Elmhurst, IL– Mayor Morley has sent a second letter to District 205 in response to a correspondence sent by the District on April 24, 2019. In the following letter, the Mayor is asking that the City and District move forward in resolving any disputes between the organizations. Coming to an agreement will allow the City to move forward with two outstanding stormwater projects that will provide stormwater relief to the residents of Elmhurst.
May 28, 2019
Board of Education, Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205
RE: Stormwater Relief for the Residents of Elmhurst
Members of the District 205 School Board;
I am writing this letter in the hopes we can complete a process that started over 6 years ago. This is to simply and succinctly state our position regarding the ongoing efforts to build the two stormwater projects in question and settle other disputes between our organizations. The residents of Elmhurst need our immediate help with flood mitigation as demonstrated this past weekend. Collectively we cannot afford to bicker while residents of Elmhurst, whom we have the capability and responsibility to help, continue to be exposed to potential flooding every time it rains. It is imperative that we reach an agreement and bring these discussions to a conclusion.
Simply put the City has offered the following in exchange for the development and installation of stormwater projects at both Jackson and York.
$1,500,000 in TIF funds - porting to either TIF 4 or the downtown TIF for the District’s TIF qualified use at the District’s direction
$550,000 for District facility improvements
$200,000 for the District’s acquisition of property
$500,000 if necessary toward the relocation of the Jackson school easement (project) after 10 years, but before 20 years.
Waive the stormwater fee-in-lieu owed by the District to the City in the amount of $1,170,400 (and interest of $330,000)
Build necessary permanent stormwater detention at York High School in an easement provided by the District. The property shall remain a playable athletic field. (approximate cost of $3,500,000)
Build necessary neighborhood detention at Jackson School in an easement provided by the District. The property shall remain a playable athletic field. (approximate cost of $350,000)
Reconfigure and pay for the parking lot at Jackson School to better accommodate school bus access. (approximate cost of $100,000)
Provide incremental property tax growth from early release TIF 1 project(s) development.
The offer from the City totals direct benefits of over $4.25 million dollars to District 205.
In the time since your reply and our last correspondence I’ve reached out to many of our common constituents for their opinion on the situation. Quite frankly the residents that I have spoken with are surprised that the City would have to pay anything for the use of land that Elmhurst residents already own.
One point that needs to be addressed is a misunderstanding as to the City’s intent related to inspection, maintenance and repair of the stormwater improvements after five years. It is the City’s intent, and has always been the City’s intent, that it shall inspect, maintain and repair the inlets, pipes and supporting infrastructure of the stormwater improvements the City may construct in perpetuity. The City also offers to maintain the turf grass for the first 5 years in an effort to insure the turf grass is well established before the District takes over grass maintenance.
As I’ve stated, I prefer to work these details out in a public meeting in front of the residents of Elmhurst. I will reiterate my standing offer to meet publicly with representative members of the school board to discuss these issues. Additionally, I would offer to utilize the services of a neutral mediator if you feel this would help move the discussions forward. However if you feel a better setting can be accommodated, I am willing to consider alternate ideas. The City stands ready to meet and finalize an agreement for the benefit of the Elmhurst residents. We hope the District feels the same way.
I look forward to hearing from you. It is my sincere hope that you will find support from the District to continue to work with the City towards resolving these matters.
Steven M. Morley
Mayor, City of Elmhurst