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.
5K to benefit Respond Now
Source: HF Chronicle August 2, 2017
When Kelvin Oliver hits the streets of Olympia Fields on Nov. 11, he’ll be raising funds and awareness for Respond Now as well as promoting his own town.
Appeal your property tax
The plummeting property values in Olympia Fields may entitle you to a lowered property tax assessment. The Cook County Board of Review website (cookcountyboardofreview.com) is now accepting pre-registration assessment complaints from individuals filing on their own property.
Thieves target unlocked cars during vehicle burglary spree
Multiple burglaries to vehicles were reported to Flossmoor police last weekend.
According to a July 17 email alert from the Flossmoor Police Department, multiple residents awoke to find their vehicles had been entered and property stolen. There were no signs of forced entry into any vehicle; all appeared to have been left unlocked.
Police said car burglaries were reported on the evening of July 14 in the Heather Hill and Flossmoor Hills neighborhoods, the 2500 block of Braeburn Avenue and Brookwood Drive. A total of six police reports were made.
Also, a vehicle was stolen out of the driveway in the 1800 Block of Quail Court. The car door was unlocked and keys were left inside the vehicle, police said.
From previous investigations, the police have learned that these individuals will park in a remote area then travel on foot, going from vehicle to vehicle looking for unlocked doors.
A homeowner's surveillance camera captured an image of the suspect.
Who Spearheaded the Disastrous Lincoln Mall Redevelopment?
Who is credited with spearheading the failed massive redevelopment project that left the mall in shambles, put Matteson millions in debt, and forced current demolition?
Historic Oak Lawn corruption now tied to Olympia Fields
Oak Lawn Leaf April 2, 2017
“Two politicians from the south suburbs of Olympia Fields and Country Club Hills have also been tied to Bury through campaign donations. One is Country Club Hills Mayor James Ford and the other is Olympia Fields Trustee Howard Robinson. Both have connections to Chicago backed politicians”
“ two south suburban politicians used their political funds to donate $2,500 each after receiving the same amount from State Senator Michael Hastings, who likewise received donations from Village Attorney Paul O’Grady. None of those transactions are illegal but the movement of the contributions provided secrecy and deniability for all the parties”
“The only connection between Ford, Robinson, Hastings, and Sandra Bury, is Oak Lawn’s Village Attorney Paul O’Grady. The effect of laundering the money in this way is that O’Grady can deny that his $5,000 donation was connected to the $5,000 that ended up in Bury’s political campaign coffers. A phone call to Howard Robinson on Friday was not returned”
NO Retail Redlining
across the street
David Mekarski has desperately used “Retail Redlining” as his excuse for failing to bring economic development to Olympia Fields. So why is retail redlining non-existent across the street in Flossmoor ?
What happened to the
$700,000 sales tax surplus gone ?
“The benefit to the Village is the Sales Tax Revenue. We did some estimates based upon other Wal-Mart Stores within the region. He would estimate somewhere in the vicinity of $700,000.00 a year in revenue for the Village depending on their sales. It could be more than that or a little bit less. That is a pretty healthy revenue gain for the Village. We are very excited about that.”
“That is huge. That is just huge… the fact that a Village of this size could get a major retailer of that magnitude to come here is significant… “I salute you on a job well-done.” He believes that they all deserve a round of applause. (There was a round of applause)…. Success breeds success. He stated that what you all have done right now has laid a foundation financially for this Village for the next generation to come. He can’t thank you enough for the hard work and the time you put into this. He stated, “Thank you. Thank you.Thank you.” (There was a round of applause).
Village President Meyers-Martin and Administrator Mekarski stated thank you.”
Exactly what went wrong with the Walmart deal ?
Never forget that Mekarski was one of the architects of the disastrous Lincoln Mall Contract, and then paid $170,000 severance to leave Vero Beach after less than 1 year of service. The Florida Ethics Committee ruled that he had "used poor judgment”.
After reviewing the above data it is very apparent that only a person who was mentally challenged or just woke up from a 30 year coma would believe Mekarski negotiated the better side of the Walmart contract.
Obviously he didn't, or they wouldn’t be broke now !
Flossmoor sales tax figures triple following Meijer opening
Flossmoor gaining $790,000 annually in new sales tax and property tax revenue
Flossmoor’s monthly sales tax revenue jumped threefold following the opening of the Meijer superstore in June.
The State of Illinois Friday posted sales tax numbers for July, the first full month Meijer’s Flossmoor store was open. They show the village receiving $67,384 in sales tax revenues for that month.
Flossmoor Finance Director Scott Bordui said that amount is $45,000 more than average monthly distribution in the previous year. read more
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.
As our Municipal Tax Rate soars,
so does Mekarski’s salary
What do much larger Suburbs pay their Village Managers
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
$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.
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%.
Orland Park names village manager
New Orland Park Village Manager makes less than David Mekarski
Orland Park trustees on Tuesday approved the appointment of Joe La Margo as village manager, a job he had held on an interim basis since April. The employment agreement approved by trustees expires in early September 2020 but could be renewed, and La Margo will receive a salary of $165,000 annually and a monthly vehicle allowance of $600.
Rob Piscia named Frankfort administrator
New Frankfort Village Administrator makes less than David Mekarski
Rob Piscia has been appointed as Frankfort's new village administrator after serving in an interim capacity since June. His contract, which runs with the mayor's term, expires in May, 2021, and includes a $154,000 salary, according to village spokeswoman Mary Canino.
Where is David Mekarski’s
Olympia Fields home ?
“David Mekarski, the village administrator who has lived in the village for three years”
“Mr. Mekarski the village administrator, believes his home combines the best aspects of Oak Park, for its diversity; Evanston, for its quality of life; and Lake Forest, for its character”
Stop the Mekarski Gravy Train
This is how your skyrocketing tax dollars are being spent in a tiny 2.9 square mile village with a population of only 5000.
Never forget, not long ago, the Chief of Police was the only full time administrative position. Most of these were part-time positions or didn’t even exist. Giving Mekarski another contract is not an option. Olympia Fields must cap and reduce spending immediately.
(excluding Police Dept.)
Enough is Enough Put an end to David Mekarski’s
decade long record of:
-Bigger Government SALARIES SINCE 2000
-Bigger Taxes and fees 16 YEAR TAX COMPARISON
-Bigger Debt BOND DEBT
Man robs Chase Bank at gunpoint
Why wasn’t Code Red Alert issued ?
A male robbed the Chase Bank on Vollmer Road in Olympia Fields at 11:04a,m. Thursday morning (5-4-2017).
The suspect wielded a weapon during the robbery, which was described as a "takeover bank robbery" by the FBI. He fled on foot in an unknown direction after the robbery, FBI officials said.
He was described as a black male, 5-feet, 8-inches tall with a thin build and wearing all black clothing with a black mask..
A reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest. Anyone with information should call the FBI at (312) 421-6700.
Debra Meyers-Martin LIES about reduced budgets and raising taxes
Source: DEBRA MEYERS-MARTIN 3-26-2017
This despite the fact the Municipal Tax Rate has gone up every year and nearly doubled since she took office, along with the skyrocketing Village Salaries which have also gone up every year and are public record.
David Mekarski LIES about Referendum Newsletter at Town Hall Meeting
A stuttering David Mekarski told residents that the 2007 Referendum Newsletter stated that sewers were only a “minor part“ of the referendum, and that he “can certainly get a copy of it from file and prove the commitment by this board was to only take $200,000 out of the 2008 referendum for sewers”.
Debra Meyers-Martins then states that all the referendum money ($200,000) allocated for sewers was only “spent on smoke testing and televising the sewer system”
This completely contradicts what residents were promised in what was really printed in the 2007 REFERENDUM NEWSLETTER released by the village. A majority of residents overwhelmingly voted “yes” to the referendum believing the village when they proclaimed 50% of the new revenue was for sewers.
In a disgusting revelation, 10 years after the bogus sewer referendum, Cynthia Saenz revealed that the village is in debt $5,900,000 (in principle alone) for sewer projects.
2007 Referendum Newsletter
Village’s tax rate. This tax rate increase will generate
approximately $1.2 million dollars annualy in new revenues.
Approximately 50% will be directed to the General Fund to
prevent a reduction in services or necessary layoffs from our
Police department. The remaining 50% will finance a series of
sewer and drainage improvement projects that will directly
benefit many of our neighborhoods. For the average household
with a home that has a market value of $300,000, this increase
8. WILL THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES INTEND TO USE
SOME OF THE REVENUES RAISED BY THE
REFERENDUM TO SUBSIDIZE THE COST OF
NECESSARY SANITARY SYSTEM IMPROVEMENTS?
Our sewer sanitary system is aging. Over 60% of our sewer
lines are 40 years old. These lines are cracking, allowing
groundwater to flood the system. This ground water
infiltration overwhelms the systems ability to handle sewer
water. During storm conditions, sewer water can actually
“backup” into our homes. The Illinois Environmental
Protection Agency has actually issued a Violation Notice for a
portion of the system along Country Club Drive. The
reconstruction of this line alone will exceed $400,000. An
engineering study indicates that the cost of repair of our
overall system will exceed $7 million. To manage this critical
project, the Board of Trustees intends to utilize sewer rates
combined with revenues from the proposed 68-cent increase
to finance a 5-year capital improvement project. The end
result will mean a major reduction in sewage backups,
extending the life of the system for another 30 plus years, and
compliance with State Environmental laws.
Olympia Fields Municipal Tax Rate
Village has not had a balanced budget without a municipal tax rate increase since 2009
2010 was the year Debra Meyer-Martin took office allowing Mekarski control of the village
Dishonest Village Board continues to insult the intelligence of residents and boast about balanced budgets with half truth BS. Clearly they assume most residents don’t read their tax bill. The Municipal tax rate has nearly doubled since 2009.
Put the last decade behind us
Create a village government of the people, by the people, for the people
As long as we allow Democratic affiliates within our Village Board, we the residents will continue getting screwed. The Silent Grassroots Majority must get out and vote for candidates that have our backs.
While these affiliations have been personally beneficial to the careers of village board members, it has been nothing but a detriment to the grassroots residents of Olympia Fields.
Never forget where it all started
We have NOT forgotten who the sociopath was that launched the destruction of Olympia Fields when he irresponsibly hired David Mekarski in 2005 and kept residents in the dark about Mekarski’s reprehensible stint in Vero Beach.
Case of Mismanagement
The following presentation will provide professional and specific analysis of the village budgets revealing unnecessary management deficiencies resulting in unprecedented risk and the immediate need for an executive closed session to discuss change of course and non-renewal of contract of chief personnel responsible for village administration.
Please print following pdf or copy the link and distribute to all your friends and neighbors.
Tinley Park to study staffing levels
Tinley Park will study staffing levels and productivity of several village departments and compare their work with counterparts in similar size communities.
The Village Board on Tuesday approved hiring Matrix Consulting Group, at a cost of $42,700, to evaluate departments including the clerk's office, village manager, human resources and finance.
The study is expected to take 10 weeks to complete, with the findings likely to be presented at a Village Board or committee meeting.
The California-based firm will look at areas such as productivity, use of technology, if there are overlapping or duplicated functions and whether some tasks now being performed can be eliminated, according to a village memo. The study wouldn't look at departments such as police or public works.
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”
Since 2004, Olympia Fields annual salaries have increased +178% over the Consumer Price index
comparison to the surrounding communities.
Average annual salaries
Olympia Fields $40,556 $66,612
FACT: Since 2004, Total Annual Salaries has increased by +178.62% over Consumer Price Index (CPI) = (inflation)
Source:Village of Olympia Fields
Flossmoor $42,864 $52,434
FACT: Since 2004, Total Annual Salaries has increased by +20.97% over Consumer Price Index (CPI) = (inflation)
Source:Village of Flossmoor
Matteson $39,825 $45,268
FACT: Since 2004, Total Annual Salaries has decreased by -88.04% over Consumer Price Index (CPI) = (inflation)
Source:Village of Matteson
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:
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.
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."
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
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
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.
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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