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Brainerd Meeting Draws Large Crowd, Skepticism

Monday night's meeting was the first of three on the proposal to issue bonds to pay for the historic building's renovation.

The first of three town-hall style meetings to discuss the fate of Libertyville's historic Brainerd building drew a crowd of about 150 people, many of them skeptical of the plan to issue bonds to pay to renovate the building into a community space, according to the Daily Herald.

On March 18, residents will get to formally cast their votes in a referendum that could result in the issuance of $11.5 million in bonds—and a 21.84 percent increase in the village's tax rate—to renovate the Brainerd building. Monday's meeting was a way to educate people about the proposal and for the village board, which is not taking an official stance on the referendum, to hear residents' opinions.

According to the Herald, more than two dozen people spoke at the meeting to express concerns about the financial viability of the project and its need in town. Patch readers have likewise been expressing their thoughts in this comment thread.

The other two meetings will be held Feb. 12 and March 6 at 7 p.m. at the Libertyville Civic Center.

More information about the proposal is available on the village website.

You can read the full Daily Herald story here.

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BLT March 10, 2014 at 11:12 AM
This started as a project to be completed with private donations. However, the public has donated only $12,503 in donations over the last three-year period. The public has already shown their lack of support for this project, so now we forced by the village to vote on a referendum to take the money from our pockets anyway. None of the businesses, that we’ve been told have invested millions and millions of dollars in Libertyville, have come forward to help finance this. Local business owners from the downtown area are not lined up to help finance this. If the Brainerd proposal were so viable, I’m sure some would be glad to participate. Last January the Brainerd group had collected enough signatures to but the question to voters at the election last spring. At that time they thought the building cost would be $3.5 Million. The referendum question for which they collected signatures would simply have asked residents whether the taxpayers of the Village should pay for the renovation. This referendum is and entirely different picture, and the original signatures are not relevant. We’ve been told that the referendum is not binding, and that feasibility studies will need to be conducted to make a final decision. Feasibility studies are not free, and they will come from the general funds. We have been forced to vote on a referendum based on no concrete information. Do you really think that the village, after not exercising their responsibility to keep this from moving to a referendum, will actually decide not to proceed if the referendum is passed? Let’s not kid ourselves; this project is another sports complex. A pig, by any other name, still smells just as bad. It will be a drain on the community for years to come, not a revenue-producing asset. This is simply an old building, not a historic landmark. Historic landmarks are places where historic events occurred, or represent unique architectural achievements that should be preserved. The Brainerd is neither of these, and never will be. Vote NO…
joe bean March 10, 2014 at 11:23 AM
BLT's last two sentences say it all. Thank you. This referendum will pass if the NO sentiment does not become a NO vote. it's that simple. Look at the amount of money the pro-brainerd folks have spent -- thousands of dollars in postage along to mail expensive, four color, two sided glossy promotional pieces. oops...I meant to say information pieces; the IRS prohibits 501c3 organizations like the Brainerd Community Center from advocating and promoting an action -- like a vote FOR. But those regulations are just meaningless details, right, that obviously do not apply in Libertyville.
Mike March 10, 2014 at 12:00 PM
Joe Bean - the IRS regulations provide for an allowance for 501(c)(3) organizations to lobby for or against a vote through 501(h). There are monetary limits but without knowing much more, their lobbying mailers are likely acceptable according to the Internal Revenue Code. I provide you this information as a CPA and someone who studied taxation law, not as a supporter of this referendum (which clearly, I do not support).
joe bean March 10, 2014 at 12:11 PM
Thanks. I appreciate your knowledge. Attorney's views vary, as you probably are aware. Much of the determination is based on what percentage of the organization's funds are devoted to advocacy, among other criteria. I guess the only way to get an honest to goodness ruling would be to file a complaint with the IRS and let them bureaucrats decide. I wonder if the good folks who contributed to the effort thought their money would be used to pay for expensive mailers and postage? .
Vera Pergl-Butkovich March 10, 2014 at 01:48 PM
Mike, email me at rscume5@aol.com if you would like a yard sign.

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