Brainerd Community Center Inc. members announced their plan Tuesday night to delay a bond referendum that would help fund various projects, like fixing the roof and doors.
The binding referendum is expected to be placed on the March 2014 ballot.
The announcement came just as the village board was preparing to vote Jan. 22 on whether to place a . A non-binding referendum would solely be advisory in nature.
"I think you managed to surprise me this evening," said Mayor Terry Weppler at the village board's Jan. 8 meeting.
The Brainerd Community Center Inc. wants to ask voters to approve the sale of $6.5 million in bonds. The financial impact to residents would be about $71 per year over a 10-year period on a $300,000 home and $95 per year on a $400,000 home.
That figure is up $3 million from the original plan to ask for $3.5 million in bonds following a reassessment of the numbers. The funds would cover continued renovations, design fees and other costs.
Though the original plan was to place the referendum on the April 9, 2013 ballot, Brainerd committee member John Snow said having more time to educate residents is important. He added that having an advisory referendum this year followed by a binding referendum in 2014 could be too confusing.
"One binding referendum would be the best," said Brainerd committee member Scott Adams.
Trustees supported that plan. Trustee Donna Johnson said her vote would be to do the one-time binding referendum and allow more time to educate the public. Trustees Drew Cullum, Richard Moras, Todd Gaines and Jay Justice agreed, while Trustee James Moran didn't participate in his discussion due to his involvement with the Brainerd organization.
Weppler warned that due to the rising construction costs, the planned $6.5 million bond amount "could be a moving target."
Prior to the announcement that the Brainerd organization would rather place a single, binding referendum on the ballot in 2014, Weppler and the trustees had a lengthy discussion regarding their concerns about the project. Among their concerns were the expected operating costs and whether the Brainerd Community Center could sustain itself without village assistance, whether there would be competition with the Libertyville Civic Center, and whether there would be enough time to properly educate residents between now and April 9 had the referendum been placed on that ballot at that time.
Trustees had just received the revised financial information a short time before their meeting Tuesday night.
"You're opening up more questions than you have answers," said Cullum. "The residents of the village are your bank, and no banker in their right mind would lend $6.5 million based on two pieces of paper. I think we need more time."
Moras expressed concern that the voter turnout for the referendum would be low in April because there wouldn't be enough time to educate everyone.
Now there will be more than a year to educate residents with the referendum not being placed on the ballot until March 2014.
Johnson said she wants to ensure someone sets up a timeline for educating people is set up, and that someone manages that timeline.
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