Wheatland Township residents will vote next month whether they want to buy, rent or build a new town hall or remodel the existing building.
Tuesday night, the charged with evaluating the options proposed that the new township headquarters be about half the size of the building the township board had planned to build.
They continue, however, to look at area buildings that are for sale or lease, explore the costs of upgrading the current building at 31W236 91st St. in Naperville and consider the pros and con of building on a site the township owns at 4232 Tower Court in Naperville.
At a special town meeting on Aug. 9, the committee will present its final conclusions and the decision will go to the voters who attend.
“Come Aug. 9, it’s going to be in the hands of the electors,” space committee member Mike Crockett said. “You, as electors, will vote on Aug. 9.”
The committee, which citizens voted to create in May, looked at the three services townships provide: general assistance for the needy, property assessments, and maintenance of township roads and bridges, according to the committee report.
Since the township highway department has its own new $3 million building, the committee concluded that 12 township employees - a supervisor with two assistants, a clerk, a collector, and an assessor with six assistants – required about .
“We considered all the things townships do on a needs basis, not a wish basis,” said Rick Peabody, a space committee member and Naperville resident.
(Wheatland Township encompasses portions of the village of Plainfield, the city of Naperville and unincorporated areas.)
In 2010, the township board proposed a 3,400-square-foot building, and then expanded it to 6,000 square feet later than year. At its annual town meeting in April, the board unveiled blueprints for a 7,300-square-foot building.
It was at that meeting that a group of 17 citizens petitioned for a special town meeting in May to discuss the building.
At the May 23 meeting, about 200 residents overwhelmingly passed a measure to suspend all action and expenses on the new building and approved a space study committee to conduct a needs assessment analysis and examination of “viable space options.”
In its need-analysis, the committee is taking a narrow view of township functions and office requirements. Its citizen members – Crockett, Peabody and Deb Holscher – said there is no mandate to provide recreational areas for senior citizens, sports groups or people with disabilities.
Estimating the cost of space building space at $400 to $500 per square foot, the committee said a recreation area would cost between $400,000 and $500,000. Adding public functions would multiply the sanitation cost by six, Peabody said, because state code requires only one bathroom stall for staff, but six if the building is open to the public.
Township trustees Frank King and Joe Hudetz are also on the committee. King did not voice an opinion at the meeting and Hudetz was absent.
Crockett and Peabody called for a detailed analysis that would include surveys documenting need and interest in such programming and alternative facilities that can accommodate them.
“We’re not interested in a wish list of things that, if we build it, people will come,” Peabody said. “The information has not yet been given to show the validity of the need for these services and the township’s need to provide them.”