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 preserve 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.
Village Board “appalled” by taxpayers comments
Sets time limit of 180 seconds for public comments
After our village board publicly expressed how “appalled” they were with the onslaught of residents speaking out at recent board meetings, regarding poor financial decisions, David Mekarski has worked relentlessly to enact a 3 minute time limit on public comments at board meetings. The Board vote was as follows:
Carolyn Gibson yes
Willet Hudson yes
Shirley Nale yes
Kelvin Oliver no
Bob Waite yes
The Illinois Attorney General Open Meeting Act states nothing about a mandatory time limit
“public bodies may limit the time allotted for the public to speak." (NOT MUST)
Village to initiate annual vehicle stickers at $50.00 per vehicle
Despite jacking up our municipal property tax rate 431%, unprecedented sewer rates, unprecedented utility taxes, unprecedented telecommunication taxes, and many other new sources of revenue (i.e. water tower advertising, cell towers, new metra parking lot, citations, and a new Walmart supposedly on the horizon) has our irresponsible village board dug our once proud village into a hole we may never get out of ? And once again they want even more money from the residents to bail them out.
You may personally thank our village board along with Flossmoor resident & Vero Beach reject David Mekarski.
See for yourself, just how much the Village receives annually from property taxes, utility taxes, telecommunication taxes, and all other sources of revenue. Don’t forget to check the whopping annual installments on all outstanding bonds.
Read your new 2013 Property Tax bill
Olympia Fields municipal tax rate up 431.5% over the last 8 years to another all time high
2005 was also the year our village board hired David Mekarski.
You will also notice that 2 other entities with a history of frivolous spending, are taking more of your money:
Park District Tax Rate up
From .679 in 2012 to .783
SD227 Tax Rate up
From 5.302 in 2012 to 5.830
Before our present administration
started running up outstanding bonds and spending frivolously, our 1990 property tax bill had a Municipal Tax Rate of “ZERO”
1990 was 5 years before the village had the benefit of the first Utility Tax in Olympia Fields history. In 2013 the village received $623,901 in Utility Taxes from residents. Source: 2013 Olympia Fields Financial Report, page 49
As the municipal tax rate soars, so does Mekarski’s salary
Are annual bond payments for the New Village Hall part of the reason for more taxes?
Never forget, the new Village Hall has put us in debt until November 15, 2025
Electric bills going up
Village “pleased to announce” 48.6% increase in Electric Aggregation Rate
Starting September, everyone in the Olympia Fields Aggregate Program will see a 48.6% increase in their electric rate. The original aggregate rate of 4.98 cents per KWH will increase to 7.40 cents per KWH. That’s a 48.6% increase.
Meanwhile, those who stayed with Comed as their supplier, saw a 38% increase to 7.5 per KWH.
Comparison based on 767 Kilowatt hours (avg. Illinois KWH per month)
Comed 767kwh X 7.5cents = $57.53
FirstEnergy 767kwh X 7.4cents = $56.76
Savings per month .77 cents
Bike Path/Multi-Use Trail
A new 1.25 mile bike path/multi-use trail will be constructed new on Vollmer Road. The proposed bike path connects the Vollmer Woods Forest Preserve to an existing bike trail that terminates at southeast corner of Crawford Avenue and Vollmer Road as well as connecting to on-street bike lanes currently existing on Kedzie Avenue Traffic signal modifications will be completed to provide countdown pedestrian timers for safe non-motorized travel at signalized intersections.
Enhancement Program (ITEP) – a federally-funded, competitive program that encourages transportation-related projects.
Olympia Fields Park District
fights to save Ash trees
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 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.
Drive-Up ATM Safety
ATM machines are an integral part of our way of life. They offer convenience to those on the run, but at the same time offer an element of risk. Using a bank ATM machine safely requires your awareness and a little planning.
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
Jones Lies to Residents about New Tax Rate
States in letter distributed to whole village, that Olympia Fields will still have “one of the lowest Tax Rates in the entire Chicagoland region” if the referendum passes. Click the following link to read his personal letter.
Police Department launch “HALO” program
The Olympia Fields Police are now utilizing a new neighborhood policing program (H.A.L.O.) designed to strengthen lines of communication between the department and residents.
In addition to HALO, the Police Dept. will be bringing back Bike Patrols to the village.
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.
SouthCom Dispatchers reveal 911 system riddled with problems
Southland officials dismayed with 911 system
The million-dollar system that Southland police officers, firefighters and dispatchers rely on every day is riddled with so many glitches that a local official at a SouthCom board meeting last year called it a “lemon” and wondered publicly, “What does Frequentis do right?”
Village seeks 456% Phoneline Tax increase in March, 2012 referendum
If passed, the new rate of $6.95 a month (per each landline) will be 5.56 times greater than the present rate of $1.25 a month.
Once again their own numbers don’t add up:
- The Village claims the referendum is to pay SouthCom Dispatch for 911 fees of $338,000 annually.
- According to the Village, they collect $88,000 annually from the present rate of $1.25
- The new rate would be $6.95 That’s 5.56 times greater than $1.25
- $88,000 times 5.56 equals $489,280
- That leaves a $151,280 surplus.
Matteson asking residents to raise the 911 surcharge from 85 cents to only $2.75 per landline in their referendum
Angry Homeowners say “NO” to Phoneline Tax Increase
Fed up with skyrocketing property taxes and frivolous spending, homeowners overwhelmingly voted down another Tax increase with the highest voter turnout in years.
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:
How did our local Legislators vote on bill that will raise Comed rates?
Don’t let Contractors
Rip You Off !
Contact the Better Business Bureau to:
- Check out a contractor before you hire them
- File a Complaint
- Compliment a Business that did a good job for you.
These actions can easily be done online at the following link: http://chicago.bbb.org/consumers/
Village loses AAA Bond Rating
Olympia Fields bond rating has been downgraded to the ranks of AA status. Be prepared for the village board to aggressively seek even more pledged revenue from overtaxed residents instead of reduce spending.
No Economic Recession at
Staff prospers in the new millennium (particularly after the 2007 referendum) while the village deteriorates and goes broke.
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
Our village leaders policy on the direction of property values
is not working
Police Department proudly announce promotions and new officers
Scott Morgan (left) was promoted to Deputy Chief.
Scott Metzger (right) was promoted to Sergeant.
Lawrence Smith (left) was sworn in as a part time officer.
Riley Mayer (right) was promoted to full-time status.
Not pictured, is part time Officer Craig Abraham who could not attend ceremony
Olympia Fields cruiser after being rear
ended by drunk driver on Route 30
Code enforcement performance has a major impact on property values
Annual Average Unemployment Rates in Olympia Fields
Calendar Year Olympia Fields County Illinois
2004 ............................................. 6.5% 6.8% 6.2%
2005 ............................................. 6.5% 6.5% 5.7%
2006 ............................................. 4.7% 4.7% 4.6%
2007 ............................................. 5.3% 5.1% 5.0%
2008 ............................................. 6.8% 6.5% 6.5%
2009 ............................................ 11.0% 10.3% 9.3%
2010 ............................................ 11.3% 10.5% 10.3%
2011 ............................................ 10.8% 10.4% 9.8%
2012 ............................................. 9.6% 9.3% 8.9%
2013 ........................................ 11.5% 9.6% 9.2%
Source: Village of Olympia Fields through the Freedom of Information Act
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.
Rental Housing Watch
Building Dept. (i.e. John McDonnell & Reginald Ford) still failing to do their jobs and enforce our Rental Laws
Inexplicably calling written laws “unconstitutional”, is a desperate excuse for incompetence
A Rental Inspection is required by the Village each time a new tenant moves into your property. Inspections are $50.00 each. Once the home has passed inspection, a Certificate of Occupancy will be issued. Tenants may not move in until the Certificate of Occupancy has been issued.
Audit finds $40K was stolen in Olympia Fields
Why wasn’t subject arrested and charged ?
A special audit has discovered that a police department employee in Olympia Fields stole about $40,000 in ticket payments during the past four years, according to village officials.
Citizens Police Academy
Class of 2013 Graduates
Congratulations to the Citizens Police Academy Class of 2013. We also commend Officer Dan Kickert and Officer Sean Berry for their hard work and dedication in making this program a huge success and helping take Olympia Fields Police & Residents interaction to an unprecedented level.
70.9% of Rich Central
Fail to meet State Standards
Rich Central High School fails to meet PSAE minimal state requirements for 2012-2013 because:
· Only 30.3% of students meet or exceed State Reading Standards.
· Only 27.1% of students meet or exceed State Math Standards.
· Only 20.8% of students meet or exceed State Science Standards
Wasn’t the Olympia Fields Educational Committee supposed to prevent things like this? This issue is critical to everyone, even if you don’t have children. Approximately 35% of your property tax bill goes to Rich Central (District 227) alone. This is your money that’s going down the toilet, along with your property values. Either get involved or support those who are involved.
District 227 faces $10Million
A slow economy and the Southland Charter School will bankrupt the Rich Township High School District 227 unless it can find an extra $10 million a year, either in revenue or by cutting expenses.
District 227 to waste $4 million on gratuitous office building
Just days after announcing the creation of a Budget Reduction Task Force to tackle the issue of the district losing revenue and deal with a growing financial crisis, the District 227 board agreed to purchase a building in Matteson for its district office and approved $4 million in general obligation debt certificates. Its located at 20550 S. Cicero Ave., and will cost $835,000 to purchase and need more than $3 million in renovations. The total cost will be over $4 million !!! The board’s goal is to use the $210,000 from the present lease payment to pay off the purchase of the building, so that money can go back into the operating fund. They claim “The building shouldn’t cost taxpayers anything”. They also claim they will pay off the debt within four or five years.
UPDATE : They lied : The actual payoff date for the $4.2 million debt obligation won’t be until 2022 !!! Raymond F. Coyne, Senior Vice President, of Hutchinson, Shockey, Erley & Co, headquartered at 222 W. Adams St. in Chicago, explained that the board has owed more than $4 million dollars since June, and that the ultimate pricetag on the vacant building will be $6 million dollars including renovations and interest payments.
He also admitted that his fee is 1 percent ($42,000) of the total $4.2 million borrowed by the school board. You can contact Mr. Coyne at (312) 443-1567
Olympia Fields Developer Sentenced
Residential reporter to SHARP July 18, 2010
The developer and builder of Linzey Jones
unsuccessful, yet somehow highly touted developments, Olympia Club, Olympia Club Condominiums, and Tolentine Estates, was sentenced for his role in a major mortgage fraud scheme that included houses in several Southland communities.
Village withholds Burglaries
The Village has withheld vital information on home burglaries throughout 2010. This information is critical in order for everyone to become vigilant and eradicate the problem. Our Police Dept. cannot be everywhere and should not be expected to stop burglaries all by themselves. How many of these burglaries could have been prevented if only the homeowners knew there was a problem? Click on the following link to view a partial list of 2010 Burglaries that our Village leaders did not want you to know about, and were not reported by the Southtown Star.
Attorney General Demands Village release all Burglary Records to SHARPWATCH
FBI Releases 2010 Crime Statistics for South Suburbs
The Village of Olympia Fields allegedly told the Attorney General that the list of 12 residential burglaries released to SHARPWATCH through the Freedom of Information Act was a complete list of all residential burglaries in 2010.
2010 Crime Statistics released by the FBI
reveal that Olympia Fields actually had 23 residential burglaries in 2010.
“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
Police Dog Lars helps find missing woman
SHARPWATCH Commends Olympia Fields Patrolmen
In a survey of 244 Police Departments in the Chicagoland Region, Olympia Fields ranked 12th in avg. citations per officer. This is indicative of a strong police presence on the streets, which contributes to the safety of our Village and Quality of Life. To the patrolmen who are “in the trenches” every night and day putting their own safety at risk, we salute you. Click the following link for Data.
$62,423 “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!!! Click the following link to see the actual figures.
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.
Storm Debris Pickup
following severe storms
To arrange pickup of branches from storm damage, You must contact the Public Works Dept. at (708)503-8200.
If you are told it is not the responsibility of the village, contact SHARPWATCH immediately. Now that we are paying one of the highest Municipal tax rates in Chicagoland, unprofessional service is unacceptable.
Home Rule always means higher taxes. Why else would village bureaucrats seek to strip your right to vote!
CLICK THE FOLLOWING LINK FOR :
“In The Light of Truth”
“There is no god higher than truth”