Tag Archives: Village of Elburn

Park project fund will help village operate

by Martha Quetsch
The village of Elburn will use $100,000 previously designated for recreation to help cover its day-to-day operations.

The reason is that village’s general operating fund balance is declining. The fund, which pays staff salaries and other costs related to running the village, totaled $208,000 at the beginning of the village’s fiscal year, April 2008.

“That balance has been depleted to where it is today ($53,056),” Village Administrator David Morrison said Feb. 9.

Village President Jim Willey said the fund in the past typically had a six-figure balance.

Village trustees on Feb. 8 agreed that the village should transfer the sum from the recreation fund to the general operating fund.

The village established the recreation fund several years ago to pay for future park projects. Elburn does not have a park district, nor does it tax residents for recreation.

The village initially supported its recreation fund with 15 percent of its municipal utility taxes. However, the village since then diverted that money into its general operating fund.

So now the recreation fund’s only growth is from interest. The fund’s balance now totals approximately $164,000.

One recreation project village officials considered spending part of that money on was building a skateboard park. However, after spending many meetings over two years debating the proposal, the Village Board tabled it in October 2008. Trustees said that the village might need the more than $100,000 the park could cost for other purposes.

The village expects increasing financial constraints stemming from the residential construction downturn; village revenue has been declining because of a drop in the number of building permits and water and sewer connections for new housing, for which it collects fees, village officials said.

Not only is the village suffering a decline in permit fees, it anticipates that income taxes the village receives (its portion from what the state collects) could drop because of the economy as well.

“We will have to watch that closely,” Morrison said.

Elburn village notes

2/19/2009 Correction: This Elburn Village Note incorrectly stated that under the current municipal garbage ordinance, residents must remove the empty trash receptacles from the curb by 11 a.m. the day of pickup. The deadline for removing garbage containers from the curb is 11 p.m. the day of pickup.

by Martha Quetsch

Officials seek public input on garbage ordinance
The village of Elburn invites comments from residents in February about a proposed municipal garbage ordinance. The ordinance draft is available for review on the village website, www.elburn.il.us.

The primary change in the ordinance would allow residents to put their garbage cans on the parkway as early as 3 p.m. the day before pickup, and remove them as late as 9 a.m. the day after pickup.

Under the village’s current ordinance, residents may place their garbage out no earlier than 6 p.m. the day before pickup, and must remove the empty trash receptacles from the curb by 11 p.m. the day of pickup.

To comment on the proposed ordinance, send an e-mail to info@elburn.il.us or call (630) 365-5070.

Village may refund part of expired permits
Elburn trustees are considering establishing a policy for refunding building permit fees to people with expired permits.

Trustees on Monday discussed the issue, which came up after Schmidt Builders, Inc. asked for a refund of the fee it paid in January 2007 for a building permit for 1388 Souders Ave. The permit expired in January 2009, without the property owner ever building at the site.

Trustees said they would agree to refund any portion of the building permit fee that the village had not spent in relation to the project. In Schmidt’s case, the refundable amount is approximately $4,000, of the $8,100 it paid, including the residential building fee, water and sewer connection fees and the lawn and patio permit fees.

Village staff will draft the policy, after which trustees will vote on it at a future Village Board meeting. The proposed new policy might also call for charging refund recipients a $100 administrative fee.

At least two other property owners in the village have expired, unused building permits, Elburn Building Commissioner Jim Stran said.

Perspectives on growth

by Lynn Meredith
One thing people can agree on is that growth, for the time being, has slowed significantly. The economy, housing market and credit crunch have all contributed to reducing the number of homes and businesses that are coming into the Kaneland area. However, each of the four Kaneland towns has a different perspective on growth for their village.

Sugar Grove
There was a time when the village of Sugar Grove issued 200 building permits in one year. In 2008, it issued 24 permits. In the past, the village saw a rise in single-family homes, with several subdivisions being developed.

“Growth wasn’t as hot and heavy as in other suburbs,” Community Development Director Rich Young said. “ But for our relative size, we saw a lot of growth.”

One large subdivision, Settler’s Ridge, finished 117 homes with 100 lots ready to be built on and land ready to be developed. With the reversal in the economy and housing market, houses are not being built at nearly the same rate.

“Growth has fallen off significantly,” Young said. “They predict that 2009 will not be much better than 2008.”

Although three developments are still active, two that were approved but never annexed have either decided not to go forward or declared bankruptcy.

Young said that Sugar Grove has seen some activity in commercial building, with builders showing interest in future development. Still, office and commercial buildings sit empty.
The village is working with local commercial brokers to promote the village both regionally and nationally.

“We’re trying to be proactive on a limited budget,” Young said. “We should see growth ramp back up slowly and hope by the end of the calendar year of 2010 to see it start to return.”

Maple Park
For a village of 750 people, the influx of a possible 3,000 homes in two major subdivisions would change the small town of Maple Park. The village set in motion plans to improve the town well, and build a new water tower and wastewater treatment plant with the money it would receive from the developers.

In addition, the village approved two strip malls on the southwestern and northeastern corners of the intersection of Route 38 and County Line Road.

All that has come to a halt.

“With no impact fees, we’re left hanging,” said village Financial Committee Chairman Kathy Curtis. “We’re running the town on taxpayers’ money.”
For now, the village plans to paint the old water tower and apply for grants to help the aging infrastructure.

As the economy improves, so will bond prices. When that happens, Curtis said, it will be one year for developers to be able to make the improvements the town has counted on.
“It will take 10 years for us to build out,” Curtis said. “We’ll still be a small town for the next 20 years.”

In the last five years, Elburn has seen several new commercial-manufacturing buildings and new commercial and industrial businesses. The surprising twist is that most of the new businesses came to town in 2008.

Community Development Director Erin Willrett lists 14 new businesses in 2008, including Walgreen’s, Fox Valley Driving School, Green Light Driving School, Boyce Body Werks, Munchie P’s and Good Call Plumbing Services.

In past years, there were not nearly as many new businesses. In 2003, two new businesses started in Elburn. In 2004, three businesses, Curves, Genoa Pizza and American Bank and Trust opened.

In 2005, five new businesses started, and in 2006, two, Elburn Auto Repair and Jewel, came to town. Five businesses opened in 2007, and by 2008, there were a total of 28 commercial and industrial businesses that had started in the previous five years.

Currently within the village, there are five industrial parks and one potential park for the future. In Keystone Industrial Park, 48 lots exist, and nine are vacant. In Welch Creek Business Park, 10 buildable lots exist with three vacancies.

Kaneville has a plan in place for growth in the village. It’s called the 2030 plan, and calls for not just growth for growth’s sake, but for smart growth. Its Planning Commission is working with Kane County to see what that means.

“We want smart growth,” village trustee and owner of Hill’s Country Store Pat Hill said. “We want a few businesses and a few houses.”

Hill said that a subdivision on Dauberman Road had been dug in, ready for roads to be put in, but now nothing is going on. Ten lots had been sold out of a possible 40, but now only two have been sold. The other buyers either got their money back or lost it.

With acres and acres of prime black-dirt farmland around, Hill said she finds it a shame to build on the best farm land or on wetlands. She enjoys the thrill of farmers bringing in the Indian arrowheads they have found while working up the land.

Photo: Kevin Cook’s Elburn Pack and Ship was just one of the new businesses to come to Elburn in the last year. Photo by Sarah Rivers