ATLANTA, IL. (ECWd) -
Atlanta Taxpayers saved $200,000! Why is that important – besides the obvious? Let’s take a look at their spending and loans over the last 10 years.
6-28-08: Loan #32997. $100,000 Construction Expenses on Library Annex (Palm’s Grill and Atlanta Library Museum). Library board likes to tell everybody it was done with grants and donations, but they never mention this loan.
1-9-09: Loan #33122. $128,763.38 - $30,000 Construction Expenses on Library Annex and pay off loan #32297. Construction must have gone over budget.
11-25-13: Loan #34800. $100,000 Construction Expenses on Library.
5-2-14: Loan #34289. $25,000 Construction Expenses on Library. Must have gone over budget again. Maturity date – five months. Written expressly to roll into new loan?
8-26-14: Loan #34368. $188,320.68 Consolidation of Loans #33122, #34800, #34289.
Now it gets interesting. On Loan #34368, the Library agrees to pay the note as follows: “4 annual payments of $13,900 beginning 8-1-2015 and 1 balloon payment of $167,152.80 on 8-1-2019.” Did you catch that? The Atlanta Public Library has a balloon payment of $167,152.80 due in less than a year. What else is written in the loan? If the loan is not paid by maturity date (8-1-2019), post maturity date interest nearly quadruples! From 4% currently, to 15%. The Library has a history of rolling loans into new ones, and it appears this one was written with that in mind.
As most of you know, the Library trustees were in the process of buying the Union Hall building from trustee Bill Thomas before the Secretary of State claimed a grant used on the building was fraudulently applied for and conflict of interest. Mr. Thomas ended up donating the building to the Library after his conflict was exposed and challenged. The Sec of State did not require the grant to be repaid because it was essentially used for its purpose even though the application was flawed.
If the Atlanta Public Library Trustees had gotten their wish and purchased the Union Hall building for $200,000, the $167,152.80 balloon payment would have been rolled into a new loan. What would payments be on $367,152.80? Maintaining the 4% interest, 10 years would be $44,606.88 annually and 20 years would be $26,698.44 annually. We know they are now looking at renovations to the Union Hall building and with their history of going over budget, over $400,000 in debt was possible.
That is just debt! Not daily operations of the library. No books, programs, payroll, utilities, etc. Just debt spread between the 1,870 parcels in the APLD taxing district.
This is why community involvement and oversight is so important at every level of government. Without the local interest and citizen involvement, the Atlanta Taxpayer’s would have been forced to finance this.