Growing Pains

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Members called it "the state of the community" which is a chance for leaders in the tiny town of Poplar Grove to discuss the future of the expanding rural village. Most of the discussion about Poplar Grove's growth centered around expected student growth at North Boone schools.

In Boone County, the Village of Poplar Grove is on an upswing with more than 1,000 new lots scheduled to be built in the coming years. With the village's dimensions changing leaders met this afternoon to inform and discuss the upcoming growth.

Poplar Grove Village President Roger Day says, “There are some people that for sure say that they don't want any growth and there are others that realize that it’s coming and let's deal with it in common and sensible way."

New homes mean new students at North Boone schools. Superintendent Michael Houselog's team expects enrollment to almost triple by 2011, but since state aid doesn't arrive until a year after new students arrive, the topic of transition fees was again front and center.

Houselog says, "We think that the gap of 12 to 18 month period of time that it’s just essential especially when you start looking at the anticipated growth."

Houselog would like a $3,000 fee levied on any new home built in Poplar Grove and nearby Capron, but unlike impact fees in Boone County that cover only building expenses transition fees could cover new books for students and teacher salaries.

Houselog tells 23 News, "We don't see any type of increase in revenue as being a way to offering new opportunities for kids. We just want to be able to hang on to what we have."

While opponents of transition fees fear a drop-off in development, village planners will hear all sides out to maintain healthy growth in Poplar Grove.

Day says, "I would guess that they've got to justify to us what they're doing with the money and that would probably be written into the ordinance if and when or if we enact one."

Poplar Grove Village Trustees plan on working with a financial analyst to look over the predicted North Boone district growth and how transition fees could fit into the equation.
If the Trustees find the transition fee proposal reasonable it could come up for a vote by late spring or early summer.