By Keith Beebe
KANELAND—The Kaneland School District in December 2010 reached an 11th-hour deal with the village of Sugar Grove to enter into a one-year Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) requiring village developers to pay 60 percent of the capital-impact and transition fees issued by the School District.
Less than a year later and in another stalemate with Kaneland, Sugar Grove has chosen not to renew its IGA with the School District.
The Kaneland School Board on Monday discussed the proposed IGA, as well as Sugar Grove’s decision not to participate in the agreement. Without an IGA in place, municipalities working toward an annexation agreement must determine the amount of land-cash and capital-impact payments collected on behalf of the School District.
“This is why we started the Intergovernmental Agreement … to create a level playing field (amongst municipalities),” Kaneland Superintendent Jeff Schuler said.
Schuler issued a document during the meeting, stating Kaneland’s commitment to the following principles:
• Tables produced through Roger Dahlstrom’s updated study reflect actual costs associated with new growth.
• The cost of growth should not be absorbed only by existing residents, and should be paid for by new growth through appropriate impact fees.
• Deviation from the current model or reduction in impact fees increases the burden on existing residents.
• A quality Kaneland education—one delivered in adequate facilities—is essential to the growth of all eight municipalities served through the current IGA.
• A Kaneland education costs the same for all students, regardless of where they reside. Deviation from Dahlstrom’s tables by any municipality impacts the School District’s ability to provide an appropriate education to all its students
Sugar Grove Village Administrator Brent Eichelberger said that the village continues to support school impact fees in general and on behalf of the Kaneland School District.
“The fact that the village isn’t in support of the IGA, as presented, in no way means that the village doesn’t support impact fees or won’t charge impact fees on major development that comes forward in the future. The board, as a whole, wasn’t accepting of the fees listed (in the proposed IGA), given the state of the current economy or foreseeable economy, and part of what rolls into that is the IGA fee structure does not give any credit toward non-residential property as part of a development that also includes residential,” he said.
According to Eichelberger, the village didn’t believe it was appropriate to lock in a fee for just one governmental body at this time. Rather, the village wants the flexibility to negotiate an agreement that makes sense for everyone involved.
“(The board) just didn’t feel that you could take one unit of government and say, ‘OK, their fees are set, they’re locked in and there’s no negotiation.’ Well, if there needs to be some negotiation, it would fall on everybody else to get it done,” Eichelberger said.
School Board President Cheryl Krauspe said that the board feels the better course of action would have been to keep a common agreement in place that all municipalities could live and grow by. Without the participation of all municipalities in the IGA, the agreement will expire and cease to exist.
“There will likely be financial and political impact of this choice, which we would have rather avoided. After investing in the fees for consultation, updated study, the revision of the IGA tables and a year’s worth of agreement and discussion with all the village representatives, I regret that we couldn’t get this agreement signed and sealed,” she said. “The district has provided everything that it could in order to keep all of our communities on the same page, and many people have worked hard to maintain the agreement, so I am disappointed that the job did not get done.”
Kaneland’s current IGA will expire on Jan. 1, 2012.