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Elmhurst City Council, D-205 board unanimously voice support for tentative stormwater agreement

ELMHURST – The city of Elmhurst and Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205 acted Nov. 5 to move forward on an intergovernmental agreement that would allow the city to use district property to improve stormwater management.

The Elmhurst City Council unanimously approved a report from Mayor Steve Morley and City Manager Jim Grabowski regarding the tentative agreement Nov. 5. The city's report stated the city and district had been negotiating the terms of a comprehensive intergovernmental agreement from the time Morley and Board of Education President Kara Caforio signed a memorandum of understanding in September until a Nov. 2 meeting, at which a tentative agreement was reached.

The memorandum states the district would grant the city of Elmhurst easements at York Community High School and Jackson Elementary School for the city to use a portion of the sites for stormwater management projects at the city's expense.

At Jackson, the city would construct as much as 3 acre feet of stormwater detention at the north side of the school building, reconfigure the school's parking lot and add parking spaces to allow for school bus circulation around the west side of the school at an estimated cost of $350,000, the report stated. At York, the city could construct as much as 8.7 acse feet in front of the school at a cost to the city of $4 million, according to the reports

The city also would transfer $1.5 million from TIF 1 to TIF 4 and then to the Downtown TIF, if the district directs the city to do so, and the district could use the money for TIF-eligible projects in either area, the report stated.

Once the district signs easement agreements for the Jackson and York stormwater projects, the city also would pay the district $550,000 for facility improvements, including $50,000 for improvement of the gravel lot area at Bryan Middle School. The district would need to bring the gravel lot into compliance with city ordinances by Sept. 1, 2019.

The district would release any and all claims about former TIF 1 and the new Downtown TIF, and the city would release all claims for the $1.2 million stormwater fee-in-lieu for York Community High School, according to the report.

Through a 2004 intergovernmental agreement, the city was obligated to release some surplus funding from TIFs to the school district. However, the district had accused the city of breaking promises related to that compensation, saying the city hadn’t given the district what it was owed as part of the agreement.

The school board unanimously voted Nov. 5 to authorize Caforio and the board's attorneys to provide the city with a final draft of the agreement, which includes a definite term for the stormwater easements to be granted to the city at Jackson and York.

"It's been a long haul. .... It's a positive step for the Elmhurst community," Caforio said after the Nov. 5 meeting.

Caforio said in a phone interview Sept. 19 the district would determine how best to use the $2.05 million it could receive from the city upon receiving it, but it will likely be used for facility improvements as that is the district's "greatest need." It would save the taxpayers money and benefit the community, she said.

"This agreement ultimately, when signed, will put to bed any conflicts or difference of opinions that we have and really allow us to start anew, if you will, with our friends over at the school board and work together on behalf of the residents of Elmhurst," Morley said in a presentation at the Nov. 5 City Council meeting.

Attorneys may make a few small changes to the draft agreement prior to final approval by the council and Morley's signature, the report stated.

Morley said he intends to have a final intergovernmental agreement, which would include any minor tweaks by attorneys, prepared for final approval by Nov. 19.

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