not HAVE another $50 to spare! How many people can afford the cost of belonging to the Rec Center or the YMCA? I looked at grocery ads for this week, and I can see how much the costs of food is jumping up. I look at sale ads for other items, and wonder how do families with children pay their mortgage, grocery costs, clothing costs, gasoline, of course (!), and so much more? Why aren't more people saying they cannot stand one cent more in taxes? Just saw on Drudge Report that Spain is going to charge 21% for sales taxes. Didn't read the report, but the headline is startling. Don't think it can happen here? We're sending more and more military overseas to the Middle East which is saying, pretty much, that a war is ready to break out at anytime. And we're supposed to care about entertainment? It's time to look at the bigger picture concerning our World. Forget spending more and more money. That never has been and never will be the solution to an empty soul.
Judith Burks July 12, 2012 at 01:43 AM
These are all certainly valid comments and opinions and I would have to weigh-in with Deborah and invite folks to attend the public meetings. This decision will not be made by me or any other 1 individual but by our community. We all need to be informed on the available options and another 1 of the valid options is to go with neither building choice. This would also save the community $$$.
jean July 12, 2012 at 01:38 PM
The rec center has always been too expensive for the average yorkville faimily. If you put it together with the ymca, the costs for the ymca can rise. Then what? How about the movie theater we were suppose to get. That would keep the teens off the streets.
Judith Burks July 12, 2012 at 02:27 PM
I agree Jean we definitely could use a movie theater. It's too bad that they had to tear down the one we had. There are no guarantees with any venture. I also agree that the rec center is too expensive for the average family and it's being susidized with tax $$, too. That's why I think it needs to revert back to a private healthclub. I think the YMCA is moving in the right direction and does a pretty good job of holding the costs down and assisting families. Whether or not the city decides to partner with them totally or maybe they could just donate the land for the Y to build a new facility in the community.
Audity July 12, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Agreed. Not only can I not afford another $50 in taxes, I most certainly cannot afford a $700 per year membership. Why are the failies of Yorkville being forced to pinch pennies and cut corners because government continues to squeeze more moeny out of them. Fiscal responsibility would include not spending money that people don't have and forcing another tax burden on residents. Fifty dollars or fifty cents, aren't we squeezed anough already? If my children want something from the store and I do not have the money I simply have to say "no." It's that simple. Get us out of a recession first and stop borrowing against money people don't have. Between the rising gas prices, the exploding food prices, and the out-of-control taxes, we're already burdened enough.
Scratch on Patch July 12, 2012 at 04:59 PM
The COY is using funds to lease/run the rec center which continues to operate at a deficit. So Deborah, the taxpayers are subsidizing the rec center. Anyone know if the YMCA pays property taxes or do they have an exemption?
Judith Burks July 12, 2012 at 05:56 PM
I guess you might have to consider any services utilized at the Rec Center by city paid employees, such as maintenance, snow plowing, etc. as services that are provided by tax payer dollars, wouldn't you? I could be wrong, maybe that is provided by member fees. The city has also paid the property taxes for the past 4 years, I believe. I guess I need clarification on these issues myself.
Mark A Johnson July 12, 2012 at 08:21 PM
They are exempt from taxes.
Concernedcitzen July 13, 2012 at 01:29 AM
What your saying is still a tax. Do you have facts on the true costs with this opportunity vs your $ for the rec? Have you looked across the Nation at the spirit and intent of the Y. In the beginning they went into poorer areas to help and did a great job as a "non profit" providing an oulet, or an escape.. As times have changed, so has their model to one that leaches into communities that have sound incomes and provide value to the citizens however they are a tax drain on those communities and do nothing to generate revenue for the communities. Also struggle to update facilities over time without asking cities for more $. Many will not open up their balance sheet and there is a reason. Remember they are to be a "non profit". If we didn't have a Y on the corner of Plano and Yorkville and also in neighboring Oswego, then I would say let's look at. To me it seems their trying to take advantage of a situation in Yorkville where it warrants more of a win for them than a true win for all involved. Don't get me wrong, the Y does great things, but so do the hard working small business owners that do pay taxes personal as well as business which are very high. This is not just about a fitness center, it's about a diversified program the city offers which just happens to have a fitness center within it. I trust our elected officials will tread cautiously, have facts and not make fast decisions which may take Yorkville from a land of opportunity to a land of what could have been.
Marooned July 13, 2012 at 07:02 AM
Don't forget the subsidized memberships for city employees not disclosed in this discussion. I am sick and tired of getting bills for the stupid, wasteful spending habits of others in this town. I am now forced to spend more on taxes each month than I spend on food and clothing. The tax burden in Yorkville is choking our future like a boa constrictor chokes a victim. Have you wondered about the demographic changes in our town...fewer owner-occupied properties, more crime (more gang grafitti just today on buildings by Rush-Copley), a decrease in property values and perceived value, the flight of infrastructure businesses replaced by pawn shops, drug paraphernalia stores, gambling (may be gone for now). My rambling point is certain people think they can buy a soul for this town, the way these same people try to buy a life and cultural legacy for themselves with conspicuous consumption. It comes off looking and feeling cheap, tasteless, and doesn't work--never has--doesn't attract smart and successful businesses, doesn't promote community, but it does leave a vacuum that seems to always fill up with the vaporous elements of society such as opportunistic distressed property investors and desperate economic refugees from other failed communities. There are towns without bikepaths and free entertainment that have strong families and proud citizens, a unified moral character and a genuine civic soul. Towns that hire their citizens first, and spend only what they can afford.
Concernedcitzen July 13, 2012 at 11:13 AM
Some good points here, see my comments above, Thanks for voicing
Kibitzer July 13, 2012 at 11:13 AM
Marooned, I hear you! Excellent points!
Judith Burks July 13, 2012 at 11:58 AM
The folks commenting on this posting definitely have their finger on the problem tho i don't agree with the comments regarding the Y. I think they are doing a great job and if you look at their board of directors they are business people in the community. As to their books being open, I'm sure they are monitored just like any other not-for-profit. As for them being in competition with other recreational and health oriented providers - I see the Rec Center in direct competion with them. Why does the city need to provide these services when we have a YMCA already doing that and doing it quite well? BTW - they do have a mechanism for financial support for those who need it. The Rec Center is also taking adult members away form the private buisnesses. Now if you could say they are doing this at a fee that makes it more easiy accessed by the community than I would say YEA but they do not. They charge private healhclub prices for their membership fees. You may say so what, it's your choice to go there and indeed it is. The question is why is the city involved in it and it is not run as a private business. I've heard the argument about the rental units bringing $$ in for the Rec Center support. The city does not need to be a landlord. And by the way, That does not always go smoothly and you do not always have tenants - just look at all the empty units in this community.
Judith Burks July 13, 2012 at 12:16 PM
Long winded today. I also need to make a comment about the city using the school facilities for it;s classes. I keep hearing the comment the school district wants to charge too much. This is not true. I have seen the agreement between the city and the school district and it clearly says NO CHARGE for the use of the school facilities. There is an inkind exchange of some police support. Now scheduling can be a challenge but so can any job. People keep getting stuck on OLD disagreements and they need to get over it. If every time I try to talk with you I drag out my bag of grievences then we will never get anywhere. How about starting with the things that work well and move on from there? There are ways the city can support these services without buying the Rec Center or increasing the taxes and they can support the Y's growth plan, too. The YMCA does have a plan to build a new facility and it currently does not include assistance by the city. Residents need to know this new Y facility is coming even if the city does not participate. Then we will have this aging building and years to pay the mortgage with flagging membership support. Something to think about. Let your elected officials know how you feel and what your thinking. Give them a call or send them an email. And definitely VOTE! It's your community.
Concernedcitzen July 14, 2012 at 01:02 AM
Judith, The Y or at least some of their Board members stated they were coming to Yorkville no matter what but when challenged retracted their statement. If they are coming like you said, where is their land?, Where are their finances, why would they propose to work with us with an opt out in 5 years to build ours up or wreck it and build their own? Dig a little deeper, FACT The Y has tried this with other Cities even in IL and when it didn't work left the City and the community high and dry. The facts are out there The why uses the example of one working in Las Vegas....is that the only one that worked in the US. With a city Hmmm Las Vegas Yorkville I see how similar they are. Thank you for entertaining us and yes we as citizens will voice and VOTE with facts.
Judith Burks July 14, 2012 at 02:43 AM
Dear concerned cititzen, I appreciate your concern. I'm concerned, too. That's why I'm on here. This conversation with the YMCA is SO in the infancy of conversation. It's only about possiblities at this point. No need for anyone to get concerned but a great time for dialog. Stay interested and providing input.
Judith Burks July 14, 2012 at 02:50 AM
The land is something they are working on and at this point it is undetermined exactly where they are going. Sorry if that was misleading. They are going to build somewhere but not sure where as of yet. Yorkville doesn't need to be the place but it could be. They had land in the Grande Reserve but then the situation with the developer went south. Just to clarify - they didn't say they were coming to Yorkville. They said they are definitely going to build - location yet to be determined.
Concerned Citizen July 14, 2012 at 03:26 AM
Thank you for admitting that you were possibly misleading. We all want what's best for our community.


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