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.
Breaking News June 18, 2015
Village screws homeowners again
Olympia Fields municipal tax rate up 470.2% over the last 9 years to yet another all time high
Our village board has increased the 2014 municipal tax rate 7.29% to another all time high of 1.973. That’s 470.3% more than the 2005 rate of .346
2005 was the year our village board hired David Mekarski.
Olympia Fields in violation
of Public Act 097-0609
Public Act 097-0609 (5 ILCS 120/7.3), requires a village to post on its village website the total compensation package for each employee having a total compensation package that exceeds $75,000 per year. Total compensation as defined by the act includes payments by the employer to the employee for salary, health insurance, housing allowance, vehicle allowance, clothing allowance, bonuses, loans, vacation days granted and sick days granted, if applicable.
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 eradicate the Rubber Stamp Trustees that care more about “Board Unity” than representing the residents.
Another 4 years of "Chicago Style Politicians" means "Business as Usual": higher taxes and wasteful spending”
Sadly, the worst repercussion of this apathy is that many more of our neighbors will soon be moving out of the village.
Wal-Mart to scale back sharply on Supercenter openings
According to Crane’s Chicago Business, Business Insider, and The Huffington Post, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. cut its revenue outlook for its current fiscal year as it announced it is scaling back its expansion plans for its supercenters next year and stepping up investments in its online operations. "It's important for us to really think about these big boxes," Wal-Mart US CEO Greg Foran said, referring to the supercenter stores.
Supercenters have been proposed for Homewood, Richton Park, Tinley Park(191st & Harlem), and Olympia Fields.
As our Municipal Tax Rate soars,
so does Mekarski’s salary
What do much larger Suburbs pay their Village Managers
Village Board to initiate annual vehicle stickers at $50 per vehicle
“you went to the trouble of voting for us, and you ought to have us do some of the work. We are doing some of the work and no matter how much it hurts your feelings not to get to vote on this, it isn’t worth having an election” Bob Waite
Despite jacking up our municipal property tax rate 431% since 2005, 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 entire 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.
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.
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
SD227 Board Meeting Videos
Until, as a community we choose “in the next election” the direction we plan to take our FULL Board of Education, you will witness such dysfunction, which is actually two groups, one supporting a quality education for our students, the other supporting themselves.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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/
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.
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
Chicago Tribune Monthly Housing trends in Olympia Fields since 2002
See for yourself ALL Chicago Tribune Real Estate Data for Olympia Fields.
Village Censures Trustee
In an unprecedented move, The Village Board of Olympia Fields on January 12, 2015 formally condemned the activities of Trustee Robert Waite by way of formal censure.
Village President Debbie Meyers-Martin presented Resolution 2015-01 which stated: "over the past several months the Board had become concerned that Trustee Robert Waite had become engaged in conduct and activities which are unprofessional and which did not reflect the values of our community."
His unprofessional conduct culminated on January 4, 2015 with the dissemination of a highly inflammatory and racially insensitive communication to certain members of the community
Ghost Salary on Village Financial Reports
Discrepancies of our tax dollars
2012 was the first full year that Mekarski served in the dual capacity as the Village Administrator and the Village Clerk and yet, the Village denies paying any money to the Village Clerk, although their current budget states otherwise.
The Village of Olympia Fields Annual Financial Reports and 2015 Budget Expense Projections-Administration, clearly state that for the past 3 years the Village paid money for a "Village Clerk".
Once again, this is not unlike the typical "Chicago Style" ghost salaries we read about. Where did this money go?
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 Start Date Data Year
Les Delya $63,249.95 Tow Impoundment Olympia Fields 5/1980 2013
Congratulations to SD227 School Board Winners
Randy Alexander, Cheryl Coleman,
and Shannon Smith Ross
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.
Citizens Police Academy
Class of 2014 Graduates
Congratulations to the Citizens Police Academy Class of 2014. Once again we commend Officer Dan Kickert, Officer Sean Berry and all the supporting officers for their hard work and dedication in this awesome program.
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
No Economic Recession at
Chicago Style Politics alive in Olympia Fields
Staff prospers after the 2007 referendum while the village deteriorates, goes broke, and seeks more revenue from residents.
Building Commissioner raise gives Village another 6 figure salary
More Chicago Style Politics in Olympia Fields
Despite being broke, trying to squeeze a $50 vehicle tax, and losing their AAA Bond Rating, our Village Board is still refusing to reduce spending and is going to award controversial Building Commissioner John McDonnell with a new $100,000 annual salary.
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
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.
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.
$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.
“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
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”