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NO VOTE FOR LEMONT TAXPAYERS ON $21M SPORTSPLEX

Lemont Mayor Brian Reaves says no to referendum vote on $21 million funding for village owned sports complex, taxpayers could still be on the hook for shortfall.

 

An eight person delegation representing the group “Let Us Vote (LUV) Lemont” met this past Wednesday evening at the village hall with Lemont Mayor Brian Reaves for a 2 hour question and answer session regarding the proposed rental sports complex. Plans call for it to be built north of downtown on land leased from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD).  “Let Us Vote” filed the petition signatures of over 1,700 village residents, nearly 1,000 more than the minimum number required, to get the issue on the spring primary ballot.

 

When asked if village revenues were pledged to cover any losses on the complex,  Mayor Reaves answered yes, but countered that a reserve fund to cover future deficits was being established from expected profits garnered during the first two years of the loan when only interest would be paid.  The mayor maintained that a catastrophic failure of the facility could only happen in the event of a national financial collapse.  When questioned about the impact that $21 million more in loans would have on the existing village debt burden, currently in excess of $25 million, the mayor replied that village finances had been “stress tested” and did not yet approach the 60 to 70 million dollar legal borrowing limit.

 

Mayor Reaves also announced that private financing for the project had been secured through Mesirow Financial, lauded by the mayor for its “creative financing packages”.  Because alternate bonds were no longer required, the referendum vote could be canceled according to the three bond counsels consulted by the village.  “Let Us Vote” member Arlene Bergman declared that as a patriotic American she felt that it was undemocratic to cancel the vote.  Others maintained that a project of this size and scope and with village revenues and credit rating at risk, deserved to face voter approval.  The mayor retorted that he and the board had run unopposed and were elected to make decisions for the village.  Those who disagree were invited to run for office.

 

The mayor defended the need for the facility by pointing out that community oriented youth sports programs such as AYSO soccer were in decline, while private elite traveling sports teams that can afford to rent such facilities are on the rise.  The mayor cited his own example, admitting that he paid fees of $2,100 per season to a traveling volleyball club.  Mayor Reaves also noted that he has received numerous pledges for rentals from travel clubs.  When asked to provide the names of the committed teams, he denied the request on the grounds that the clubs must remain anonymous due to their existing contract obligations.  He also said that rental demand for the complex would be high because rates would be significantly less than those charged at other local venues.

 

At the conclusion of the meeting, the “Let Us Vote” group presented the mayor with a list of 3 demands, the first asking for written responses to a list of 20 questions, including concerns about safety, increased traffic volumes, and contracts.  They also called for a public referendum vote on the plan, no matter the type of funding, and that the village should actively work to raise “community awareness” about the issue through meetings and mailings.

 

Also representing “Let Us Vote Lemont” at the meeting were Al Beaudreau, Donna Brown, Janet Hughes, Jim Ladas, Rick Ligthart, Al Schroeder, and Rich Vitt.  Village Trustees Paul Chialdikas and Clifford Miklos were also in attendance.


B.S. Buster December 28, 2013 at 02:12 PM
What form of government and where do individual residents vote on every project? Why should you be allowed to interfere with a duly elected official just because you disagree? Run for office on a different platform!
Hank Olenick December 28, 2013 at 02:13 PM
Inna Closet. ..you know nothing about me or my accomplishments ...you are too scared to even post your name. ..do you really think anyone takes YOU seriously. ..just a scared boy screaming being the door.
B.S. Buster December 28, 2013 at 02:52 PM
There's Hank being serious again! You're right! I don't know about your accomplishments. Stop bashing those people that actually have some.
Victor Fischer December 28, 2013 at 03:04 PM
Mr. B.S. Buster. Afraid to use real name, I use mine along with many others. We are talking about major expenditures such as this Sports Complex, not your everyday maintenance projects such as road improvements,etc. I can name various projects that were pushed through by the governing boards, that later cost the tax payers, but that would mean naming names which I don't believe in name bashing. These are over and done with and nothing can be further accomplished, so lets just concern ourselves with the current subject mater.
Joe Mann December 28, 2013 at 03:17 PM
The mayor not wanting the people of Lemont to have a say in major projects is very disconcerting, especially when the people of Lemont are on the hook for the cost of building, mortgaging and operating a project that few people want and that has almost no chance of generating enough income to pay for itself. This seems like a gross misuse of power on the part of the mayor and town board.
Victor Fischer December 28, 2013 at 04:31 PM
Mr. Mann, I could not agree with you more, and that is why we started LUV (Let Us Vote) last year. Since you agree with us, I ask that you call the mayor's office and express your concerns. His office number is 630-257-1590. We are also open to additional help getting out the word as to what the mayor and board are pulling.
HF SD December 28, 2013 at 11:30 PM
B.S. couldn't agree with you more on all your comments, especially the ones about Highfire. The only notable village accomplishments that I am aware from Highfire is getting caught running down the street after he "borrowed" some of his neighbor's flowers and acting like a 4 year old at a school board meeting. I want to applaud Mayor Reaves and the village board for not listening to Highfire and the rest of the Let Us Complain, Village Do Nothings group. Look at the list of names of these people, has anyone ever heard of one positive thing any of these people have ever done in Lemont? It is like a who's who of Lemont's least desirable residents. I think an appropriate LUV campaign should be to let us vote this group of people out of Lemont.
HF SD December 28, 2013 at 11:47 PM
BS, if you want a great laugh check out Highfires facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/highfire.hank?fref=ts Maybe you have already seen this, I have been sent this link so many times by Highfire's neighbors, they all can't stand him. His Facebook posts show how delusional he really is, video game updates and creepy pictures and comments about women, total class act.
Hank Olenick December 29, 2013 at 12:27 AM
You are universally despised.
Hank Olenick December 29, 2013 at 12:44 AM
Stalking me are you.? Those creepy pictures you refer to are of an art commission paid by the city of Naperville. Thanks for calling attention to it. I am available for other commissions. BTW I won first place in the Lemont art fare two years running. I also spearheaded the right to vote on the money grab sports failure and am continuing . More to come , wicked witch. ...more to come.
Hank Olenick December 29, 2013 at 02:02 AM
Brian is in a money grab scam, are you cut in ?
Hank Olenick December 29, 2013 at 03:20 AM
I have been sent this link so many times by Highfire's neighbors, they all can't stand him... so you are slandering me? Ok I have an internet genius that will track you down and a law firm that owes me one, Want to go?
B.S. Buster December 29, 2013 at 08:16 AM
Hank, whether you actually run for office or not, you HAVE entered the political arena and are subject to the same harsh treatment you dish out to others in that arena...... Here's that name thing coming around.....
B.S. Buster December 29, 2013 at 08:20 AM
Hey LET US VOTE...... Didn't we already vote and the winners are the one's you disagree with? Why do you want to hijack this village away from the people's elected officials? Lemonters do vote. I just don't recall seeing any of your names on the ballots!
Jim Ladas December 29, 2013 at 10:41 AM
Dear Mr. Buster, I think it sad that you spent your Christmas morning attempting to disparage the efforts of public spirited citizens motivated by a desire to protect our village from making a tragic and irrevocable mistake. And I think it is high time for cowardly snipers like you to be required to use the name your parents gave you instead of anonymously defaming Lemont residents in a public forum. For all we know you may be sipping brandy and smoking a cigar in your Kenilworth mansion thinking about the money you’ll make on your stake in this scheme. I encourage you to come out of the closet and openly join the debate on this issue. As for being “political operatives”, you bet we are. And we thank the mayor and village board for that. We had grown too complacent and trusting in a village government that has become isolated and “comfortable” to use the mayor’s own term. We are back in “operation” after a long hiatus during which we had hoped our local government would realize the error of their campaign to ram this thing down the throats of taxpayers. This scheme has been advanced secretively and on a schedule that precluded much opposition. When it was discovered by citizens who doubted its wisdom, the perpetrators of this deed left them with only one alternative, to get “political” by passing petitions to secure a referendum vote for the people of Lemont. And we did a bang up job. In just 3 weeks during miserable weather we collected way over 1,700 signatures, more than double the number needed to get on the ballot for the March 18 primary. This is the kind of local political activity that a town can be proud of. Our village leaders chose to let the entire summer and fall pass with no effort to reach out to the people about the plan. Then suddenly, the mayor dropped the bombshell that even though 4 lenders had turned him down, he had found a private source of money, and he could kill the referendum to boot. We were once again stirred to action. You point out that we have demands. You’re darn right we have demands. You bet we have demands! What do you think we should have offered; suggestions, recommendations, maybe some hints? This village administration is hell bent for leather on dragging us into massive debt and their powerful actions require a strong response. The people deserve clear and complete answers to all of our questions, not the same lame and vague responses we’ve heard already. The people deserve to vote on any big issue that can eat into our tax revenue and drive us into debt. And all of the people of Lemont deserve to be sought out and informed about a decision this monumental. And my thanks to you as well Mr. Buster. It is because of you and the rest of the gutless, slandering phonies like you that have been inspired to get involved. I have never seen the name “B.S. Buster” attached to any worthwhile accomplishment, not even a reasonable argument. The mud-slinging you do while hiding behind a mask gives me even more determination to get out the facts, point out the flaws, raise the questions and demand answers and accountability. Those are the responsibilities of an informed and involved citizenry. I had been satisfied to be a regular “mind your own business” neighbor. Shovel the walk, tend the garden, wave to the folks across the street, was the extent of my community involvement. Thanks to you, I’ve talked to everyone in my neighborhood, and I intend to do it again. We will be heard and the people will be told! I am glad that we can raise our objections, that we can say our piece. You seem to believe that once a clique is elected to office, they should be allowed to run roughshod over the community, to dictate to the people whatever they want. I for one am grateful that we aren’t living in a dictatorship behind the old iron curtain; that we don’t live in the People’s Republic of Lemont.
B.S. Buster December 29, 2013 at 11:02 AM
No we live in the democratic village of Lemont where people have duly elected officials responsible for running government business. Put your name on the ballot and you might get a seat at the table and be able to cast one of the few votes that actually count on the matter. You have been heard. You've petitioned one finance alternative already. You've threatened....and yet the project continues..... The only thing you haven't done is offer a constructive way to help the Village move forward from the moribund condition that was caused by 50 or so years of waiting for private business investments... That seem to have gone to other towns, but not VOL. Please explain to the voters how another decade or two of continuing with the proven failed concept of waiting for private investors? See earlier where Victor outlines the degradation of business here since 1950. What DIFFERENT path do YOU subscribe to?
B.S. Buster December 29, 2013 at 11:32 AM
Let us vote: here is a recap of the last election choices here in Lemont. This is from the patch and can be validated via there search. Lemont Village Board Open Seats: 5 (Village president, clerk and three trustees) Who Has Filed: For Village President: Incumbent Brian K. Reaves; for Village Clerk: Incumbent Charlene Smollen; and for Trustee: Incumbents Paul Chialdikas, Clifford Miklos and Jeanette Virgilio Now explain to us voters how they orchestrated the lack of opposition in order to form a clique? I'm certain Ladas or Hank have another unproven conspiracy theory to attach to that.... Why don't you guys jump in the ring and save us all?
Victor Fischer December 29, 2013 at 11:41 AM
B.S. Buster, You have yet responded to my asking you to use your real name in place of B.S. Buster, aka, etc. We live in a democratic society that is a government for the people, by the people. Not just for a chosen few who appear to be in office for themselves. Why don't we run? I've been in Lemont long enough to see the politics of this town. Someone always seems to have the upper hand, and the board goes along with them. Right on Jim and Hank.
Hank Olenick December 29, 2013 at 11:56 AM
Hey INNA Closet at least go back to using your old name Paul C.
B.S. Buster December 29, 2013 at 01:38 PM
Victor,who I am is not important at all. Why do you feel you need to know the name of someone asking simple questions? Where are all these failed sports complexes? Where is ANY evidence that any village official is acting improperly in this or any other matter? How did the administration gain an upper hand where there is no opposition. Why do you think that elected officials acting in an official capacity is not democratic, but a loosely organized Group can come in and usurp the powers of an entire elected government throwing around words like vote and democratic?
Victor Fischer December 29, 2013 at 04:02 PM
Because Mr. B.S. Buster, I would like to know to whom I am speakiing. I said nothing about failing sports complexes, but you can find this information, its available. If you are all doing the correct thing, how come the people are finding out about what the board is proposing to do only after they have done it. The sports complex didn't come to light until after the last election, and very few people knew anything about it. This is coming from some business owners in Lemont to whom I spoke. There reply was WHAT! All you are doing is damning residents that would like some straight answers. Did we like what was going on prior to the last election, possibly. We weren't possibly turning Lemont into another Illinois Debt, where the politicians are looking out for themselves and screw the people. Are you afraid to use your real name because everyone may find out who you are and what you are.
Kirk Neetz December 29, 2013 at 04:07 PM
Don't listen toB.S. Electing the mayor unopposed does not include a 21 mil dollar credit card guaranteed with village taxes. Legal petitions, votes on projects ,accountability, legal objections to use of funds, impeachment a etc have always been and will be part of the democracy we enjoy in America. Those who think otherwise should not be in office. Voters make mistakes elected officials make mistakes. This process helps to right the balances I would think the mayor and board would welcome a vote on a project such as this. To intentionally sidestep the petition for a vote invited the suspicion from the constituents. Taxation w/o representation is an old lesson learned in grade schools, it doesn't work.:)
B.S. Buster December 29, 2013 at 09:58 PM
The difference between what you are alluding to, and what is happening in Lemont, is that in practice One has to be able to produce some type of actual evidence of wrong doing, misappropriation etc.... To take those actions. So we should be suspicious of those that enter government via the front door and gain elected powers and authorities....but we should not be suspicious of this rag tag group of single position "activists" bent on gaining back door access to the bargaining table? Isn't that Jesse Jackson and al Sharpton do to save the big city?
B.S. Buster December 30, 2013 at 08:27 AM
Yes we do! That is democracy! Whining crybabies trying to gain back door access to the bargaining table via what ever means necessary is not democracy. Still waiting for LUV to come up with any evidence of wrongdoing by any Lemont official or an alternative plan (other than another 5 decades of inaction) to help spur growth in investment in Lemont. All they offer is the politics of NO.
B.S. Buster December 30, 2013 at 12:31 PM
Sounds like your petition was honored. Another way was found that satisfies your petition while the project moves forward legally.... Time to get out the election petitions, If you want a seat at the table.
Victor Fischer December 30, 2013 at 01:40 PM
Is this a challenge, if so, when is your term up?
B.S. Buster December 30, 2013 at 03:11 PM
What vote? Now you are just making stuff up. Petition satisfied no vote needed for that. Nothing else to vote for currently. All the details for village elected positions are available on the village web site. They are more complicated than I'd care to get into here.
Kevin Cliff December 30, 2013 at 04:36 PM
Let me preface my comments with the fact that I am not against a sports complex being built. However, I do assert that the project should be undertaken by private enterprise only and not by any governmental body. Is government going to operate a sports complex better than profit- incentivized individuals? I understand that the mayor and public officials believe that they are going to create a money-making concern to benefit the Village and I have no reason to believe any nefarious motives are in play. I just find this outside the purview of what government should endeavor and do not like the associated risk. "The mayor retorted that he and the board had run unopposed and were elected to make decisions for the village. Those who disagree were invited to run for office." I doubt if anyone would tout this when running for office. I mean no disrespect, but the quote from this article immediately elicited one idea – hubris. I believe that public servants are with charged with the duty to serve the will of the public- not their own—no matter how badly they think they have the right ideas. From the Patch March 12, 2013 quoting the mayor-http://lemont.patch.com/groups/politics-and-elections/p/lemont-sports-complex-mayor-apologizes-village-to-pur152d6bfe68 “Moving forward, he said, the village will consider private funding options that take 100 percent of the burden off taxpayers.” I wish this quote were still true. The taxpayers should not incur any liability. As a final admonition, one should take heed when great opposition presents itself-especially if one is supposed to be acting on behalf of the public . Kevin Cliff
Jared Butler January 03, 2014 at 04:31 PM
Victor - is this a closed door meeting or will it be open to the public? Also, where will be meeting be held?
Victor Fischer January 03, 2014 at 04:57 PM
This is an open meeting at the village hall in Main Street. The meeting starts at 7pm.

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