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Yorkville Voters Reject Rec Center Referendum

52 percent of voters oppose ballot question on whether or not the city should purchase the Rec Center.

The people of Yorkville rejected a referendum on Tuesday’s ballot on whether or not the United City of Yorkville should purchase the Rec Center.

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.

City officials said the ballot question would provide guidance to city council members on which way to proceed with the issue.

The question on voters’ ballots read:

“Should the United City of Yorkville purchase the Rec Center to operate as a public recreation facility through a 20- year installment purchase contract at a purchase price not to exceed $ 2.5 million with interest at a rate not to exceed 6% per year?”

Although voters rejected the idea at the ballot box, the referendum is non-binding, meaning the city could move forward with the plan should officials feel it prudent.

The REC Center currently has 1,400 members. Over 3,000 people use the facility every month, according to city documents. These members will pay for the purchase through membership fees and other recreation revenues.

According to documents the city’s monthly payment will be approximately $18,000 per month if the city moves forward with a $2.5 million purchase. The current lease is $19,000 per month. If purchased, the city will receive income from rental facilities in the building at $4,500 per month, and will not have to pay property taxes on the facility, which are currently $5,500 per month.

Based on current projections, city officials expect the Rec Center to run a profit of between $1,000 and $3,000 per month.

Tim November 07, 2012 at 04:35 AM
The residents of Yorkville just voted to spend $11,000 a month, instead of generating a minimum of $1,000 a month. All with no change in services. For a town that also had a referendum to reduce all levies by 20% that passed, this behavior seems rather schizophrenic. One result directly contradicts the other.
Concerned long time resident November 07, 2012 at 01:38 PM
I would hope that this guides the council on not wasting OUR money on this. I hope this is not like the bike path which was also voted down
Sharon Lowy November 07, 2012 at 02:49 PM
As a relative newcomer I cannot understand why this would not pass. It seems like a money saver and something that would draw people to our city. Do any of these people that voted against this know how many programs are run through the REC center for the children of Yorkville?
George Jones November 07, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Well congratulations to Yorkville voters to saying NO on the costly REC Center which is not a VITAL Government Service. But, there's a not battle looming for taxpayers money and that's about supporting Oswego on their bid to join the RTA and get Metra service in Oswego. That proposition will raise our Kendall County Sales Tax by 1%. This election proves Choo Choo Brian LeClercq, the misguided Oswego Village President, is wrong in wanting to raises sales taxes by 1% to get an Oswego Metra Station to handle very few potential riders. Brian, you failed along with the Yorkville Mayor (72% said NO!) to get taxpayers to pay more 911 services ... so how the heck do you think taxpayers in other places like Plano, Yorkville, Newark want a Metra Station in Oswego which will result in 1% more county sales tax and other increased taxes to pay for a $125,000,000 project? Just man up and tell us Brian and Gary and quit being a wasteful Spendacratics.
Reasonable Conservative November 07, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Lets hope that the people on the council who promised to vote according to the referendum will be true to their word and vote not to buy buy the Rec center. There are so many wonderful programs at the YMCA in Plano, gymnastics in Naperville and so much more for our children all over the area. Lets investigate using the schools, churches and City owned buildings that are already heated and maintained for any and all programs we need. Lets think outside of the box here and do the right thing with our limited public funds. I am proud of the Yorkville electorate for voicing their opinion. Less government is better government.
Tim November 07, 2012 at 06:37 PM
less government is better government? So, when are you moving yourself to Somalia? They have the least government possible, so according to you it must be better. You wouldn't last 10 days without government support, and everyone but you seems to know that. The residents of Yorkville just shot themselves in the foot(actually, in the wallet). You are paying MORE money by rejecting this.
Greg K November 07, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Are they going to board up the Rec Center and nobody will get to use it again? Will owner let it sit empty and just pay the taxes on it $57,000 per year? What was in that building before the city leased it? Would the owner give a private party the same deal so they could make money like the city? If it a great deal some one will buy it and we will still have it.
Reasonable Conservative November 07, 2012 at 07:53 PM
My position is clear and unambiguous. You can spin it anyway you like. I speak only to those who wish for an honest dialogue.
Reasonable Conservative November 07, 2012 at 07:55 PM
I hope the Rec Center continues to make a profit for the owners and does well. I just do not see how our City government ought to be involved.
Judith Burks November 07, 2012 at 08:30 PM
The information that was missing in all the info that the city sent out was how much it has already cost the city for this building. Accoring to their own budget over $500,000. And no mention of services supplied by city employees that are not in the budget. They also did not mention that members who have previously had their insurance company pay for their participation over there have been informed the insurance company will no longer be funding this. I think the residents would just like the city to fund the necessary services they are intended to supply, such as taking care of the roads, for a starter. I agree we already have other sources for these services. We have private health clubs and we have a YMCA which has a full size pool. The fees to go there are also considerably less money. Now it's up to the city council to vote according to the majority as any representative governing body would do.
terry November 07, 2012 at 08:34 PM
i will guarantee the city council will disregard the majority of voters and buy the rec center remember alot of the council members that voted to lease the rec center from the walkers are still on the council. another sweet deal is forthcoming again to the walkers compliments of our city council
Audity November 07, 2012 at 11:27 PM
Good observation, Tim. You're absolutely right. Especially since "Should the taxpayers of Yorkville get out from underneath the Rec Center entirely" wasn't on the ballot, yours MUST be the only logical explanation. Good catch.
Audity November 07, 2012 at 11:35 PM
Yes, Sharon, we do know know. Specifically because I have enrolled my children in some of them. But, as a relative newcomer, are you aware how many programs and offerings get cancelled due to low interest and enrollment? I know that, too, because I have also been on the receiving end of that. I find it difficult to believe that the allure of a Rec center might offset the burden of higher property taxes when making a home purchasing decision. Nonetheless, welcome to the community - stick around, it will become apparent shortly.
Greg K November 08, 2012 at 12:47 AM
Another question what is the city's cut of the taxes if some else is paying them. Which they say are about $5,500.00 per month do they get $1000.00 to $3,000.00 per month same as they say their profit is, with no commitments? Who paid for the flyer in the water bill this month? Can any business put flyers in the water bill and the city pays the postage?
Kibitzer November 08, 2012 at 03:16 AM
I wish we could find out who authorized that flyer in our water bill. It was totally unacceptable. There is other, more important subjects that could be attached to the bill; subjects relating to brush and leaf pickup schedules, which no one in my neighborhood ever seem to know about! I thought perhaps when we got a new Mayor, we'd see some commonsense decisions being made. What a joke. Once someone gets elected to public office, they cannot stop themselves from spending as much and as fast as they can. Talk about a hand in the cookie jar. We get the government we deserve.
C November 08, 2012 at 01:22 PM
You know how these things usually turn out. 2 years after the purchase there will be an "oops" we were wrong in our assumptions. The rec center is really costing us $5000 or whatever per month. I don't think anyone trusts the business savvy of the pols.
Reasonable Conservative November 08, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Well said, again!
Kibitzer November 09, 2012 at 03:11 AM
Thank you Alex, for putting this upfront again. I am curious to see if anyone else is going to voice their pro or con arguments. I am interested in their reasoning about this important issue.
BigBird November 28, 2012 at 07:01 PM
3 words: Least. Loss. Alternative. Which would be what? -Purchasing the Rec Center. Any area bank (aside from the 1* rated Old Second) would jump at the chance to give the city a loan to buy this place. A $2.5M loan at 5% interest amortized over 20yrs (365/360 basis) would be less than $17k per month (aka less than the lease price). So what? the expenses on that place are huge, it would cost MUCH more than that each month you say? -Your right, it would. Significant expenses exist outside a loan payment. However via the current lease the city is ALREADY INCURRING THESE. I think the lease the city signed for this in the beginning was hogwash but thats what happens when a smart businessman deals with a fiscally irresponsible city. Mr. Walker won in this deal, and the city has no one to blame but themselves. This property would be a loss the next 10 years without a doubt, but 10 years from now it would be a cash-flowing entity that would MORE than make up for the short term. Oh and by the way-the city has already paid nearly a million dollars on this (likely more) with no potential for future return. Congrats Mr. Walker, you may soon have a vacant building with $60K/year in taxes, but unlike the city - your investment paid for itself and you have multi-million dollar debt-free building.

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