Urbana park, school boards approve agreement with Carle

URBANA — The Urbana park and school boards have approved a property tax agreement with the Carle Foundation.

The park board voted 4-1 at a special meeting Tuesday evening to approve an agreement “settling Carle’s real-estate-tax-related claims” against the park and school districts.

“We have approved our part of it,” park board President Michael Walker said after the meeting.

The Urbana school board also unanimously approved the settlement agreement Tuesday, with no discussion.

The park district has been holding about $1.9 million of Carle property tax money in escrow. The agreement calls for the park district to pay Carle $1.0125 million.

The school district has been holding about $10.9 million in escrow.

It will return about $5.7 million to Carle.

The settlement says the school district will pay $3.8 million within the first month following the dismissal order.

Then, it will pay $397,500 by July 1, 2014, again on July 1, 2015, July 1, 2016, July 1, 2017, and July 1, 2018.

After the meeting, Superintendent Don Owen said the settlement allows the school district to focus on its mission, which is educating Urbana's students.

“We're happy to finally be able to move on and focus on our purpose, which is providing world-class schools in the community.”

Owen said it's not appropriate for him to comment on what the school district will do with the $5.1 million it will keep in the settlement agreement, because the suit must still be dismissed by Judge Chase Leonhard.

Then, Owen said the school board will have to determine what the district does with the money.

Carle would agree to accept the amounts for both the park and school districts, satisfying any claims it has asserted against the two governmental bodies for tax years 2004 through 2011.

Park board member Nancy Delcomyn was the only member of the park district board to vote against the agreement. She had no comment on why she voted no.

"Our agency and our budget are small," Walker said in a written release. "Our board chose the certainty of a mediated settlement over the continuing drain of a lawsuit in both time and money so that we can focus on providing quality parks and recreation for Urbana."

"A good settlement is thought to be one that neither side to the controversy is totally satisfied with," Urbana Park District Executive Director Vicki Mayes said in a written release. "Compromises were made as the board wanted the district to have certainty and to be out of the lawsuit so the board and staff could concentrate time, resources, and funds on the missions of the park district."

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