County Administration called a Special Meeting of the County Board on January, 27,2009 for a briefing on why voters should support the 1/4% sales tax to support the new PRM.
Movers and shakers promises flowed. Brad McMillan, Co-Chairman of the Museum Collaboration Group said and I quote, "the seven acre block has been vacant for seven years and is an eyesore. This project is our own stimulus project. It will be built one hundred percent by local laborers and craftsmen and will provide 250 jobs per month. All of the architects and contractors will be local. This is a $136 million project with $90 million on hand, $80 million is available right now to put people to work. Fifty-five percent of the project is privately funded."
You may recall, Mr. McMillan ran for public office at a state level several years ago. He was soundly trounced. We are fortunate that he didn't get elected to Springfield to add to our already substantial financial problems. (A small business friend of mine is currently waiting for $800,000 past due receivables from the state and the County is still waiting for $5 million from the state to complete the underground parking deck, now underway).
A quick refresher - it is now an $145-7 million project. The county will put contracts out to bid which is no guarantee it will built with 100% local labor, selected bidders can hire union or prevailing wage people from anywhere. The major contractor hired to overseer the bidding, is from Chicago. Less than 30 million, includes Caterpillar's $13 million donation to the now estimated $93.4 million museum building and grounds, will be privately funded.
At least $65 million of the PRM building and grounds, will be funded by the taxpayer. Maybe more, if Ransburg can't raise the missing millions from the private sector.
Mike Everett, West-Central Illinois Building Trades, "said the project will employ over 250 LOCAL laborers over 25 months. These construction dollars will be spent locally. We are talking about a world class facility."
Russ Crawford, President of the Heartland Water Resources Council, said, "that since this is a sales tax ( the tax collected will amount to $72+ million minus $16 million in interest, etc.), the support would be regional. (We knew they would get that "regional museum' in the language somehow).