PLAINFIELD – Plainfield Public Library Director Julie Milavec tried to clear the air Wednesday morning about background and plans for constructing a new library during the monthly Plainfield Coffee with the Mayor meeting.
"There's some misinformation floating around right now," Milavec said, noting that the library's plans have come under criticism on social media and online media comments.
The library is officially asking residents, through two referendum questions, for permission to issue bonds for $39 million and increase the limiting property tax rate to build and maintain the new library.
If both questions pass with voter approval March 15, it will give the library the authority to increase property taxes by $14.91 per month – amounting to $178.92 per year – for a $300,000 home.
"One of the biggest points of misinformation floating around has been how many people the library serves," Milavec said. "People are looking up the U.S. Census numbers for the [village of Plainfield] and saying that's what the library serves."
The village's population was 42,138, according to 2014 estimates for the U.S. Census Bureau. However, the library's district covers more than just the village, serving over 75,000 residents.
Recent online comments show some residents are concerned about the tax impact of the library, and question the need to build a $39 million library in an age of declining book use and increasing technology.
Milavec said many of those questions and concerns have been addressed, and she encouraged residents to research the library's year-long process to develop those plans on the district's website, www.plainfieldpubliclibrary.org.
Village Trustee Bill Lamb echoed Milavec's comments at the public meeting Wednesday.
Plainfield Public Works Director Allen Persons gave several updates to construction projects in the village:
• Canadian National has been installing conduit cables and crossing arms at the 135th Street railroad-pedestrian crossing. The rail company is expediting the process, which had been delayed for months.
• The village received a $2 million grant for improvements to 127th Street between Meadow Lane and Heggs Road. The project is expected to go out to bid in early summer, and will take about one year to complete.
• Traffic poles and signals at Route 126 and Meadow Lane have been installed, but are waiting on installation of fiber-optic cables by the Illinois Department of Transportation, connecting them for synchronization to other signals west along Route 126.
• Construction on Route 30 is shut down for the cold weather. The project is on schedule and ready to start back up in the spring.