REAL COST OF SEWERS
TOLENTINE PARK DEBT
Community Watch Group of Olympia Fields www.sharpwatcholympiafields.com
Fight the Good Fight
In The Spotlight
Our Mission is to restore the integrity, safety and prestige of Olympia Fields, Illinois. Our members watch out for each other and report suspicious and inappropriate activity to the Police, Village Hall, and to each other. Citizens and the government working together is very important for the success of our community.
Say NO to another Mekarski
“yes man” for trustee
David Mekarski convinced the Board Lemmings to appoint his approved “yes man” to fill the board vacancy of Shirley Nale. If not for a standing room crowd of angry residents, the board would’ve made the appointment. Mekarski’s contract expires in May 2017, and appointing another yes man trustee will help assure him another contract. We the people must maintain our unity and put and end to Mekarski’s decade long record of:
-Bigger Government SALARIES SINCE 2000
-Bigger Taxes and fees 16 YEAR TAX COMPARISON
-Bigger Debt BOND DEBT
Enough is Enough. Vote the “yes men” and the “figurehead” mayor out and send Mekarski packing in 2017.
Disgraced Village Trustee
Bob Waite censured for striking
and shoving female board member
The Olympia Fields village board voted to censure Trustee Bob Waite [RESOLUTION NO. 2016-11] for striking and shoving a fellow board member while considering an item on the agenda at the Village Board Meeting on June 27, 2016.
This marks the second time in 18 months that Waite has been censured. On January 12, 2015 Waite was censured [RESOLUTION NO. 2015-01] for disseminating an email containing racist literature to certain members of the community, in addition to several months of unprofessional conduct that didn’t reflect the values of the community.
Our condolences to Sergeant Scott Metzger on the loss of his loyal partner, K9 Officer Lars
2015 Municipal tax rate:
The well’s running dry
Residents sick of Mekarski’s refusal to reduce spending
While many south suburban villages have proudly announced their stable, and even reduced upcoming tax rates, our village board has followed the lead of David Mekarski, and made no pro active attempt to reduce spending. Therefore, a 5.88 percent municipal tax increase was imperative to draft a balanced budget.
Until the silent majority gets out and votes these “yes men” out of office, we, the residents, will continue to get screwed and see even more “for sale” signs throughout the village.
Another all time high for Olympia Fields new municipal tax rate (2.089)
Our 1990 property tax bill had a Municipal Tax Rate of “ZERO”
Quality of Life for staff prospers Chicago Style Politics thrive in Olympia Fields
For the last decade, the David Mekarski Administration has refused to reduce spending while sucking more money from homeowners year after year, with increased taxes and fees.
Clearly, the priority of David Mekarski is the Quality of life for the village administration and staff, especially himself.
Mr. ***** stated that he attends the Board Meetings on a regular basis. He hears how tight the Budget is. He works for a branch of local government. That branch of local government has maintained a AAA Bond Rating much like the Village has. During the toughest times of the recession, salaries were frozen for the employees for four-years. Mr. ***** inquired weather or not there has been a time in the past seven-years when the Village employees haven’t gotten a cost of living increase. Village President Meyers-Martin stated yes, we have frozen it. There was a zero degree raise.
As our Municipal Tax Rate soars,
so does Mekarski’s salary
What do much larger Suburbs pay their Village Managers
voters stayed home
Of the 4,009 registered voters in Olympia Fields, only 1072 ballots were cast in the Trustee Election on Tuesday April 7, 2015
Apathetic residents missed their opportunity to start eradicating a dysfunctional and incompetent village board that has clearly prioritized village staff and board unity over representing the residents. (all residents)
Another 4 years of "Chicago Style Politicians" means "Business as Usual": higher taxes, new and increased fees, and wasteful spending”
Sadly, the worst repercussion of this apathy is that many more of our neighbors are so disgusted with the Mekarski administrations poor budget management and relentless fees & tax increases, that they will soon be moving out of the village.
Mekarski prepares to
Screw homeowners Big Time
Proof 2007 Sewer&Drainage Referendum money wasn’t allocated as promised to voters
Once again, David Mekarski’s failure to reduce spending and poor budget management, has led the village into another financial mess. Mekarski is pushing an ordinance to approve a $20.00 fee to every homeowner’s water&sewer bill to fund a village drainage study, and future fee increments to finance drainage and SWM improvements village wide over time (forever).
Mekarski and his lemmings have published in the FALL 2015 VILLAGER, that this ordinance is being launched at the request of the HOA Presidents. Sources from the HOA Presidents vehemently deny any such request and oppose any new taxes or fees.
Our village board’s ignorance is driving to many of our residents to move, and David Mekarski couldn’t care less. Mekarski must be stopped now! He must be removed from office as he was in Vero Beach, FL after less than 1 year of service.
Need more proof the
2007 Sewer&Drainage Referendum
wasn’t spent on sewers&drainage ?
Video cameras are now cheaper, smaller, and higher quality
Our Village leaders philosophy that we are better off not knowing about residential burglaries in our village is senseless and irresponsible. Valuable information has not been shared. That’s why many vigilant residents are fighting back by installing video surveillance in addition to their alarms. Cameras are not only a deterrent, they can provide evidence to help convict the criminal element that dares to try. The following are examples of current systems on the market.
Olympia Fields now has one of the highest Municipal Tax Rates in Chicagoland
Click on the “CHICAGOLAND TAXES” tab in the upper left to see how Olympia Fields Taxes compare to every other village in the Chicagoland region.
Highest median property tax South Suburbs-Cook County
for non-hard surfaces
All 4 wheels must be on hard surface
Sec. 14-39.( I ) Parking on non-hard surfaces. It shall be unlawful to park any motor vehicle on any public or private property within the village unless such vehicle is parked on a hard surfaced driveway...
Chief Krull has requested all residents
to remember to call the police
non-emergency number if a violation is observed.
Garbage Can Ordinance
Sec. 11-41. (B) ...refuse containers and garbage containers shall be stored in area on the owner’s property which is not visible from the street.
Government wants another Bogus Referendum for Sewer Repairs that were supposed to be paid for by the 2007 Referendum
Olympia Fields may ask voters to OK sewer upgrade
Southtown Star By Sarah Zylstra Correspondent May 11, 2011
Olympia Fields voters may be asked to decide if the village should borrow an estimated $2.7 million to finish upgrading the municipality’s sewer system.
The village board this week discussed placing the matter on the ballot next year.
“We’re doing a comprehensive sanitary rehabilitation sewer project village-wide,” village administrator David Mekarski said. “It’s just an expensive endeavor.”
So far, 50 percent of the sewer system has been overhauled in order to prevent rainwater from leeching in and overtaxing the system, which could lead to sanitary sewer backup, he said.
The village has spent close to $5 million financed by bonds and federal stimulus grants to tighten up manholes, slipline the sewer mains and enforce plumbing codes that prohibit illegal connections to the sewers, such as sump pumps and gutter drains.
“We still have a lot to do even though we’ve eliminated all the rainfall that’s getting into the mains and the manholes,” Mekarski said. “What appears to be still leeching a lot of rainwater into the system are laterals — pipes that essentially connect the house to the mainline.”
The village board Monday approved borrowing $500,000 internally for now to rod, smoke and televise the lateral sewers in the Graymoor subdivision, a section of 150 homes where rainwater during storms can exceed the pump capacity.
“Graymoor is a serious situation because otherwise we could have sanitary sewer backups,” Mekarski said. “We’re trying to prevent that.”
Investigations into Graymoor will allow for a more precise dollar number on the bond next year, he said. The final number could range from $1.5 million to $4 million.
“We’ll formalize an entire budget then go out on essentially a backdoor referendum question to finance this last component,” Mekarski said.
Olympia Fields is one of the few villages in the state that is working to update its system to comply with federal and state standards, he said, something many villages are setting aside in the face of more pressing financial difficulties.
But Olympia Fields is financially strong, and ended last year with a surplus of funds, Mekarski said.
Now ask yourself, why would any “sane citizen” vote YES to such a plan that was supposed to have been paid off by the last referendum ? The same referendum that tripled our Municipal Tax Rate !!!
Millions of dollars were wasted on the "building out" of the new Village Hall. To add further insult to injury the government's representatives autocratically voted to spend over $62,000 on a sculpture to honor the former mayor that tripled
our municipal tax rate.
Never forget the following:
“The problem is ridiculously exaggerated. Most of the problem comes from unconscious racism…The truth is, there are only 5 or 6 run down homes in the whole village” THE INFAMOUS TEN 9-10-2006 STAR David Mekarski, Matthew Sosnowski,, Geraldine Tyler, Ilene Waite, Larry Green, Pat Collier, Kay Mangan, Susan Gatlin-Moroney, Craig Martin, Bob Waite
If a criminal breaks into your home while your away, a Monitoring Alarm System and Video Surveillance are the best assets to have. However, there are many things you should be aware of to prevent becoming the next target.
Jury awards $678,723
to former village employee for Retaliation, Wrongful Termination
“a subsequent, independent audit produced only questionable evidence funds were missing and no evidence Rambo was involved”
Another poor decision by crooked David Mekarski.
Enough is Enough, Mekarski is the one that should be terminated.
Never forget, the letter received from concerned citizen on December 18, 2011
Village throws former chief
under the bus
Olympia Fields Trustee publicly accused former police chief of knowing about & covering up alleged $40,000 theft. Could village now be faced with a defamation of character lawsuit?
Spending dips in Flossmoor’s
zero growth budget for new fiscal year
Mayor Braun said that the zero growth initiative shows that Flossmoor is concerned about keeping government spending at a level that respects local taxpayers.”Flossmoor is making a statement about the cost of responsible government.”
Village Manager Bridget Wachtel said, pointing out that Flossmoor operates with little debt so that financial risk is “relatively minimal.” Continued fiscal success is a result of sound financial planning combined with “an incremental yet responsive approach” to fluctuating economic impacts, she wrote.
Flossmoor will meet
zero growth budget target
“We want to do that for our residents”
Flossmoor is poised to meet its goal of a zero growth budget
for the 2017 fiscal year, Mayor Paul Braun said he and the other board members are pleased that village staff presented a preliminary budget so close to a zero growth spending plan.
However, he wants the village to meet its true zero growth target. For that to happen, additional cuts will be needed in some spending areas, Braun told the H-F Chronicle.
“We’ve directed the staff to make those cuts so that operating expenses in the new budget don’t increase over this year’s level,” he said. “We want to do that for our residents.”
“Government needs to live within its means and cut spending when revenue declines”
Say “NO” to a village run garbage contract concocted by Mekarski
Contrary to what you’ve been ambiguously led to believe, a cheaper village wide garbage contract is NOT going to save homeowners a penny. The Mekarski administration never had any intention to pass the savings onto your garbage bill.
Despite a potential new contract that could have collectively saved homeowners up to $90,000 annually off their garbage bills, Mekarski wants to charge residents exactly the same monthly rate as you are paying now for garbage pick-up.
The money saved is strictly for extra revenue for the fiscally unaccountable village administrator to blow again. The village would then be allowed to impose future fee increases at will.
Let David Mekarski know exactly how you feel about his arrogant refusal to reduce spending when he tries peddling this BS in newsletters and HOA meetings.
“Administrator Mekarski stated that the intent is to not let the residents see any change in their current rate. The current rate is not going to go down”
Neighborhood Watch Advisory
Most vehicle burglaries happen to unlocked cars
These 2 subjects were spotted cutting across yard approaching vehicles in driveway on Arcadian Dr. Subjects were spotted by resident, who immediately turned on all lights, causing subjects to abort.
Remember to always lock vehicles parked outside. Be vigilant and report all suspicious individuals to 911
Pension boost tactic sidesteps laws
to cost taxpayers millions
A Chicago Tribune investigation found that the costly perk of “pension spiking” has thrived despite the General Assembly passing two laws — nearly 50 years apart — that target pension spiking. In some communities, soon-to-be retirees have been relying on a little trick to increase their retirement income. They cash out for severance, unused vacation or sick days, or receive bonuses — yes, bonuses — in the months leading up to their retirements. That way, their overall salary for that final year is bigger, and that's a key factor in calculating the pensions they'll receive for the rest of their lives.
These public servants avoid laws that aim to stop so-called pension spiking by timing those payments just right — near their retirement date but not in the last three months leading up to it. That way, they can get around laws that cap salaries in the final three months of employment — the laws that were designed to stop pension spiking
Search for padded pensions near you (database) The Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund — using metrics from a 2012 law — flags pensions it suspects are spiked. It demands immediate payment from the local agency of the extra costs from the padded pension. You can search for agencies by their names, and sort the columns:
Transparent village administrations
release 2015 Tax Levies to press
Reduced spending and common sense budget management leads to stable tax rates
Braun pledges to hold the line on Flossmoor village spending next year
Braun called for a zero increase in municipal spending at Monday’s board meeting
HF Chronicle December 18, 2015
Mokena tax levy to cost about same
Village administrator John Tomasoski, said that the village has done a "very nice job with financial management," which positioned the village to seek less of a levy.
Daily Southtown December 15, 2015
Frankfort approves $2.77M tax levy
Levy plus bigger tax base will mean a slightly lower village tax rate for 2016
Daily Southtown December 8, 2015
Oak Lawn budget offers slight break for taxpayers
The Oak Lawn Village Board has approved its budget for the coming year which provides, for the third straight year, a slight reduction in the tax levy.
Daily Southtown December 11, 2015
New Lenox property taxes up slightly
"The rate is only going up less than a penny," said Finance Director Kim Auchstetter.
Daily Southtown December 15, 2015
2016 Village Employee Raises
Ghost Salary on Village Financial Reports
Discrepancies of our tax dollars
2012 was the first full year that David Mekarski served in the dual capacity as both Village Administrator and the Village Clerk. Although their current budget states otherwise, the Village denies paying any money to the Village Clerk,The Village of Olympia Fields Annual Financial Reports and 2015 Budget Expense Projections-Administration, clearly
Denise Will, Olympia Field Park District another member of the “$100,000 club"
More wasted tax dollars on a park system which has failed to operate within its budget and failed the taxpayers of Olympia Fields.
Breaking News June 18, 2015
Olympia Fields Park District property tax rate going up 8.81%
Our village board isn’t the only taxing body screwing homeowners.
2013 2014 percent
Olympia Fields .783 .852 + 8.81%
Suburban legislator pushing for law to prohibit Double Dipping
A suburban legislator is pushing for a law that would prohibit retired cops throughout Illinois from collecting a police salary and a police pension at the same time.
State Rep. Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville) introduced legislation this year that would stop retired cops from collecting their pensions and going back to work as officers for a different department. Wehrli said he introduced his bill because of a situation in Naperville where a high-ranking police officer retired, started collecting his pension and came back as chief.
Employee Wage Job Title City Vacation Sick
Les Delya $63,249.95 Tow Impoundment Olympia Fields 25days 10days
Residency requirements popular in south suburbs
Officials say living in village shows commitment
Ed Paesel, executive director of the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association, said "In a lot of cases, it's good to have employees live in the community that they work in" "Some communities view it as the employee having a stake in the future." Paesel said
Matthew Fares, chief of staff for Chicago Heights, said "Obviously, it shows a community effort to turn the city around and move the city in a positive direction," South Holland Mayor Don De Graff said he strongly believes that a residency requirement is good for the community."
Chicago Tribune Monthly Housing trends in Olympia Fields since 2002
See for yourself ALL Chicago Tribune Real Estate Data for Olympia Fields direct from the source.
Olympia Fields Housing Market among worst in suburbs
From February 2014 thru January 2015, Homes SOLD in neighboring communities like Park Forest, Chicago Heights, and Flossmoor are selling faster than Olympia Fields.
Village loses AAA Bond Rating
Olympia Fields bond rating has been downgraded to the ranks of AA status. Get ready for our dysfunctional village board to aggressively seek even more pledged revenue from the overtaxed residents instead of reduce spending.
“Mrs. Housten stated that she should mention that the rating is very important. There is no two-ways about it. Your rating is important. When you start talking about the interest cost that you are going to be paying on your Bonds, you also have to factor in what the Underwriters think about your community. Sometimes a AA will sell at the same interest rate as a AAA. We were not at all happy at our office when the downgrade came in.”
Asst. Vice President Speer Financial
VILLAGE BOARD MEETING
September 23, 2014
Olympia Fields Median
Household Incomes spiraling
to new lows
According to the United States Census Bureau, As of 2008-2012, Olympia Fields median household income is $79,762, which has shrunk by -15.89% since 2000. The median household income growth rate is much lower than the state average rate of +22.03% and is much lower than the national average rate of +26.32%.
Did the Village Board know about Mekarski’s blemished record at Vero Beach when they hired him?
“The parties mutually agree that they will not utter, transmit or print any negative or disparaging comments regarding the other party concerning the employment of Mr. Mekarski.”
Tinley Park hires new
Property Values Plummet
Olympia Fields falls to #134 on list of 2013 top Median Property Values in Chicagoland
Code enforcement performance has a major impact on property values
$62,394 “Gift for Jones” ?
Just when you thought the village couldn’t waste any more tax payer money...Now comes a sculpture that has cumulatively ended up costing us more than $60,000. The bill for this “GIFT FOR PRESIDENT JONES” should be footed by the people that have benefited the most from Jones, the village administration and all village employees. Their enhanced salaries could be garnished equally until the total cost of the Tribute is paid off. However, the true accountability for this irresponsible waste of taxpayer money goes to the 6 Trustees that unanimously approved it.
Controversial Jones Sculpture
not so “original” or “hand made”
Turns out this “original piece of art” is actually contracted to a body shop and fabrication shop for manufacturing.
Why was the Jones Gift Higher Priority than Police Dash Cameras?
Why did the Village have to wait for a generous $10,000 private donation from Rose Paving to purchase 2 police dash cameras ? Dash cameras are not new technology and have been in use by Police Depts. nationwide for years. Even small farm towns like Manteno,IL utilize dash cameras in daily routines.
Home Rule always means higher taxes. Why else would village bureaucrats seek to strip your right to vote!
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