Tag Archives: Art Morrical

Referendum, new director on SG library’s horizon?

by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—Sugar Grove Library District residents may need to be prepared for more change in the future: a new library referendum may be coming, as well as the beginning of a search for a new library director.

Board reviews
library finances

Sugar Grove Public Library Board Treasurer Dan Herkes predicted an approximate shortfall of $45,000 for the library during the 2011-12 fiscal year, and that is even after getting creative with how to manage the library’s finances.

“We’re trying to run a library here. We’re not trying to run a closed building. We don’t want to close the library. We want to keep it open. Now, how we do this-how we pay for this now-is going to be creative. Fortunately, I am in a creative mood right now,” Herkes said.

He said that the library’s expenditures will increase by nearly $79,000 in the coming fiscal year, from $557,097 to $635,782. To raise revenues to help offset the increase in expenses, Herkes suggested that the library could utilize $12,000 from a special reserve fund that currently holds $90,000. In addition, the board could add $25,000 in revenue to the fiscal year by liquidating an additional $75,000 fund over three years. That $25,000 would be earmarked to the library’s collection, which in turn would draw money into the library’s operating fund, helping off-set the overall expenditure increase.

Creative financial work aside, that still leaves an approximate $45,000 shortfall for the fiscal, he said, leading to his view that the Library District must attempt to pass an operating fund referendum.

“It’s imperative that the Sugar Grove Library District pass a referendum. I’m sorry; we don’t have any choice,” he said.

“Being creative without the help of the community is going to be very difficult,” Trustee Anthony Oliver said.

Board approves search
for full-time library director

The Library Board voted 6-1 to approve the search for a new library director, which will be conducted by the firm Alice Calabrese-Berry.

Oliver was the lone vote against hiring a search firm.

The approval for the search came two weeks after the board voted to reverse its decision to mediate with former director Beverly Holmes Hughes. The board had previously voted in favor of mediation with Hughes at its meeting on Oct. 13.

Board President Joan Roth, Vice President Art Morrical, and trustees Bob Bergman and Julie Wilson—the board members responsible for firing Holmes Hughes four months ago—voted in favor of reversing the decision to mediate.

Timeline of Sugar Grove Library

• July 14: Board votes 4-2 in favor of
firing director Beverly Holmes
Hughes. Arlene Kaspik hired as
interim director.

• Mid-August: Kaspik resigns

• Aug. 25: Board introduces interim
Director Marilyn Boria and issues
press release stating its reasons for
firing Holmes Hughes.

• Sept. 8: Board approves
appointment of Anthony Oliver as
board trustee

• Oct. 13: Board rules 4-3 in favor of
mediation with Holmes Hughes

• Oct. 27: Board votes 4-3 in favor of
no mediation with Holmes Hughes

• Nov. 10: Board votes 6-1 to
approve search for new library
director

SG Library Board votes in favor of mediation with former director

Measure opens the door to possible return of Hughes
by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Library Board at its meeting on Oct. 13 voted 4-3 in favor of mediation between board trustees and former library director Beverly Holmes Hughes.

Board Secretary Bill Durrenberger, Treasurer Daniel Herkes, and trustees Anthony Oliver and Julie Wilson voted yes to mediation with Hughes, while President Joan Roth, Vice President Art Morrical and Trustee Bob Bergman voted no.

The decision to mediate came less than three months after Roth, Morrical, Bergman and Wilson voted to approve Hughes’ firing on July 14. Durrenberger and Herkes both voted against firing Hughes. Oliver was not a trustee at the time.

Several members of the public in attendance at the Sugar Grove Community House, where the Library Board meeting was held because of a scheduling conflict, asked the four board members during public comment to put aside their differences and mediate with Hughes, and also spoke at length about the library’s current financial situation. Resident Mari Johnson said the board could get things back on track—and mend its bond to the community—by making compromises and committing to mediation.

“Working to regain the public trust will not be an easy task, but is something that should be on the minds of each board member. You will not be able to move the library forward without the assistance of the public,” Johnson said.

Past Library Board president Douglas Hartman also spoke, chastising the board for bringing the library to “the brink of bankruptcy.”

“The community is owed an exact and specific explanation of the new direction you’re taking this library,” Hartman said. “Is it closing for more hours, more days, weeks (and) months? Is it taking it out on the overworked and underpaid staff? Be responsible, mature trustees and mediate this fiasco. Put it behind us. It is way past time for this board to put the taxpayers first. No more undefined new directions. No more throwing away money we don’t have and will not get. No more guesswork; no more maybes. Start tonight and put things right.”

Prior to the vote for mediation, the board went into executive session for 75 minutes. Durrenberger also announced that interim Library Director Marilyn Boria had voluntarily reduced her hourly pay from $72 to $50 in order to put in more hours for the library and help protect library staff from cutbacks.

“She didn’t want anyone to say anything … but you can’t let that go without public recognition,” Durrenberger said.

Once the meeting had reconvened, Durrenberger made it clear that the vote for mediation simply meant the board would talk to Holmes about whether or not she’d come back under the terms agreed to by both sides.

“I think there are people that would mediate for us at no charge, and I don’t think the delay would be that great. I think (mediation) is what we should’ve done all along, and I don’t think it’s too late to do it now,” he said. “It is what the public wants at this point in time, so that’s why I feel very strongly that (this) is what we should do.”

Oliver and Herkes both echoed Durrenberger’s sentiment. Wilson said she could see both sides of the issue between members of the board and Hughes, and was concerned with the library’s ongoing costs.

Library Board approves appointment of Oliver as board trustee

by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Library Board at its meeting on Sept. 8 voted 6-0 to approve the appointment of Anthony Oliver as board trustee.

Oliver, 66, is the vice president of Capaul-Oliver Services, a company specializing in the design and construction of library, school and healthcare projects. He had been consistently vocal during the public comment sections of Library Board meetings ever since the board approved the termination of former Director Beverly Holmes Hughes in mid-July. His appointment will fill the board seat vacated by former trustee Sabrina Malano last June.

Library Board Vice President Art Morrical, during the discussion period prior to the vote to appoint Oliver, said that Anthony was the best candidate the Library Board had.

“He has tremendous experience with buildings, with libraries. He’s our best choice,” he said.

Board Secretary Bill Durrenberger then responded that, with due respect to Oliver, he believed there was no one on the face of the planet who is more qualified or deserving of a position on the board than former Sugar Grove Library Friends President Pat Graceffa. Graceffa was one of nine applicants for the board position.

“As far as I am concerned, if Pat wants a seat on this board, she should be given that seat by acclamation,” Durrenberger said. “But that’s not going to happen with the board as it’s presently constituted.”

Durrenberger was also complimentary of Oliver.

“Anthony, I’ve read your application, and certainly you’ve got a great background in libraries, and you’ve been coming down here and sitting with us during this troubled time for the Sugar Grove (Library), so you certainly appear to be qualified to me, and that being the case, I intend to support your nomination tonight,” he said.

Oliver was also sworn in during the meeting.

“It is with deep pleasure that I accept the honor of being appointed to the office of trustee of Sugar Grove Public Library District. (It’s) my desire that I also have the trust and support of the taxpayers and the patrons of this library,” Oliver said. “I will do my very best to represent you in an open and wonderful way. This library family is in disarray and very angry at each other for various reasons, including the firing of our director of over 20 years, Beverly Holmes Hughes. I do not know all the reasons why the board considered it so important to dismiss Mrs. Holmes Hughes at this time, but I do know … I don’t think there’s gonna be any resignations anytime soon.”

Oliver then said it was time to hire the very best library director to lead the Sugar Grove Library into the future. He called for a compensation package to be offered to Hughes to properly thank her for all the years of leadership she offered the library, and also thanked the Friends of the Library for their devotion and hard work over the years, asking them to stay in the community.

“Your organization is so very much needed and appreciated,” he said.

The unanimous vote to approve Oliver’s appointment drew applause from members of the public in attendance—a group that has not had much to cheer for since Hughes’ termination two months ago.

“Anthony’s background in library services makes him the ideal person to fill the vacancy,” said former Sugar Grove Library Friends member Ken Wiesner, who is the founder of the Citizens for a Better Sugar Grove political action group. “I am very pleased Trustee Morrical nominated an outspoken critic of the board. Hopefully this is an indication that he is finally starting to listen to the Library District residents.”

A break from the pattern

Library Board releases statement about firing Hughes; conflicts continue among board
by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Library Board’s meeting on Aug. 25 began the same way as every Library Board meeting has since Beverly Holmes Hughes was terminated on July 14—extensive public comment sections, silence from the four board members who voted to terminate Hughes, and requests from those in attendance for the four board members to resign.

This Library Board meeting was different, however, as the board finally released a statement regarding Hughes’ termination, and also made a motion to cut all ties with the FOIA officer they were scheduled to approve.

The evening ended with trustees Bill Durrenberger and Daniel Herkes—acting as citizens, not board members—speaking to frustrated residents about how Sugar Grove can restore peace and order to its Library Board, which has been under the microscope the last month and a half.

Board explains their rationale for firing Hughes
Sugar Grove residents have been demanding an explanation from the Library Board for its decision to terminate former director Beverly Holmes Hughes on July 14.

And after four board meetings and more than a month of silence from Board President Joan Roth, Vice President Art Morrical, and Trustees Bob Bergman and Julie Wilson—the four who approved the termination of Hughes—Sugar Grove residents finally got their answer.

Following an executive session at the end of the initial board meeting, Trustee Bill Durrenberger, acting as board secretary, read a prepared statement on the board’s behalf. Durrenberger said his strong preference would be for the statement to come from the four board members who voted to approve the firing of Hughes.

“This is a library trustee statement concerning termination of the Library Director,” Durrenberger read. “Last month, Sugar Grove Public Library District Trustees Roth, Morrical, Bergman and Wilson voted to terminate the employment of Library Director Beverly Holmes Hughes. Following the termination, those trustees have struggled with balancing the community’s right to know the reasons for Beverly’s dismissal with Beverly’s rights of privacy. They apologize for their tardiness in explaining their reasons.

“Their reasons for the decision include their belief that, A) Beverly did not provide financial information requested by them, B) Beverly made expenditures of funds without seeking board approval, C) Beverly did not provide programming as suggested by those trustees.

“Over the last few years, there have been difficulties and increased tensions between the four trustees and Beverly. Working relationship deteriorated to the point that the four trustees felt that change was necessary.

“Trustee Durrenberger and Trustee Herkes vehemently disagree with the majority’s reasons, did not vote for termination and do not believe termination was in the best interest of the Library District.

“Prospectively, the trustees are committed to hiring a new library director where the library director and the trustees establish a clear understanding as to their respective roles in providing quality library services to the Sugar Grove community. End of statement.”

The audience’s scorn towards the four board members erupted almost instantly after Durrenberger finished reading the prepared statement.

“Shame on you, Julie and Bob … shame on you,” resident Pat Graceffa said.

“It was all a manipulated move by Joan and Art, and you guys should be ashamed of yourselves,” resident Mari Johnson said. “I hope you guys can all look at yourselves in the mirror.”

“Joan, you are a poor excuse for a library president,” another resident stated.

Board fires FOIA officer
Earlier in the meeting, it was brought to the attention of many in attendance that Roth’s candidate for the board’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) officer position, Linda J. (L.J.) Gleysteen, a former employee of the West Aurora School District, had recently pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery. The charge stemmed from a February incident in which the then-Jefferson Middle School teacher sprayed a seventh-grade student in the eyes with a solution used to clean whiteboards.

Durrenberger addressed the public on the matter and then focused his questions toward the board, raising the issue of whether or not Gleysteen’s background was sufficient enough for the board to not work with her. Durrenberger said he believed her history was indeed relevant, and then turned his attention to the board president.

“Here’s the thing,” Durrenberger said to Roth. “You and I talked on the telephone about a week ago; that’s when you first told me you’d hired her. Remember that? You didn’t tell me her name—said she was L.J. or something like that. You didn’t mention one word about her background … not one word.”

Durrenberger said he had first encountered Gleysteen the previous Tuesday, when he had a FOIA request to respond to and thought to seek out the new FOIA officer. According to Durrenberger, he introduced himself to Gleysteen, at which time she simply introduced herself back as “L.J.” Durrenberger said he tried to get L.J. to tell him her full name, but she wouldn’t.

“Now, it’s obvious to me, Joan, what’s going on here: you and Linda were trying to hide her background from me … the two of you were. Now, you do understand that I am a trustee. I’m not just someone up here taking notes and doing minutes. I am a trustee—you do understand that, don’t you?”

“Absolutely,” Roth said.

“So you and Linda were trying to hide a relevant factor from me—a trustee,” Durrenberger said.

Durrenberger said he could not vote to keep Gleysteen as the board’s FOIA officer because it would be “encouraging this kind of deviousness and rewarding this kind of deviousness.” Durrenberger also stated that he might have at least considered Gleysteen as a candidate if Roth had been truthful with him about her criminal background.

“Under these circumstances, I am vehemently against rewarding your deviousness and Linda’s deviousness by continuing to have her work for this library,” he said.

Herkes echoed Durrenberger’s sentiments and added that the Gleysteen hiring would bring more bad publicity to a Library Board that has been under intense scrutiny since the Holmes firing.

Durrenberger then made a motion for a vote to terminate the board’s relationship with Gleysteen. The board voted 4-1 in favor of termination, with Roth voting present, and Trustee Bergman voting no.

Searching for a solution
After the board meeting, Durrenberger and Herkes met with residents in attendance across the street from the library, and stated that they were speaking as individual citizens, not Library Board members.

Durrenberger told the gathered crowd that the ultimate solution to their problems with certain Library Board members is to have solid candidates run for election and then vote them into office when seats come up for re-election.

“The problem is the next election … doesn’t come up until 2013,” he said. “That’s a long time from now. God only knows what’s going to happen between now and then. The problem is, how do we keep this interest going over a year from now?”

The next Library Board meeting will take place Thursday, Sept. 8, at 7 p.m.

Decision’s impact continues

SG Library Friends disband; public demands board’s explanation for director firing
by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Library Friends have decided to call it a day.

Less than a month after the Library Board’s dismissal of Director Beverly Holmes Hughes, the Library Friends have chosen to follow Hughes’ exit. Library Friends President Pat Graceffa announced the group’s decision to fold at the Library Board meeting on Aug. 11, which only increased the level of drama present that evening, as several members of the public in attendance voiced their frustration with the behavior and actions of Library Board President Joan Roth, Vice President Art Morrical, and trustees Julie Wilson and Bill Bergman—the four who approved Hughes’ termination on July 14.

Graceffa, speaking as a taxpayer during the meeting, called for the resignation of all four of the members with the reasoning that the board has yet to issue an official statement regarding the decision to terminate Hughes. Graceffa also criticized the board for “hiding behind saying ‘(their) attorney has told (them) not to comment,’” and had equally terse words for those who have spread “vicious rumors” around the community about why Holmes was fired.

“If you don’t know the real reason for the termination, then shut up,” Graceffa said, drawing immediate applause from members of the public in attendance.

Graceffa said she believes what Roth, Morrical, Bergman and Wilson have done to the community is unforgivable.

“It’s not even about them firing Beverly anymore, it’s about (them) not answering questions, not running meetings properly and putting those two board members (Wilson and Bergman) on the board in the way that they did-both of them being former board members who didn’t choose to run for re-election. It’s just their attitude … their attitude towards taxpayers. They feel like they just don’t have to answer any questions.

“The residents are letting the board know that they need to clean up their act and do a better job,” she said.

The Sugar Grove Library Friends made the decision to disband during their meeting on Aug. 8, at which point most of the group’s members were resigning.

“We take care of the Library Friends used bookstore, and we’ve had a lot of people resign; some of them have not given any reason, and others have told us it is because the library director was fired and they couldn’t support the board,” Graceffa said. “There’s no way we can fill 49 hours of volunteer work with just a few volunteers remaining.”

Graceffa wasn’t the only attendee requesting the resignation of the four board members, as Village Trustee Mari Johnson, past president Douglas Hartman and several others called for Roth, Morrical, Bergman and Wilson to step down during the public comment portion of the meeting. One person even called the current Library Board “a joke.” Village Trustee Kevin Geary implored the board to give a reason for Holmes’ termination or resign, while Sugar Grove Township Official Dan Nagle called the actions of the four “upsetting.”

Former board trustee Sabrina Malano also spoke during public comment, requesting that the board make a statement regarding the Hughes firing. Malano then defended her decision to help re-appoint Bergman and Wilson in June, claiming she did not know of the board’s intention to terminate Hughes at the time.

“Members of the public in attendance (were) out of order,” Morrical said. Morrical declined to comment further, citing legal advisement from the Library Board’s attorney.

Joan Roth could not be reached for comment.

Board Trustee Bill Durrenberger, who, along with Trustee Dan Herkes, voted against the termination of Hughes, also declined to comment. However, Durrenberger issued a statement last week, stating,“This is not a minor personnel issue; what the board has done is equivalent to the nuns kicking Mother Teresa out of the convent. An explanation is also required to protect a good person’s reputation.”

• According to Durrenberger, the board’s discontent with Holmes stemmed from three areas:
• Some or all of the trustees wanted to see different or additional programming, which Hughes was not providing despite the board’s request that she do so
• All four trustees claimed to have experienced difficulty in getting Hughes to provide them with financial and other information that was requested, in a timely manner or in the form that had been requested.
• All four trustees claim there were instances when Hughes made substantial expenditures or transfers of library funds without adequately informing the board in advance or thoroughly explaining the matter to the board after the fact. This is not to say that Hughes acted in an illegal or improper fashion; the board just took issue with Hughes supposedly not explaining or discussing the matter with them.

Graceffa said she understood that the Library Board wasn’t going to answer questions about Hughes’ termination during the meeting, but the board was made aware of certain questions during its meeting on July 21, and didn’t have answers to those questions, or even a prepared statement, at the meeting last Thursday.

“The people who came and asked questions at the last meeting were people I didn’t even know, so those were true library users there, and I think they deserve an answer,” she said.

Graceffa also said she wonders who will pay all the legal expenses that will be incurred, as well as the search for a new library director.

“To me, those are funds that could’ve been going towards buying books, buying DVDs, having programs … I just don’t think this was well thought out,” she said.

You can now add a new interim library director to the list of expenses, as current Interim Director Arlene Kaspik recently announced that she will step down from her position later this week. A special Library Board meeting to discuss a replacement interim director had been scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 17.

Hughes fired by SG Library Board

Photo: Beverly Homes Hughes, accepting the Sugar Grove Citizen of the Year in 2010, was terminated as Sugar Grove Library Director July 14 by a 4-2 vote by the Sugar Grove Library Board. The board has yet to release a statement as to the reason behind the termination. File Photo

2010 Sugar Grove Citizen of the Year let go with no official reason provided
By Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—Sugar Grove’s next library director will have some pretty big shoes to fill.

Beverly Holmes Hughes, who has served as library director for the last 21 years, saw her employment terminated by the Library Board during its regular meeting on July 14. The board voted 4-2 on the matter, with President Joan Roth, Vice President Art Morrical, and trustees Julie Wilson and Bob Bergman voting in favor of letting Hughes go.

Trustees Bill Durrenberger and Daniel Herkes voted against firing Hughes.

Hughes, who was named Sugar Grove Citizen of the Year in July 2010, said she preferred to not comment on the firing, but did say she was surprised by the board’s decision to terminate her employment.

“I was told that the Library Board wants to move in a new direction,” she said.

Holmes wasn’t the only person shocked by the board’s decision. Sugar Grove Trustee Thomas Renk expressed his disapproval of the Library Board’s decision during the village’s regular Village Board meeting on Tuesday.

“I think the Library Board made a big mistake,” he said.

Durrenberger said he wasn’t ready to talk about Hughes’ dismissal, but did say that a press release may be issued at some point.

“We’re currently beginning the search for a new library director,” he said.

Art Morrical could not be reached for comment.

In the meantime, the board has hired Arlene Kaspik, who was library director for the McHenry Public Library from May 1991 until her retirement in June 2007, as interim director while the board searches for a new, full-time library director.

Letter: To the Sugar Grove Library community

The Sugar Grove Public Library Board of trustees, along with the staff of the Sugar Grove Library and the Friends of the Sugar Grove Library, have decided that a referendum for operating funds not be on the April 2011 ballot, due to difficult economic times for the patrons and residents of Sugar Grove.

We feel strongly that we must recognize the economic strains on our community. The decision to wait until there is a more opportune time to run a successful referendum campaign addresses the financial constraints of our residents and the community understanding of how those additional library dollars would be useful.

There are many that wish the library could, and would, offer more to the community in terms of hours, collections and services. There are many that are without the resources to help financially support paying more for the library. Therefore, in good faith, we will postpone our desire to raise revenues for operating our library. At this time we are doing our best at providing hours and services while we work to balance keeping expenditures lean and library experiences rich.

We invite you to visit the library, patronize The Book Nook Cafe and support our Library Friends fundraising efforts.

Art Morrical, Sabrina Malano,
Julie Wilson, Robert Bergman,
Bill Durrenberger, Sheree Novotny,
Joan Roth
Sugar Grove Public Library
Board of Trustees

New bylaws for library

Friends president questions board’s process, action
by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Library Board on May 13 changed several library bylaws to make it easier for the board to outline its officers’ responsibilities and to navigate a budget expected to tighten considerably during the next year, library officials said.

The changes include termination of the library’s committee system in favor of library representative positions; an addition of a second Committee-of-the-Whole meeting each month; designation of the Library Board president as a primary spokesperson for the Library Board; and a decreased limit on how much money the library director can spend without seeking board approval. Any donations to the library exceeding $100 will now require board approval, as well.

The Library Board chose to hold off on a proposed change to the bylaw affecting the library director’s personnel decisions until further review.

“We are optimistic about the library’s future, and we believe these bylaw changes will have a positive impact on our library, and allow us to more effectively accomplish what we need to in the year ahead, within the confines of our new budget,” Sugar Grove Library Trustee Sabrina Malano said.

Malano’s optimism is not a universal feeling throughout Sugar Grove, however. Friends of the Library President Pat Graceffa gave a statement during the Library Board meeting, questioning the board’s decision to replace a committee with eight library representative positions.

“How is the board more qualified than the staff we have in place?” Graceffa asked. “I would also suggest that these library representative positions eliminate the diversity of input a committee would bring to the table.”

According to Graceffa, a committee meeting to review bylaws and conduct a survey discussion was held on April 22 at a library trustee’s home instead of the Sugar Grove Public Library, where the meetings are usually held.

“This board has an agenda, and they seem to think the way they are conducting business is unapproachable,” she said. “The board president knew I wanted to attend the bylaw and survey discussion meeting held in a trustees’ home, (and) he knew I was not welcomed in that home. Nonetheless, the meeting still took place in that home instead of in our library.”

Graceffa insisted throughout her statement that she does not challenge the Library Board’s right to make changes to any existing bylaws, but asked for the board to clearly demonstrate how the approved changes could benefit the Sugar Grove community.

Sugar Grove Library Board President Art Morrical said the library representative system was chosen because of the numerous scheduling constraints the board experienced while using a committee.

“Moving to a system of library representatives allows us to hold all our meetings as regular board meetings on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month,” he said. “That way, we can proceed with full board participation and continue moving ahead with critical budget discussions.”

Malano said the bylaw changes were implemented so that the Sugar Grove Public Library can stay current with updates made to Illinois state law, and also serve both the library and the voters who elected current library board members.

“Our goal as trustees has been, and always will be, giving our patrons the best possible library experience,” she said.

Library Board members available for ‘meet and greet’ next four Saturdays

by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—Sugar Grove Library Board members will be available at the library for the four Saturday mornings in January to answer questions residents may have about the upcoming referendum or about the library’s services.

“People still have questions,” board vice-president Sabrina Malano said. “If all they read is the question on the ballot, it can be very confusing. People want to know what rate we are asking for, and if it passes, what the increase will do for them.”

Malano emphasized that the board members will not be there to try to persuade residents to vote for the referendum, but rather to answer their questions.

The referendum, which will be on the ballot on Tuesday, Feb. 2, will ask Library District residents for an increase in the tax rate of 10 cents per $100 of Equalized Assessed Value. For a homeowner of a $300,000 home, this would mean an additional $102 per year.

According to Board President Art Morrical, if the referendum passes, the number of hours the library is open will be increased by at least 20 hours, the collection of books and magazines will be expanded, and more programs will be offered.

If the referendum passes this time, patrons will see the value of their “yes” vote right away, Malano said.

Malano said that, because of the timing of this election, the money from the increase in the rate would become available to the library this July.

“They definitely would see an impact quickly,” she said.

According to Malano, the increase in the hours would add a couple more evenings that the library would be open for students, as well as some additional weekend hours. The additional programs would target older children, such as middle-school students and teens, as well as adults, and additional computer classes. There will also be additional meeting room availability for community groups. A “no” vote would mean more of the same.

“There’s so much more we want to offer,” Malano said. “But it’s really up to them (the district residents).”

The library will host early voting, beginning on Tuesday, Jan. 12, through Thursday, Jan. 28. Kane County election judges, who will preside over the voting, will be able to access voting information for any registered voter in the county. Anyone who lives in Kane County, with the exception of Aurora residents, will be able to cast their vote at the library, Library Director Beverly Homes Hughes said.

“Meet and Greet”
about the library referendum
with Library Board members
Sugar Grove Library lobby
Saturday, Jan. 9, 16, 23 & 30
9 a.m. to noon

To answer residents’ questions about the referendum or about the library

SG Library District Referendum
• On the ballot for Feb. 2 election
• Asks for funding increase of 10 cents per $100,000 of EAV
• Would mean total operating tax rate of 20 cents per $100 of EAV
• Impact on a $300,000 home = $102 per year
• Library would begin receiving funds in July

If the referendum passes
• Library hours would increase from 41 to 61 hours
• Library would be open on Monday, and increased hours on Fridays and Saturdays
• Sunday could be an option, based on resident survey responses
• More programs, especially for older children, teens and adults
• Decreases in check-out line delays
• Decreases in the time a book is on hold
• Availability of more copies of books, CDs and magazines; greater variety of titles
• Creation of a DVD collection

If the referendum does not pass
• No changes to current situation, in regards to hours, classes, size of collection

Sugar Grove opts out of Ride in Kane

by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Paratransit Coalition will end its participation in the countywide Ride in Kane program shortly after the beginning of the year.

The village of Sugar Grove, in conjunction with the Sugar Grove Township, Sugar Grove Public Library and Sugar Grove Park District, signed up to participate in the transportation program in May.

Each governmental entity provided $1,000 in funding for the first year to fund rides for residents with disabilities and/or low incomes to work, health care visits, adult daycare, child daycare or programs provided by the participating members of the coalition.

Supplemented with funding from the four entities, riders were to pay $3 for the first 10 miles of the trip and $1.50 for each additional mile.

Although nine people had signed up for the services, Sugar Grove village liaison Joe Wolf said the majority of the money was being utilized by one township resident, who needed to get to his dialysis appointment three times a week. Approximately $400 per month was being spent from the fund, Sugar Grove Village Clerk Cindy Welsch said.

“The money was going to run out before the end of the fiscal year,” Wolf said.

According to Sugar Grove Park District Director Greg Repede, the board members determined that they did not want to put additional funding into the project beyond the board’s initial commitment.

“Our mission is not really to provide transportation,” Repede said.

The Sugar Grove Park District currently partners with the Fox Valley Special Recreation Association, which does provide transportation.

Repede said that Park District Board members felt the project was more closely linked to the missions of the village and the township, and that the district’s initial commitment was more to help out from an intergovernmental standpoint.

“We don’t have the ability to sustain the program financially,” he said.

Sugar Grove Township Supervisor Dan Nagel said that the township had budgeted a certain amount of money this year to support the program.

“In order to get more money, we have to take it away from somewhere else,” he said.

Sugar Grove Library District Board President Art Morrical said the hope was that more people would have taken advantage of the program.

“It did not seem like a good use of funds for just one person,” he said.

Wolf said he thought that a budget of $4,000 a year for a program such as this was not enough funding to sustain it. He pointed to Blackberry Township, which started out with $10,000 for the first year.

“You almost need that amount to ensure meeting more than one person’s needs,” he said. “I don’t think the township ever really bought into this. In good times, this kind of thing could have worked.”

Welsch said that it was too bad the program did not work out.

“The good news is that our residents look out for each other,” Welsch said.

The show must go on

Sugar Grove library referendum failure does not stop plans for new building
by Susan O’Neill
Despite having an operating fund referendum fail for the ninth time on election day, Sugar Grove Public Library staff continue preparations to open the new building in August.

Now their concern is once the library opens, what are its hours going to be and what will be offered.

Library District voters approved an $8 million referendum in 2004 to build the new building. The site on which the new library is currently being built is a five-acre parcel on the eastern border of The Windham Group’s Prairie Glen development along Route 30.

Library Board President Art Morrical said the funding the library has received for the new building may only be used for furniture, equipment and other tangible expenses of constructing the building.

The operating rate increase would have covered the costs for increased staffing to operate the new library, additional costs to heat, cool, light and maintain the new building, and more books for the collection.

However, the same funds available to operate the current 6,000-square-foot building are all that will be available to operate the new 27,430-square-foot building.

Sugar Grove Library Director Beverly Holmes Hughes is disappointed that the referendum failed again, but said she and the rest of the staff are looking forward to doing the best they can with the funding they have. She said the library is considering utilizing more volunteers.

The library is asking patrons for input on what days and hours they would like the library to remain open. People may provide their input on a survey on the library’s website as well as on forms available at the library.

Hughes also said that if people have concerns, questions or ideas, they should consider attending a Library Board meeting to voice those views. The library will host additional informational sessions at the library.

Morrical has also helped to form a Facebook group, “Fans of the Sugar Grove Public Library,” to ask for feedback and to gain support for the library. He said he is hopeful that when people see the new library, they will understand and appreciate the need for additional funding to run it.

For additional information, visit www.sugargrove.lib.il.us.

April 7 Sugar Grove election results

The following unofficial results are courtesy of Kane County. Winners are listed in bold.

Sugar Grove Village President

P. Sean Michels    957
Perry “PC” Clark    514

Sugar Grove Village Board

Joseph R. Wolf    600
Robert E. Bohler    733
David Paluch    601
Rick Montalto    627
Thomas F. Renk    661
Mary E. Heineman (Write-in): 450

Sugar Grove Community House Board

Vote for three
Stan L. Schumacher    957
Dan Long    938
Lillie Adams    1077

Tim M. Wilson    875

Sugar Grove Public Library Board

6-year term
Art Morrical    1352

Sugar Grove Public Library Board

Unexpired 4-year term
Joan R. Roth    942
Sabrina Malano    545

Sugar Grove Public Library Board

Unexpired 2-year term
William Wulff    327
Julie K. Wilson    794
Christina Cella    389

Sugar Grove Public Library Referendum

Yes    770
No    1277

Letter: Understanding the facts is vital to informed vote

Getting the facts is important to the informed voter. Offering facts about the library is one of the responsibilities we have as library trustees.

We hope to clear up some critical misconceptions about the Sugar Grove Public Library referendum. Here are three essential points that we hope will help.

First, the 2004 building referendum was successful. It established a separate fund of money to pay for the new building, not to operate it. Our new library is currently under construction and will open in August 2009. The board is required to spend money from the bond on the construction of that library only. Those funds cannot be used to operate the new building. The new building will have meeting rooms available for groups of all ages, and a cafe and coffee bar housed internally. Voters should also know that this new building has seen many reductions in order to be fiscally sound.

Secondly, the current referendum seeks a rate increase in order to operate the new building. The library has not had a rate increase since being established in 1963. With approved funds, we will provide more hours of service, expand programs, increase our collection, provide more Internet service and access to information and create jobs in our community.

Finally, the money available to operate the new building is the same amount of money available to run the current building. This amount barely covers our current needs. The difficulty is shrinking funds and a larger building.

Join us March 21 and “Get the Facts” at the Sugar Grove Public Library. Trustees and our director will be on hand between 2 and 4 p.m. at the library, 54 Snow St., to answer questions about the upcoming referendum. We look forward to helping you become an informed voter for the upcoming election.

Robert Bergman
Art Morrical
Sabrina Malano
Sheree Novotny
Carol Olsen
Jim Raht
Julie Wilson
Sugar Grove Public Library Trustees