by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—The Elburn Village Board on Monday agreed to move forward with a certified appraisal on the Community Congregational Church parking lot on the corner of Shannon and Main streets.
“Somebody needs to take the first step,” trustee Jeffrey Walter said.
The agreement on village funds being used to pay for the appraisal was reached after several trustees suggested there was the potential for recouping part of the cost of the appraisal through a Special Services Agreement (SSA), which the village is considering for the downtown business owners for the purchase of the lot.
The church’s asking price for the lot is $250,000, and it is not clear that the church would accept the results of an appraisal. However, Village President Dave Anderson said that, until the village board knows what the property is worth, neither the village nor the business owners in town can move forward on who and how to pay for it.
According to Village Administrator Erin Willrett, owners of the Elburn businesses have said that one of their concerns about paying for the lot through a special tax is that once the village owns the lot, it could turn around and sell the property.
Although village trustees wanted to find a way to refund the SSA money, should the village sell the property, Village Attorney Bob Britz did not find in his research into the legislation any provision for refunding SSA funds, other than excess revenues collected to be refunded at the end of the SSA.
Britz said he thought the drafters of the legislation meant for the SSA money to be used for providing the special services for which it was created and not for other purposes.
Trustee Bill Grabarek asked Britz if the village could require that the purpose of the property continue to be for parking if it should sell the property. Britz said that would be possible.
The church’s current deadline for closing the parking lot to public use is at 12:01 a.m. on April 15. Village trustees agreed to ask the church for an extension to that deadline, based on their good-faith efforts toward making the purchase. In the meantime, however, there is nothing to prevent the church from selling the property to anyone else.