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Board Votes Down Need for Bonds, Referendum on Sports Complex

Board members during a special meeting Monday fully backed private financing for the complex—taking the need for bonds and a referendum off the table.

Lemont Village Board members decided Monday to continue the pursuit of private financing for a $21 million sports complex, by repealing an ordinance that called for it to be funded with bonds. 

The revoked ordinance would have enabled the village to use facility revenue, sales tax, income tax and tax increment finance funds to fund the complex.

It also allowed for residents to petition for a referendum about purchasing the bonds—an option they exercised by collecting 1,700 signatures to demand the issue be put on the March 2014 ballot.

Repealing the ordinance nixed the need for the bonds, and squashed the possibility of a referendum.

Instead the village is in continuous talks about private financing for the project, said Mayor Brian Reaves. However, he stressed no contract or agreement has been finalized. 

Other complications—like the contamination of the land on which the complex would be built—could muddle the village's vision, Reaves said. 

"We'll continue to do our due diligence as we move forward," Reaves told Patch after the meeting, "to see if the feasibility of the project still exists."

More than a dozen commenters spoke during the meeting—many demanding that residents have a voice in the project and how it's funded. Many fear that if proposed revenue sources fall short, the village would levy taxes on residents. 

Reaves mentioned the option of a citizens' advisory board, which the audience seemed to appreciate. 

Reaves and the board continued to stress the need for the project to drive revenue to Lemont.

"There needs to be an economic vehicle that runs and brings people into Lemont," Reaves previously told Patch.  

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