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An Attentive Municipal Organization that Connects with Community, Commerce, and Nature.

Committee of the Whole Minutes

Monday, May 17, 2021

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Village Board meeting was conducted live remotely
via telecommunications.

Mayor Gaffino called the meeting to order.

In attendance: Mayor Mark Gaffino, Trustee Laura Curtis, Trustee Mike Lowery, Trustee Mark Guethle, Trustee Mark Carroll, Trustee Todd Niedzwiedz, Trustee Carolyn Salazar

Staff in attendance: Village Administrator Steve Bosco, Finance Director Bill Hannah, Community & Economic Development Director Mike Toth, Village Attorney Kevin Drendel, Public Works Director John Laskowski, Police Chief Dave Fisher.



1. Opus TIF Incentive Request
Administrator Bosco stated that Opus had come before the Board with a conceptual TIF Incentive Request for the I-88 Corporate Park project. The request was not the final iteration, however in order to accommodate the project as well as the TIF Redistricting timelines, the request was being brought before the Board in order to initiate the discussion and determine if the Board would be interested in working with the request. Opus representative Josh Bauer was introduced.
Mr. Bauer reminded the Board that the project is slated to be a two phased, three building industrial project that includes the redevelopment of the 60 acre Valley Green Golf Course and a seven acre vacant tract of land owned by Euclid Beverage. The property has significant development challenges which include:
• Geotechnical issues with moisture content and soil bearing capacity
• Topographical challenges
• Excess to soil with contamination
• Challenging access

Mr. Bauer explained that the project is a joint venture between Opus Development Company, LLC and Principal Real Estate Investors. Principal Real Estate Investors has conditioned their agreement to partner with Opus on this project on the ability to obtain $3,931,420 in TIF payback, which includes $3,798,473 in pre-interest reimbursement and $132,947 in interest, 3.5% interest for the first year.
Mr. Bauer stated that Opus is requesting only the funding needed as opposed to all of the TIF eligible expenses. He explained that it is structured as a pay as you go basis, the payback is earned only if the increment is generated.
The funding requested would be specifically for the development and construction of Building “B” of the three buildings.
Trustee Curtis asked what the interest payment is for. Mr. Bauer explained that because the initial expenses will be developer funded, the interest is to cover risk and loss of earnings while the funds will not be traditionally invested and earning interest.
Trustee Guethle asked what the total cost of the project would be. Mr. Bauer explained that the project is upwards of $50,000,000. Trustee Guethle offered his support of the TIF Incentive.
Community & Economic Development Director Mike Toth explained that this type of Incentive is not unheard of. He went on to explain the challenges that the Village has encountered in the past with previous requests for development of the property. He stated that Opus’ request is on the lower end among previous requests for developing that parcel. Mr. Toth spoke about the payback schedule options, ten year/75% or nine year/90% of Increment earned.
Trustee Carroll asked if Opus could return with a request of more funding for other building in the project. Mr. Toth explained that they could return however the request would be subject to separate analysis.
Trustee Guethle expressed that he believes that Opus has been a good neighbor to North Aurora and he finds the TIF request acceptable.
Trustee Curtis asked how much funds were in the TIF fund currently, to which Finance Director Hannah stated approximately $1.4 million.
Trustee Curtis asked when and how much the first draw would be for repayment. Director Toth stated that repayment would begin after building completion and assessment.
Trustee Carroll stated that he is in agreement with a ten year/75% repayment plan.
Trustee Niedzwiedz asked where the Village stands with the Unified TIF District process. Director Toth explained that the next step would be the General Review Board meeting to be held later in the week, he anticipates it going before the Village Board July 19, 2021.
Trustee Salazar asked for clarification on the requested amount, whether it only applied to the land on which Building “B” will be constructed. Mr. Bauer confirmed that yes, the request applies to Building “B” as Building “A” does not have environmental contamination.
Trustee Salazar stated that she was in favor of funding.
Trustee Lowery stated that the future revenue for the Village was attractive and expressed that he was in favor of funding.
Mayor Gaffino expressed he was in favor of funding.
2. Forest Ridge Townhomes Draft Annexation/Ordinance Agreement
Administrator Bosco reminded the Board that the proposed townhome subdivision, just west of Windstone subdivision was granted Plan Commission approval in September of 2020 and appeared before the Committee of the Whole in January 2021 where the Board recommended moving forward with the project.
Director Toth explained that the Annexation Agreement is a contractual agreement with the Village that sets forth framework for the development of the property with code based provisions as well as timelines, fees and so forth.
Director Toth stated that due to the length and depth of the written agreement, it was before the Board for any questions or comments of which there were none.
3. Aurora Area Convention & Visitor Bureau
Administrator Bosco explained that during the March 15th, 2021 Committee of the Whole meeting a discussion had arisen in regard to the Aurora Area Convention & Visitor Bureau and the Illinois Hotel Operators’ Occupation Tax and how that is allocated. The State allows for a municipality to collect between 0%-5% in gross tax rental receipts with the caveat being the taxes collected must be allocated to promotion of tourism, conventions, and to attract nonresidents. Currently the Village collects 3% in taxes and 90% of that is paid to the Aurora Area Convention & Visitor Bureau and 10% is allocated to North Aurora Days. Currently the AACVB is comprised of ten municipalities, with an intergovernmental agreement along with the AACVB. Administrator Bosco introduced Cort Carlson from the AACVB.
Mr. Carlson provided an update on the services provided to North Aurora through the Aurora Area Convention & Visitor Bureau. He stated that throughout the past year, due to Covid restrictions, the bureau was unable to advertise to tourists, therefore they had shifted focus and have been marketing to locals in an attempt to promote local commerce.
Mr. Carlson explained that North Aurora businesses are marketed through AACVB social media, their Leisure Travel newsletters, stories and listings at and through the Aurora Area Go Guide. Since January 2020, events and attractions in North Aurora generated over 128,000 AACVB social media impressions as well as over 43,000 page views at Mr. Carlson spoke about the large number of sporting events that the Stuart Sports Complex can accommodate. He stated that the Bureau has marketed to many travel sports events with the potential of bringing in 11,282 room nights and $2.6 million to the local economy.
Trustee Curtis asked how the metrics are derived, how is the AACVB able to track a room rental back to their marketing efforts. Mr. Carlson stated that the AACVB, in their correspondence with the event coordinators, tracks the number of rooms/nights a particular event will require and will find availability within their region.
Trustee Lowery asked for a specific example of how the AACVB has benefited North Aurora or if there were any exciting opportunities upcoming. Mr. Carlson explained that there is a direct benefit to North Aurora’s hotels when rooms are booked in relation to the sporting events that the AACVB retains, which in turn also brings business to other local establishments like restaurants.
Trustee Guethle reminded his fellow Trustees that the tax is collected from individuals traveling to the area, the tax helps to fund North Aurora Days.
Mr. Carlson spoke about the discount program that was initiated during the past year for businesses other than hotels, offering other businesses the opportunity to provide discounts.
Trustee Curtis asked if there was a cost to businesses for this service to which Mr. Carlson said there is not.
Trustee Curtis stated that she believes private businesses should be utilizing their own marketing budgets to advertise. She does not think that a tax should be imposed on people renting hotel rooms in the Village, she believes that removing the tax could give the hotels a competitive advantage.
Mr. Carlson explained that the AACVB does offer a discount partnership program, however in a Covid climate they have found that businesses didn’t have the marketing budget therefore they have been offering basic services for free.
Trustee Guethle asked if any local municipalities did not participate in the AACVB. Administrator Bosco stated that St. Charles is not a member. He also stated that when staff was researching the subject, they found that municipalities outside of the AACVB did belong to other bureaus.
Trustee Carroll stated that when a visitor pays a 3% tax on a hotel room the whole community benefits from that 3%. He stated that he would like to hear what the hotel owners thought about the program. He also stated that while removing the 3% tax may offer a competitive advantage for the hotels, the benefit to the community as a whole outweighs that.
Trustee Carroll also suggested a name change to the AACVB. He stated that the Fox Valley Area Convention and Visitors Bureau would be more inclusive.
Mr. Carlson pointed out that no one hotel or municipality could have the impact that the AACVB has in terms of finding and bringing in large events, the benefit of the leverage of the collective communities.
Mayor Gaffino echoed the idea that the leverage that the AACVB has is a benefit to North Aurora. He was also in favor of a name change for the AACVB.
Trustee Lowery is in favor of the continued participation with the AACVB. He too thought a name change would be appropriate for the AACVB.
Trustee Salazar stated that she thinks the AACVB offers a niche service and is in favor of continuing with the AACVB.
Trustee Niedzwiedz stated that he is familiar with the sporting tournaments that come through Stuart Sports Complex. While traveling with a sports tournament it is a financial benefit to stay in partnered hotels because of the discount offered. He was in agreement that the partnership with AACVB is worth keeping.
Trustee Carroll asked if there is anything that local business can do to take advantage of the services that the AACVB offers. Mr. Carlson suggested business reach out to them.
4. North Aurora Days 2021
Administrator Bosco reminded the Board of previous discussions regarding North Aurora Days and pointed out that guidelines are changing. He stated that the North Aurora Days Committee met on May 10th and the discussion resulted in the recommendation of a one day event in September at Riverfront Park, to include bands, beer and food sales. The tentative date is September 18, with backup dates of September 11 and 25.
There was discussion in regard to the date and name possibilities.
The Board is in agreement to move forward with the suggestion.
Motion to adjourn made by Trustee Guethle and seconded by Trustee Carroll. All in favor. Motion approved.

1. Review of the Executive Session Minutes Dated 12/21/2020, 01/18/2021, 02/15/2021 and 04/19/2021
2. Review of the Release of Executive Session Minutes

In attendance: Mayor Mark Gaffino, Trustee Laura Curtis, Trustee Mike Lowery, Trustee Mark Guethle, Trustee Mark Carroll, Trustee Todd Niedzwiedz, Trustee Carolyn Salazar

Staff in attendance: Village Administrator Steve Bosco, Village Attorney Kevin Drendel.


Motion to adjourn made by Trustee Salazar and seconded by Trustee Carroll. All in favor. Motion approved.

Respectfully Submitted,

Jessi Watkins
Village Clerk





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