Who could have known that real estate prices would fall and foreclosures would increase in Oak Park? Who could have known that developers overestimated the tax benefits of their projects? Who could have known that the money Oak Park spent on projects would not provide the desired financial benefits?

The truth is that a lot of people did know; the Oak Park Village Board just did not listen. Smart and qualified people have come before the village board with facts to raise concerns, but these people are often ignored, for they presented facts that went against what the “experts” say. Never mind that these “experts” are often only experts in advancing the agenda of whoever hired them at the time.

The village board should not blame Oak Park’s financial mess on previous boards. It is not like the current village board was just elected. They have been in their position for a few years now and some are up for re-election. They should not be passing blame to others. The village board claims money is tight, but they continue to consider providing significant financial subsidies and incentives to developers.

The village board hopes that the money Oak Park may receive from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will solve our financial problems, even though the mentality of people that got us into this financial mess has not changed.

The village board needs to take accountability for their actions and the financial mess Oak Park finds itself in today. They need to stop listening to outside experts who tell them what they want to hear and start listening and following the advice of the community who tell them what they should hear. That simple change would restore the financial stability of Oak Park.

David Barsotti
Oak Park

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