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Yorkville Officials to Seek New Recreation Direction

Mayor asks Parks and Recreation Board members to plan new recreation options during a special joint meeting of the board and aldermen.

Yorkville Mayor Gary Golinski charged members of the Parks and Recreation Board to consider new options for city-offered recreation without including the REC Center in its plans in the wake of voter opposition to a plan to purchase the building.

“The park board is going to have to look at new options and move forward … I consider the purchase agreement dead,” Golinski said in a special meeting of the city council and board members.

Golinski called the meeting before Thanksgiving so city officials could explore future recreation offerings and options. However, much of Tuesday’s meeting included continued support for the purchase of the REC Center by members of the Parks Board. Parks representatives touted the fiscal sense of the purchase. Kelly Sedgewick said the REC Center largely funds itself through membership fees and those dollars would also be used to purchase the facility without increasing taxes.

According to unofficial voter results, 52 percent of voters in the 19 precincts in Yorkville rejected the question. Election results show 3,704 voters opposed the idea, while 3,408 voters, or 47.9 percent supported the plan.

Board members questioned whether or not the nearly 300 vote difference between those opposing the purchase and those supporting it was enough of a mandate for the city to abandon the idea of purchasing the REC Center. Board member Amy Cesich suggested many voters who opposed the purchase did not understand the language of the referendum.

Alderman Rose Spears took umbrage at that comment saying the people of Yorkville are not “morons.” She said the voters opposed the purchase and she would support their wishes.

The REC Center houses the Recreation Department administrative staff, fitness equipment and programs, a pool and several recreation classes, although some recreation programs are offered at city parks and at local schools.

Board members also said the REC Center allows for the city to offer more programs for less cost. Sedgewick said they can offer approximately three times the number of programs at less cost since the city entered an agreement with the REC Center.

Without the REC Center Golinski said the city will have to reduce the number of recreational programs it offers.

The winter catalogue was set to go to the printers prior to the election, but that has been delayed until city officials can formulate a plan on what can be offered, said City Administrator Bart Olson,

Olson said the city would take a “financial hit” of approximately $500,000 over the next few years due to lost REC Center revenues as well as other costs. Terminating the contract with the REC Center will cost the city about $150,000 including $50,000 for wear and tear of the building and a $100,000 out-clause in the lease, Olson said.

Golinski said the costs of terminating the lease with the REC Center will actually take money from infrastructure projects, rather than injecting them with funds as he said some residents believe.

Prior to city officials discussing options, numerous residents spoke out against any plans to purchase the REC Center. Ralph LaGrande said the REC Center has not made a profit and the city should not undertake any additional costs for upkeep, especially in uncertain economic times.

The REC Center's budget, which remained separate from the Parks and Recreation Department's surplus budget, has run an annual deficit since the city began operating it in 2008. The annual deficit was about $77,000 in Fiscal Year 2009, about $50,200 in Fiscal Year 2010, and about $68,000 in the most recent fiscal year, Patch reported after the city voted to discontinue its lease.

The REC Center currently has 1,400 members. Over 3,000 people use the facility every month, according to city documents. In the wake the referendum Olson said a number of members have terminated their REC Center membership since the facility would likely be shut down.

“There was life before the REC Center, there will be life after the REC Center. It is what is is, but I don’t understand it,” Golinski said as the meeting adjourned.

terry November 28, 2012 at 05:42 PM
yes i want to know why its gonna costb 600000 to close it. but i suspect thats written in the sweet lease the walkers got from the city council in 07
Tim November 28, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Welcome to the result of having poorly informed voters. This is the same uninformed voter who DECLINED to save money by using electricity aggregation. The reason for a 'no' vote was because in their words; "it will cost more in the long run because the savings will be made up for in higher rates" Never mind that this statement is demonstrably false, and that it shows a complete lack of understanding how the process even works. These uninformed voters did not even know that there are 2 parts to their electric bill, a supply and a delivery part. They were voting on merely the supply portion of their bill, whether they knew it or not.(obviously, they did not know). And basing their no vote on the delivery side, which was not even being affected by the vote(and never would be). Instead of giving themselves the ability to chose their own supplier, they chose to vote to KEEP the monopoly power of the current pricing now, that is exclusively set by the state government. You need not look any further to see why your town is going down the drain... the residents don't even know what they want. This town is going out of its way to destroy itself. The sad part, is that these people think they are 'saving'. That is the furthest thing from the reality, they are actually destroying the community by their own uninformed and shortsighted actions.
terry November 28, 2012 at 05:52 PM
tim sounds like you have a financial interest in the rec center or related to someone who does? when is the last time you bought a commercial property?
Kibitzer November 28, 2012 at 06:04 PM
My temper is starting to flare as I re-read the above article. I don't think the author gave a very good overview of what actually transpired. There were excellent points made as to why this Rec center deal is and was and will always be a losing proposition. It may cost a little to get rid of but I am willing to see a little spent to stop the huge amount it was going to cost to purchase this white elephant. If it was the major money maker it is touted to be, (perhaps a little later?), why did not the Walkers keep it? Why isn't someone else interested in buying it? We with common sense know why..... because taxpayers are the easiest targets for those who have a bit of greed in their hearts. I don't know what the final vote on this will be, but I will be very grateful to those who stood their ground in this matter, and will continue to hold on to sensible approach to money matters.
Audity November 28, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Great point, JM. It's interesting how some elected officials can say "it makes no sense to me" or blame it on "misinformed voters" (like we're all stupid) but the article above shows a deficit in the tens of thousands of dollars year after year. Even funnier are those in this thread who claim the voters are actually "going out of their way to destroy itself" and "the community by their own uninformed or shortsighted actions" as if not only were the REC Center the only option, but that the town is doomed to failure without it. I, like you, admire the intestinal fortitude of those elected officials who support the validity of the wishes of those (who outnumber those who do not) who wish to see it closed. The money necessary to close it will be offset by eliminating the losses well into the future, which no one can say with certainty will be available any more then than it is now. And, you're absolutely right: if it is such a lucrative and profitable venture, why hasn't some company or investor jumped all over the opportunity? I wonder how long a company would continue to operate it at such a loss year after year? It is unfortunate that some of our elected officials are unable to grasp that concept and are so vocal about expressing their lack of understanding.
Ferdie November 28, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Not to worry everyone. If this is such a plumb I'm certain some private investors will break down the door to acquire it. Then they can compete with the other exercise facilities in town run by private investment supporting the town with tax dollars rather than depleting our revenues. Then we can maybe budget to repair our roads and other infrastructure to help Dock enjoy a more upscale redneck town. Finally, I agree with Kibitzer. If Amy Cesich is bringing that disrespectful attitude to those she serves on the County Board she'll have a short tenure.Totally unprofessional for an appointed position. She'd better learn some humility and respect.
Kibitzer November 28, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Um, Tim... what is with the rant about the electricity aggregation thing? Yorkville did pass that issue so that people who wanted to go with another company, could. I think I understand that in the recent election, some other areas towards Sandwich, etc, did not pass it. What does that have to do with voters in Yorkville who do not want the Rec Center? I guess I should read your comment a few dozen times so that I can figure it out. Again, as once before, I wonder if you are a member of Mensa?
Kevin Wagner November 28, 2012 at 07:15 PM
I believe unincorporated areas in Kendall County voted it down. Additionally, the Yorkville City Council originally voted it down. They voted against it because none of them had a clue on what they were voting. They voted again two weeks later and the vote was unanimously in favor. Alderman Spears voted against it the first time. Spears took offense last night when someone indicated that voters were ill informed relative to the Rec Center referendum. Point is that Alderman has voted on items in the past tat she had not done her homework on. The same Spears who rounded up her posse to attend last night's meeting to express their discontent by means of shouting, booing, and catcalls. I guess you could call that audience participation. Some might call it being a “red neck”.
Tim November 28, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Yes, in the election a few weeks ago, Kendall County voted it down KENDALL COUNTY QUESTION 3 ELECTRICITY AGGREGATE YES . . . . . . . . . . . . 4,831 NO. . . . . . . . . . . . . 6,068 The 'reasoning' given by some on this very site, were that it would 'cost more', or they 'dont want government interfering in their lives'. Even though it would not cost more, and government(the state of IL) already sets the price of electricity for them. And a 'yes' vote, would have given them the ability to go wherever was negotiated cheaper on their behalf, not just to the state supplied monopoly. Now, this aggregation was on the same ballot where there is claiming to be a 'demand' that 20% cuts be made on ALL levies, county, city, park district, etc... I understand that the big picture is not something you have gotten around to looking at yet, but the desires of your fellow residents are not even on the same page with themselves and what they publicly proclaim, much less with each other. The fact that one legally binding measure that would have saved money failed, while another non-binding measure to save 20% passed, tells the rest of the world(including the business community) that the county is not fiscally stable, as the whims of the residents are not in line with financial reality. You are costing yourself money, not saving it. It would be a good idea for you to understand why, instead of denying it.
Dan November 28, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Listen to the audio from last night. At 11:08-13:22 Administrator Bart Olson Describes how the city will have to pull about $700,000 from the general fund to cover the costs associated with not purchasing the Rec Center. He doesn't know what will be cut to do that yet. http://www.yorkville.il.us/CC11-27-12specialmeeting.MP3
Dan November 28, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Listen to the audio from last night. At 11:08-13:22 Administrator Bart Olson Describes how the city will have to pull about $700,000 from the general fund to cover the costs associated with not purchasing the Rec Center. He doesn't know what will be cut to do that yet. http://www.yorkville.il.us/CC11-27-12specialmeeting.MP3
Tim November 28, 2012 at 08:58 PM
No. I have no financial interest in this, nor am I related to/know anyone that does. I am simply pointing out the fallacies in the nonsense that gets passed off as 'the will of the voters'. It is obvious that you do not like hearing that you are making decisions based more on emotion, than facts. But that is the ugly truth. It may very well be the will of the voters, but that doesn't mean it is a wise long-term decision. If you claim to be interested in the fiscal health of the area you live in, it makes no sense to also be making decisions that do the exact opposite of that. Will someone get a payoff? Who cares, that is incidental to the situation you are facing. You may well have to take the hit to your ego that someone will be making more money than you are, but in doing so will actually lower your tax burden. Instead, you are preventing a perceived payout to a single individual, and in the process INCREASING your tax burden. Which one is more important? Your ego, or your pocketbook? You get to chose one, not both. So it would be wise to make sure you know what you want before making choices that will force you into the exact opposite of what you are vocalizing. What is going on instead, are loud voices demanding one thing, but those same loud voices are causing the exact opposite in actions, of what they are demanding in voice.
Kibitzer November 28, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Oh, my goodness! Alderman Spears rounded up a "Posse" to attend to try to disrupt the meeting with boos, catcalls, etc.? How can you seriously say that? I was there. My husband was with me, and when some comment was made about how we wouldn't be able to sell our homes if this Rec center wasn't approved, some people did say "no, no, and no", as did my husband. The comment was kinda dumb, in its entirety. Rose Spears was having a difficult time finishing her remarks, (many of which were comments she received from constituents), as Amy Cesich wanted to interrupt her. And, again, what in the world does the electrical situation have to do with this Rec center purchase. Why try to make people look like idiots in either case? Are those of you who want to tap into the taxpayers' wallets completely without pertinent remarks? It's only about getting your ire up against those of us who will not sit silently by as we are robbed, over and over? I am beginning to think that there must be several Mensa members on here. They really, really, really do know all about the mindset of the more conservative voters! And they really, really, really do feel the need to set us all straight!
Audity November 28, 2012 at 08:59 PM
Interesting, Dan, and a prime example of what is called "being in over one's head." If it is indeed true that the REC Center was enough of a burden to put the cost of exiting the venture near three-quarters of a million dollars, then something far more ludicrously irresponsible is at work here and it should have been called out earlier. Shame on those elected officials who let it get to the point where getting out from under it is more costly than staying in it. Something is very backwards here, but a typical example of the short-sighted thinking that resulted in the situation in the first place. Looks like the REC Center really had Yorkville in a bad spot for much longer than they were lead to believe. I wonder who will be responsible for letting it get so bad in the first place? Thanks for bringing it to everyone's attention.
Audity November 28, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Interesting, Tim, how dissention somehow translates into disinformation? Of course, because someone doesn't agree they must simply not have all the facts. But it is a good thing that voting one's conscience is a right and a privledge - and what makes democracy great. Just like voters get to choose elected officials from the president on down it would be a detriment to the system to suggest that because those decisions don't agree with our own that there must be some inherent flaw to the logic behind it. The simple message is that the voters do not believe the purchase of the REC Center to be prudent or in their best interests, now it falls to the officials to devise an exit strategy with those best interests in mind. I think the only egos bruised here are the ones who do not agree with it. Inferring a lack of wisdom on the part of those who voted their conscience seems indicative of that.
Tim November 28, 2012 at 09:45 PM
Im more than willing to talk to you in 1 year, should you get 'your way'. You can then tell us how smart is was when the next round of levy votes comes up, with their associated increases. Fact is, you are increasing your tax burden in reality, while bemoaning the people who are trying to tell you that you are not doing in reality, what you think you are doing in your mind. Meet me back here on Dec 1,2013 and tell me how wonderful things worked out for you.
Joel Frieders November 28, 2012 at 10:23 PM
I don't doubt there are completely differing sides to any debate, and neither side can totally understand the other, but I think what I've noticed most throughout the REC issue is that it isn't always what you say, but how you say it. Some of you people sound like belittling and smarmy assholes, of course taking only your text into account. Illustrating your opinion with facts is one thing, hell, make a witty comment and shoot for some laughs, but when you start sounding like a smug prick, I tend to tune out.
Ferdie November 28, 2012 at 11:19 PM
Kevin, township voters are issued ballots that exclude them from Municipal issues. Only voters registered in City limits are issued ballots pertaining to city issues such as referendums or Mayoral elections. Look at your voter card and it will describe what precinct etc. you're in. Hope this helps.
Michelle November 29, 2012 at 01:22 AM
If there are a group of residents who want the Rec center then why don't you privately raise the money to buy the Rec. Push for the Path wants the bike trails, so they are privately raising the money to support that.
Tim November 29, 2012 at 01:36 AM
Name one single affluent area that has willingly dismantled its Park District. Name one reason any future residents would chose to come to an area without a Park District, when all surrounding communities offer that. You just eliminated a major reason for a family to move to your town. Who does that leave? I think the emotion and rhetoric got carried away into crazytown when people heard 'taxpayer funded'... Well, yes. That is what a Park District is. It's why every other community wants, and has them. Yorkville government is just structured so that what would be called a park district in any other town, and its own taxing body, is rolled into the city council as its own internal board instead. It's for that simple change of how things are named, that people didn't understand that this actually is the park district for the community. These residents really have no idea what they just did.
Kevin Wagner November 29, 2012 at 01:58 AM
The city council left it up to the voters. They will not put themselves in a posiiton to take the flack that they took as a result of moving forward with the bikepath. The voters have spoken and the Rec Center will not be purchased. In a year or so, Mayor Golinski will have one big mac-daddy "I told you so" moment. There were boos and disruptive people at the meeting last night. They were arrempting to talk over members of the committee. I stand by my comment about Spears solicitating members of her posse to attend. She performed and her crew responed in a way that was not consistent with acceptable behavior in that environment. Members of the committe were shouted down. The mayor had to raise his voice to quiet the rabel rousers.
Kevin Wagner November 29, 2012 at 02:05 AM
Are you serious? Do you honestly believe that the bike path will not be a liability to the taxpayers?
terry November 29, 2012 at 02:11 AM
are you kidding me a 100,000 out clause . how can we possibly re-elect any of these people that approved this lease in 97
Ferdie November 29, 2012 at 02:17 AM
Last thing this town or area needs is a Park District. We moved from Kane County for that exact reason. Aside from West School District, the FVPD was the highest taxing body burdening us. There wasn't a dollar they couldn't figure out how to spend. Bureaucracy like you wouldn't believe. A terrible idea, trust me.
Ed Johnson November 29, 2012 at 02:36 AM
lets just say it was that simple. lets say Yorkville would lose 50K over the next 3 years at a total of 150K. Lets assume now it will cost 500K over that period showing a negative investment of $350K from dumping it. We all know its not that simple once it becomes owned by Yorkville. For now lets just pretend it is. For $350K we just got out from under a really bad deal. Once Yorkville owns the building its liabilities exist long term. The next 10 years would cost the city way more than that. This is a really good long term decision.
Kevin Wagner November 29, 2012 at 04:30 AM
Not sure for whom these insults were intended. But, smarmy and smug, that's really piling it on.
It all comes out in the wash November 29, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Ms Spears (Ms Health Insurance herself) who has yet to be honest about this. She references all these e-mails that she receives to the council members but never shares with them with the council. BS. Like her comment in the Beacon today, "I'm getting tired of hearing that our residents are morons. Are you serious Rose, who said that other than you! And you thought we were morons when we asked about the Health Insurance costing tax payers 150k. As a matter of fact you were Mayor Protem when this was passed by the council. A benefit giving to yourselves. I'm glad this was finally addressed but the dishonesty and lack of ethics is disgusting. The truth will always come out.
Dock Ellis November 30, 2012 at 02:00 AM
Once again, a totally anti-government crazy redneck town can't even support a simple Rec Center. Why would you want to be a Geneva or Naperville, with it's bustling downtowns, low crime rate, great schools and REC PROGRAMS?? Gee, how awful to be dragged into the late 20th century! What a joke. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face - we won't buy the Rec Center even though we'll lose services and money by walking away. Have fun, yokels!
Dock Ellis November 30, 2012 at 02:04 AM
Oh and I'm gonna LOVE it when the (appropriately named) Walkers walk away from the Rec Center property when they decide not to use it as a private gym, liquidate the equipment and let it sit. An abandoned pole building right at a major intersection in town. Lovely. It's like living in flipping Mayberry.
justsayin December 10, 2012 at 09:44 PM
The plan that the Recreation Staff just released to its advisory board is farely interesting. They are lessoning their facilities but still keeping ALL of their full time staff. This situation is the definition of lay offs.

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