Mayor Jim Schwantz presented his annual State of Palatine address Wednesday morning, which focused largely on Palatine’s financial outlook and economic development.
The event was hosted by the Palatine Chamber of Commerce and was held at the new police headquarters.
In his speech, Schwantz said Palatine ended its 2011 budget with a $3.3 million general fund surplus and is operating with a four-month reserve fund of $16.6 million.
Schwantz pointed specifically to the capital improvement fund, saying that in the next four to five years the village council will need to make a decision about what to do with village hall.
“It’s a brick-and-mortar, solid foundation, but it’s failing in a lot of different ways,” Schwantz said. “It’s a boiler system—they don’t make the parts anymore for the boiler. We’re just keeping our fingers crossed that in the winter it keeps going.” Schwantz added that the HVAC system has reached the end of its life cycle and the windows are old.
“It was never meant to be an office building,” he said, adding that it will have to either be rebuilt, renovated or moved somewhere else.
Schwantz said that for the first time in 25 years, Palatine’s 2012 budget called for a 0.4 percent reduction in the village’s property tax levy, lowering it to 12.9 percent from 13.3 percent in 2011.
Schwantz highlighted multiple areas where Palatine was making steps to attract more businesses to the area.
- Significant focus to bring more development on Dundee Road — Deer Grove Shopping Center.
- Regency Plaza — working with center’s owner as it relates to the former Anthem Grill space, a 10,000 square foot restaurant. When it was built, the concept was that it would be two restaurants that share a kitchen, similar to Schaumburg’s Wildberry Pancakes and Westwood Tavern.
- 20 business outreach efforts in 2011, with 25 being the goal for 2012. Try to find out what’s working well and what’s not. Things that Palatine can try to fix.
- Ongoing text amendments based upon business owners’ input.
Schwantz said that all of the taxing bodies that would be affected by the new TIF unanimously approved it, noting that Palatine has two TIFs that are generating surpluses.
“Over the last three years, our TIFs have kicked back to the community almost $9.1 million,” Schwantz said.
Schwantz also gave an update on the Dundee Road median proposed by the Illinois Department of Transportation. He said that IDOT is open to modifications and increasing access points, as well as a traffic signal at Wal-Mart.
“In the time when you all saw the plan, it was very much a barrier median, with basically one break-point,” Schwantz said. “IDOT is looking at some drive eliminations on the north side of Dundee, so that’s something if this process goes forward there’s going to be some discussions there.”
Schwantz stressed that nothing is set in stone at this point, but at some point the issue is going to come back.