Talks between the Park District of Forest Park and the village council to potentially purchase the controversial Roos property have reached a stalemate, it appears, as no appraisal has been completed, 15 days after the interested parties agreed to seek one.
The Village Council and the Park District of Forest Park agreed to have a joint appraisal done on the Roos property back on May 18, but when the Park District committee met this past Thursday nothing had been accomplished.
After attempting to contact Village Administrator Michael Sturino numerous times through the week and several times throughout that day a disgruntled Dave Novak, Park District Director, said, “I desperately wanted to have an answer for tonight’s meeting but I haven’t heard back and nothing has been addressed.
“I don’t want the public th inking that we (the park district) are dragging our feet on this and haven’t done anything about it,” said Novak. “Hopefully we can get some sort of word from the Village Council on the appraisal, but I don’t think they’ve done anything on it.”
Sturino confirmed that no information was at hand in time for the Park District meeting and said he was still waiting for a second estimate on the appraisal.
“It was unfortunate that I wasn’t able to get it in time for the Park District meeting,” Sturino said. “I wanted to get a second quote and it was from an appraiser that has done some work for the village before and I haven’t heard from him, it is the financially responsible thing to do.”
Mayor Anthony Calderone also cautioned that 15 days was a short period of time to expect an appraisal to be completed.
Appraisal or not, the park district still has no way of appropriating the necessary funds to purchase the Roos building.
“We are tied up in bonds until 2023,” Novak said.
After speaking to a financial expert, Novak proposed that if the park district wanted to buy the property they would have to seek a referendum and inferred that a referendum would not be approved by the town’s residents.
“We need voter approval and a referendum if we were to get the money … we’re not able to do a lease debt certificate,” he said.
Howard “Bud” Boy, president of the park district board, also seemed concerned with the idea of paying for an appraisal when money is already tight.
“Why should we get an appraisal? Why should we spend two or three thousand dollars if we can’t afford the property in the end anyway?” he asked.
Novak was informed the day after the meeting that one estimate was in but the village council was still waiting for another estimate from the group that appraised the Altenheim property.
“You don’t want to rush into things like this; you have to make sure things are aligned and that everything gets done in order,” Novak said.
According to Calderone, when the second appraisal comes in he will request a second joint meeting to decide whether both bodies still want to obtain the appraisal. He added that he could not comment on the Park’s finances.
“I would imagine once we got a proposal or two regarding appraisers, we would probably convene both boards to decide what we want to do,” Calderone said. “Both [bodies] would have to make a decision on expensing those funds.”
The park district has scheduled a meeting for June 8 to review its Master Comprehensive Capital Improvement Plan.
Novak optimistically said “I hope to have both estimates by Wednesday and the committee can then take the next step.”
Sturino said he hopes to have the estimates in but cautioned that he has not yet heard from the second company and suspects he will have to seek another estimate from a third company.
“I do have one quote,” he said. “In the interest of looking out for tax payers funds I would like to look for other quotes.”
At the meeting, the committee also briefly discussed its budget for the next fiscal year.
Major changes included budgeting $75,000 more to the pool, $27,000 to liability and $273,000 to the capital funds.
The final version of the budget will likely be approved July 21.
“We are waiting to see how the books close out in April before we approve this new budget,” Novak said.