LEMONT – Lemont voters approved a referendum question that will allow the Lemont Public Library to buy bonds to pay for a $2.8 million renovation project.
With all the precincts reporting, the referendum received 56 percent of the votes.
Payments for the bonds will appear on property tax bills starting in 2016, after the bonds that paid for the original library construction are retired in 2015.
Because of lower interest rates, tax payments on the new debt service will be lower than with the current debt service.
The bonds will be paid off over a period of no more than 20 years.
“All of us here are really pleased that the voters have chosen to support the referendum,” Lemont Public Library Board President Vytenis Kirvelaitis said. “It’s a great result, and we really now look forward to having various people help us finalize plans on the building.”
He said it was not a given that voters would support a referendum that would add money to their tax bills.
“It’s always difficult because we realize the fiscal realities,” he said. “People’s finances are important, and we need to be conscious of that.”
He credited a citizens committee with getting the word out to support the referendum.
Kirvelaitis said that once the referendum results have been certified, the board will be able to move forward with buying the bonds.
The board said the renovation plan was in response to public meetings held to discuss what patrons want from the library.
Proposed renovations have included building a new meeting room in the front of the building, equipment updates and reorganizing existing space to create more small meeting rooms, quiet reading areas and a teen area.
During its October meeting, the library board said it does not have the reserves in its budget to pay for even the necessary replacement of equipment that is beginning to fail.
Kirvelaitis said the goal is to have construction finished by December 2015.
Even with the Lemont Public Library’s bond referendum approval, Lemont taxpayers will see the library portion of their property tax bills decrease starting in December 2016 after the current debt service is paid off. Here is an estimated breakdown of how the different tax bills look, based on the median home valued at $354,900, as well as what it would have been if the bonds had not been approved:
• 2015: $240.98
• 2016 with new debt service: $223.58
• 2016 without debt service: $185.73