According to Ali ElSaffar, our property taxes have increased 52 percent in seven years while the rate of inflation has increased 20 percent. He comments, “The dramatic increase in spending, coupled with reassessments that disproportionately affected homeowners, has put significant financial pressure on many Oak Park homeowners” [Assessing this year’s taxes: some good news, Viewpoints, Nov. 7].
The parking garages are running what now figures to be a $7 million deficit in 2007 and owe the village’s general fund $9 million. The police are owed millions because of a mistake in the negotiation of their last contract. The library is sitting on twice the required fund balance, yet is increasing its tax levy. And the high school, through an unforeseen clever funding maneuver, increased its levy and is sitting on a pile of cash. A middle school referendum is waiting in the wings. The financial abuse of this community boggles the mind. Outrage is a way of life here–why none at these clear abuses of fiscal responsibility?
If virtually any private enterprise was run like the village of Oak Park, its management would either be unemployed or in jail.
In anticipation of future elections, you owe your readers more information with regard to who specifically negotiated, approved and created the parking garage mess and the pension mistake with the police. The community is owed an explanation as to how the incompetent use of its hard-earned tax dollars occurred. These mistakes are huge by any standard and one can only imagine how much waste, fraud and misuse of funds is occurring. Perhaps Wednesday Journal could employ some real investigative journalism and help shed some light.
Richard J. Gorman