Bolingbrook mayor Roger Claar delivered his State of the Village report on January 18, 2018.

On January 19, 2018, Bolingbrook United responded, I share excerpts of that response for those of you who have asked about or are interested in how I feel about the “state of our village.” The full response can be viewed here, as we had posted to the Patch.

It was an event for a select few:

“… an elite group of Bolingbrook residents and guests, along with countless politicians, listened to mayor Roger Claar summarize the State of the Village … at the taxpayer funded and owned Bolingbrook Golf Club.  As in prior years, if residents wanted to attend in person they had to pay a staggering $70 per person … [or] were relegated to watching it over the internet or on public access television.  We continue to find it disappointing that the event is not open to those who cannot afford the high-ticket price, or a second presentation is not provided at Village Hall and at no cost to attend.”

The need for more economic development:

“Mayor Claar expressed his concerns about the economic shift away from typical brick and mortar retail and the effect it is having on local tax revenue … [including] the Bolingbrook Commons Shopping Center, … and the eyesore it is.  He specially noted that little has changed about it since he became mayor over 34 years ago….   We have countless retail businesses and strip malls that are vacant, many of which have been for years.  One of the first things Trustee Bob Jaskiewicz, of Bolingbrook United, did after being elected was discuss with Mayor Claar the need for an Economic Development committee….  Mayor Claar refused to even consider such a move and instead during the State of the Village he simply complained there was nothing that could be done.”

The massive debt facing the Village:

“Under the leadership of Mayor Claar the Village has run up over $300 million dollars in debt … but he insisted that the Village is finished with incurring debt.  Unfortunately, … you need to look no further than the current litigation with Illinois American Water where the Village is attempting to buy back the water system that Mayor Claar and the Village sold about 20 years ago.  [which] is expected to cost the Village tens of millions in additional debt and it is unclear how when this occurs we can expect our water bills to drop ….

It should also be noted that, in accordance with a December 21, 2017, analysis of debt performed by The Herald News, if we compare our debt, per capita, to surrounding communities we are 29% higher than Romeoville, 125% higher than Joliet and 246% higher than Plainfield.  Only one municipality in Will County has more bond debt than Bolingbrook, the Village of Elwood which has a population of just 2,279.”

Our trash problem and basic services:

“Some people make light of it, but it is a basic concern to many residents and we all deal with it, trash disposal …. Trustee Jaskiewicz has repeatedly asked that the issue be taken seriously, and residents be heard on the issue – only to get shutdown each time he asks that the matter be placed on the agenda for discussion ….

It appears that Mayor Claar has begun to listen as he mentioned that it was being considered; however, little information was actually provided ….  Discussions behind closed doors amongst a select few need to end.  Residents are tired of skunks and coyotes tearing through trash bags and recycling blowing from their neighbors’ bin into their yard – let’s address the issue and stop delaying things.”

“Everyone else is the problem”:

“In his typical style, Mayor Claar also took the opportunity to promote his favorite candidates, businesses and political patrons – most of whom donate to his campaign fund and or are outspoken supporters of his.  He also chastised Democrats, and Republicans to a lesser degree, at the state and federal levels for not working together.  We found these statements to be particularly absurd coming from Mayor Claar considering just a few Village board meetings ago he accused our party of not contributing to the community and being opportunists.  He refuses to listen to the concerns expressed by Trustee Jaskiewicz and those he represents or to attempt in anyway to work with those who disagree with his agenda in any manner.

Sometimes being a leader means listening and working with those who you disagree with – not just opposing their positions.  We believe Mayor Claar lost sight of this long ago, but we remain hopeful we can work with him to better our community as a whole.”