The Osceola Village board unanimously passed a resolution at their regularly scheduled meeting June 9 addressing the village’s ongoing relationship with the Mill Pond Learning Foundation.
The foundation has been at odds with the village since reneging on a promise to help fund the construction of the new Discovery Center in Osceola. Not coming through on their pledged amount saddled the village tax payers with a hefty tax increase to make up for the lost money, and further attempts by the village to recover those funds from the foundation have been unsuccessful.
“The village has tried repeatedly, with no success, to continue a positive conversation to come to an agreement on the balance due and it’s not working,” said village administrator Benjamin Krumenauer. “I think we owe it to our community to remind them that this project is exciting, but it didn’t end well — and it’s not the village residents’ fault.”
The total shortfall caused by the foundation comes to a total of $501,034, according to the board. The foundation and the board had been in discussions concerning the debt, but the negotiations have faded in recent months.
“When we did get a response back it was rejection of where we were going,” Krumenauer said. “There’s really been no productive conversation since February.”
The resolution outlines four procedures for the board’s future relationship with the foundation and the associated debt.
First, the village will maintain a note of the balance due as an accounts receivable in the village record until the debt is paid. Next, the board will direct staff to invoice the foundation on a regular basis with interest, to ensure the foundation leadership continues to be given notice of the debt. The interest rate will equal to the rate on the loan the village had to take out in order to make up for the lost funds.
“We’re just going to charge what’s out there to break even,” Krumenauer said.
The board will also discontinue any further discussion with the foundation and will not approve any more projects or enhancements proposed by the foundation until a payment plan can be arranged or the balance of the debt is paid in full.
“I want an out. I want this to be successful and I want the ability for Mill Pond Learning Foundation to be something in community someday,” Krumenauer said. “But they need to make whole on their responsibilities.”