Discussion with Kaneland focused on handling growth
by Lynn Meredith
MAPLE PARKâ€”A lot has changed in the six years since Kaneland School District and the municipalities in the district signed their first intergovernmental agreement (IGA). In 2004, growth was omnipresent; today, well, not so much.
The IGA is an agreement specifying that the villages will charge developers the same capital-impact, transition and land-use fees. With all district towns agreeing to a standard rate, developers cannot bargain for better impact fees in one town than in another.
â€œThe agreement protects villages from development, especially at a time when developers are hungry,â€ Kaneland Assistant Superintendent of Business Julie Ann Fuchs told the Maple Park Village Board on Monday. â€œBy uniting through the intergovernmental agreement, you are telling developers that if you come to Kaneland, you are paying Kaneland fees.â€
When a family moves into a new development in the district, the students begin attending school right away. But the district doesnâ€™t see impact fees from the development for six to 18 months. With the cost to educate every student being $9,000, regardless of what community they come from, the district wants to ensure that the villages collect appropriate fees, Kaneland officials said.
The tables in the updated agreement are the same as in the previous two agreements. For a three-bedroom, $200,000 house, the villages collect $6,148.
Five of the eight municipalities in the district have signed the agreement so far. Virgil, Maple Park and Sugar Grove are in the decision-making process.
â€œThe School District is the equalizing force in the district, but there is great disparity among the communities,â€ Trustee Terry Borg said. â€œItâ€™s a conversation. As we think about this conversation (among the communities), we need to have you as partners at our table, too.â€
Schuler stressed that he wanted to avoid a situation where villages in the district are competing with one another for developers.
â€œThis is the time to make the agreement, not when developers are knocking and decisions are based on emotions,â€ Schuler said. â€œWhat I fear is if you have seven to eight municipalities all cutting deals individually, itâ€™s not going to fall equally. If you have a referendum, then it will hit everybody squarely.â€
Trustee Mark Delaney said future impact fees must not only help the School District, but the village, too. He said development cannot take place without costly major infrastructure improvements.
â€œIn order to build houses, we have to have a wastewater plant that will help us build the houses that will bring the kids. Weâ€™ve got a $13 million obligation on our hands,â€ he said.