April 13, 2010

Mt. Pleasant math: $10 million is really how much?

So, exactly how much will Mt. Pleasant's new Village Hall / Police Department cost?

The Journal Times leads today's paper with the big headline:

Which would lead one to believe that the Village Board finally came to its senses and decided to build a new Village Hall within the "confines" of the anonymous $10 million donation given to it for that purpose.

Au contraire, mon petite cherie!

Read beyond the headline, dear reader, into the forest of the fine print, where you'll learn again about the $4 million spent buying land for the new complex (this money will mostly come from the sale of the present village hall site); $2.9 million (to be borrowed) to equip the new police station and village hall; and another $166,000 - $263,000 or so needed to equip the "shell" of a police firing range included -- at a cost of about $250,000 -- within the complex (this will come from "donations," according to the police chief).

Old math thus puts the cost of the new Village "campus" at closer to $17 million than the $10 million figure cited -- or $13 million if you factor out the old village hall's sale proceeds; the same $13.5+ million figure the board contentiously OK'd six months ago. With haggling over the few hundred thousand for the firing range the only real argument. But, hey, it's only money.

Update: As the comments below remind me -- along with a call from Trustee Harry Manning, lone survivor in last week's election, no doubt for his efforts to rein in the spending on this Taj -- there's also the question of how much the village will spend relocating the Department of Public Works.  All in all, the latest number Manning quotes is $24 million. Hopefully, that's on the high side as the two newly elected trustees wield their mandate to cut the cost.


  1. Any chance the four or more local municipalities could share a firing range?

  2. The JT story told only part of the story. The costs listed are just to build the building. There will still be borrowing needed to furnish it, build roads to it and complete 90th Street. Those cost are in different packages so the departure from the current location doesn't look so expensive.

    Then there is the issue of the $2 million dollar new fire station that was already borrowed and waiting to be spent.

    Then there is the still undetermined location for public works department. That location and cost is still a mystery.

    One Board member noted a few months ago that when all this is added up it will likely cost $25 million to move from the current village site.

    The game has been to break all these costs into separate packages. They hope that no one will figure out that the actual sale of the current village hall and gift are not close to really paying for this action.

    I'm not knocking the gift. It was very generous but the whole hall could have been built and furnished for that amount.

    So the old board hoped to get a headline like it got today. Making it look like the gift paid the whole bill. The gift really helped but there has been and will continue to be more debt than has come out in these stories. Some predictions have the new debt due to all this coming close or over $10 million. That is the rest of the story. Good day.

  3. WOW, only $250,00 for SHELL --ANOTHER $250,00 to finish. $500,000 for shooting range !! Save $30,000 , good ROI ????

  4. So who duped the RJT, and why was it so easy ? And, why didn't the RJT explain the full cost of the firing range at $1/2 million?

    In 2007 the RJT ran an article with photos of their sources. It said $11.5 million for everything except land purchase.

    Why not just be factual about how moving the village hall will cost roughly double the donation, or double the 2007 "estimate."

    Will the RJT publish the facts (the correct full cost)?

  5. The County already has a police range north of 7 Mile Road along the lake. Rohner Center. Oh but its outside

  6. The bottom line is the new village campus in Mt. Pleasant is going to cost more than what the village is saying and what the Journal Times stated. The projected cost is closer to $35 Million. Look at the campaign literature of the two new trustees. If a Mt. Pleasant resident has any doubts, call your trustee and ask them point blank. How much is the new village hall going to cost including furniture, roads, new Public Works Dept? you will find that the sum of these is far greater than the 10 million dollar gift. The residents will be on the hook for the rest of it. OH MY GOODNESS.

  7. Wow, can the Journal Times be any worse. Their misses keep coming like clock work.

  8. Mt. Pleasant has been sitting on that $10 million for some time. Wouldn't you think they would have a lot more money by now considering they are likely earning interest on that large sum of money?

  9. I didn't grow up here in Mount Pleasant, but rather in the progressive communities of northern Illinois. After living in the Village for over 5 years now, I have seen that there is no sense of community pride, and question occasionally why I moved to this downtrodden community. The $10 million gift was a GIFT towards the construction of a New Village Hall. The community I grew up in has only 7,000 more residents, and spent $25 million on their police station alone - community pride and planning for the future is all I see from that. As for building it all for $10 million, I'd like to see anyone create that budget with the space needs of Mount Pleasant. The current police station would effectively run a community of about 8,000 people. Don't you people get that this is needed for the community and generations to come! And who cares if its $25 million total cost, the community is getting that value for only $15 million! Subtract the gift!

  10. David, you are right. I lived in Mount Pleasant until 1990 when I moved to Bloomington, MN. Beautiful parks and community facilities take pride and money to make happen, they have it right up here. I left the Racine area for better schools and quality of life for my children. A community needs beautification and quality projects to attract JOBS and residents. You should visit Bloomington - thousands of people call it home and enjoy quality of life that stems from the pride in community, so do several major corporations providing thousands of jobs.