Thursday, March 5, 2009

OPEN BLOGGING


As Eye on Lake County moves into its fourth month, let's get a feel for who has been reading our initial blogging efforts. For the next few days, why not have your voice heard, at least here. Post a comment, debate an issue, talk about the upcoming Lake County elections in April.

Let's see where this goes.

Please refrain from personal attacks, but rather talk about issues and facts.

27 comments:

Green Hornet said...

Even wonder how our homes are assessed? Why are taxes going up when values are going down? The Lake County Township Assessor and candidates will participate in a moderated forum hosted by Citizens Action Project on March 16 at 7 p.m. at Byron Colby Barn in Grayslake.

CAP, the Lake County-based property assessment watchdog, will also announce its new white paper, "Are You Getting a Fair Hearing? Appealing Your Property Taxes in Lake County."

According to CAP President John Wasik, "Since we formed CAP, we have said that township assessors have the most power and influence in making the assessment process fair and transparent. We find it of the utmost importance to give the pubic a forum in which to decide where to cast their vote." Candidates from Avon, Ela, Fremont, Moraine, and West Deerfield townships have been invited.

The event is open to the public.A $5 donation suggested. For more information, email info@citizensactionproject.org, go to www.citizensactionproject.org, or visit their blog at www.citizensactionprojectnews.blogspot.com.

Anonymous said...

Everyone get out to vote in favor for the Route 53 extension in Lake County. It is something that has been on the books for years and never came to fruition. It is needed by the tax payers of Lake County so they can spend less time in traffic and more time with their families. Go out and vote Yes, it is needed so badly for the county and will probably be a plus to all. Your vote is needed and can really make a difference. Get your friends and neighbors to help with it also. Progress in the inevitable!

Anonymous said...

I think that people should get out to vote in order to oust any elected officials who voted themselves a pay raise!

Anonymous said...

I have followed this site from day one and I love it!
Now, with early voting just a week away, we voters need some answers. I saw over the weekend that Avonone has put up road signs, but they have a big lie contained in the sign-they claim they are fiscally responsible, huh? I am just a regular voter and I have been to both web sites, theirs and Avon Forward and I have watched the Avon Forward videos-pretty cool. No where has Avonone explained how voting for over $40,000 in pay raises in this economy is fiscally responsible. No where do they explain how voting for a 15% raise for the assessor is fiscally responsible? How is raising the tax levy 8.7% to fund the tax raises, fiscally responsible? That $40,000 could have been used to serve the residents. I would like an actual member of that party to explain this, not some supporter who can only guess at their motives. We in Avon Township need the lies to stop now and it appears the only way to do so is to vote for the other party.

Anonymous said...

I see that Strang Funeral Home is supporting the incumbents in Avon Township. I guess they support an 8.7% levy increase and a $40,000 pay raise for elected officials. I believe it is time to stop sending them business-if you have funeral needs-GO TO SEGUIN-SYMONDS FOR YOUR BUSINESS.

Chris said...

Anonymous 3/9/2009
I made sure your comment was forwarded to the candidates of Avon One and am expecting a response from them in the very near future. As you had mentioned, you wanted an answer from them, not a supporter, and I want to get you an answer.

Anonymous said...

In response to anonymous (March 9 20009 6:36am)



Let me begin by quoting DMAC57 who was kind enough to put this on the table.

“…talk about the issues and facts.”

Anonymous, you made the claim “…but they have a big lie contained in the sign…”, but it was made without any factual context whatsoever. However, you are absolutely correct in asking the question and expecting an explanation direct from the candidates.



Avon One has reduced the total tax levy for township residents by over 50% in the past twenty years and cut costs to maintain a low level of spending and taxation at that level. As an example, if the levies from 1989 were still in place today, the average township resident living in a $200k home would be paying $258 a year in taxes. As the levies stand now, that cost is about $120 a year. That is fiscal responsibility.

It should be noted here that the levy noted above of 8.7% is not equal to an 8.7% increase. It is the maximum levy that the township can request from the county. The taxing authority will use that requested number and come back with an actual number, historically LESS than what was requested. The actual tax levy for the township fund in 1989 was a whopping 22.1%. Since then, the track record of Avon One has brought that number down substantially. That is fiscal responsibility.


In terms of salaries, let’s break that down in terms of today’s economy, just to be fair.

The supervisor, highway commissioner and assessor all make about the same as the average Wal-Mart store manager or general manager, AFTER the increase.

(source: http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Employer=Wal-Mart_Stores,_Inc/Salary)

The clerk makes about the same as a full-time department manager at Wal-Mart, AFTER the increase.

(source: http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Employer=Wal-Mart_Stores,_Inc/Hourly_Rate)

The trustees make about as much as a part-time cashier at Wal-Mart, AFTER the increase.

(source: http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Employer=Wal-Mart_Stores,_Inc/Hourly_Rate)



Wal-Mart happens to be one of the few companies that are thriving in this market, in part because of their low salaries – salaries that are comparable to the officials running the township government. When this $40,000 number is thrown around, what our opponents fail to mention is that this $40,000 increase is spread out across the four year term. That includes a one-time increase of approximately $16,000 to the assessor to bring his salary in line with the AVERAGE assessor in Lake County. Not the top paid, not the top 20 percent, but right in the middle. That is fiscal responsibility.

A few other interesting facts that you may not know in defense of our position:

Avon One has maintained a balanced budget and has not run any accounts at a negative balance – ever. There have been complaints about how the highway department had a 1.2 million dollar budget last year. That budget included the current project of repairs to Drury Lane and Shorewood. No bonds were issued to pay for this project. No debt was accumulated to pay for this project. Responsible saving and spending patterns over the past 24 years paid for this and other improvement projects. That is fiscal responsibility.

Avon One has been responsible for obtaining and administering over $1 million dollars in grants over the past 20 years including over half of that for NICASA of Lake County. That’s fifty-thousand dollars a year that taxpayers did not have to foot the bill for. That is fiscal responsibility.

I hope that this answers your questions and demonstrates the proven history of fiscal responsibility that Avon One has engaged in. If you have additional questions or would like further details, I encourage you to contact us directly by visiting www.avononenow.com. You can fill out our contact form or call us directly.

Warm regards,
Molli Larson

Avon Township Clerk
Avon One Candidate for Clerk

Anonymous said...

Dear Ms. Larson:
Thank you for your comments.
I have reviewed your comments against the opponent, Avon Forward, and I must say your comments don't establish your fiscal responsibility.
First, you state that your party has reduced the tax levy by 50% over the past twenty years. But you fail to mention all the new construction that has come into Avon Township over the past twenty years. All that new construction, means way more money-so naturally your party reduced the tax levy. Otherwise, as I have read from Avon Forward, you would have had an illegal accumulation of taxpayer funds. That really doesn't show fiscal responsibility, but mere compliance with the law.
Second, your party did, in fact, seek a levy increase of 8.7%. I don't think it matters that Avon may receive less than that. As I see Avon Forward's position, as an outsider, is that your party even suggested an levy increase. That is what shows lack of fiscal responsibility.
I received some of you advertising over the weekend on my door, in a bag. What got me was that your party said that you received $125,000 in grants, but where is that savings to the taxpayer? Usually, when a government receives a grant they can reduce the amount of sepnding and pass that on to the taxpayer by way of either keeping the levy the same or reducing the levy.
I gotta say your salary defense just doesn't hold water. Just because everyone else is getting raises, doesn't mean you should. You can compare your salary to walmart, they are a private company, you are getting your salary from the sweat of the taxpayers. I just can't believe that you can't make due with $61,000 a year! My God, I would love to have that much in salary.
I guess I don't see how giving a 15% rasie to guy who wrote to me in a mailer and said he can't do anything about the assessments is fiscally responsible. And why does he have to be paid in the top 1/2 or whatever. Why can't he be in the bottom 1/4. $63,000 is a heck of a lot of money.
I think therein lies the fundamental difference between Avon Forward, as I have read, and your party, Avon Forward candidates believe that any raise in this lousy economy is not right, irresponsible-you guys seem to just want your money, no matter how much everyone is struggling. Do you understand how hard it is out here to make a living, to live paycheck to paycheck and see you guys living high off the hog, with salary increase. Listen, no amount of raises in this economy is fiscally responsible for government officials.
Just one comment on the highway department, I read where they had 2.2 million dollars, not 1.2, who is right. I have listened to Avon Forward's video, as they say the highway department has a $600,000 surplus! Not that hard to operate in the black with that much cushion. That is not fiscal responsibility, you could have been reducing my levy this year with no problem.
You gotta keep in mind that you are using taxpayer money-why do you need $61,000 a year-because other townships pay that much? You should be serving, not to make money but to serve the people-the supervisor can't live on $50,000 a year?? Give that to me and I will be very happy. So much becomes about egos, how much are they making, what do they drive-that really is not the point in life and until the Avon Party gets that, you will remain fiscally irresponsible.

George said...

One last thing-I know you are busy and you are not going to sway me-so both sides have had a go at it, now let the voters decide. Thank you for your time.
Chris-I know you don't like anonymous, but I feel comfortable with first names, George of Round Lake. I hope you and your sister understand.

Chris said...

George - I appreciate being able to not have to respond by saying "Anonymous of date x/y/z", and thank you for the engaging conversation. One minor point of clarity - Molli would be my Mother, not sister, though I'm sure she is flattered to find that association knocks a couple decades off of her age.

On to the major point. I disagree with your statement that both sides have had their say. As of this posting, no one from Avon Forward has spoken out on their own platform.

In the spirit of continuing the conversation, I would like to see someone from Avon Forward come on here and provide some clarifying description of how they will act on the "bullet point platform". I find that their platform currently has little substance beyond bullet points and non-descriptive, yet entertaining videos. In the interest of fair time, I propose the following questions to the candidates of Avon Forward.

WHAT green initiatives will you implement?
HOW will you eliminate double taxation for the highway department?
WILL you actually commit to writing a check back to the township every month for four years for the difference in your pay raises?
HOW will you eliminate unnecessary travel expenses?
HOW will you make the assessment process more transparent?

Let's get beyond the talking points and get into the details. I look forward to the reply from an Avon Forward candidate, and yield the floor (for now anyway).

Anonymous said...

There is another candidate for Avon Supervisor. Let's take a look at what he has done:

Taken credit for holding campaign positions that do not accurately reflect the work he did for those campaigns.

His platform includes a lot of commentary on 'what should be done' in society though is not relevant to the statutory responsibilities of township government.

His literature does not provide tangible examples of how he will do the things he promises to do.

Also, the literature contains awkwardly written sentences including run-ons, excessive use of under-lining, and verbiage that is unclear (i.e. 'Modernized community outreach? - is this a new Pentagon Department?)

The candidate I am referring to is
P.D.

Jim A. said...

Hi All,

This is an informative conversation and I appreciate it. I vote in every election and I pride myself on understanding all of the candidates and issues before I vote.

I heard that the current Avon Township administration(which I believe are the Avon One candidates) gave elected township officials over a $40,000 pay raise in addition to the over $220,000 that they already earn in salaries. I also heard they unaniously voted to increase the tax levy by 8.7% to help fund these pay raises.

I also heard from my neghbor that the township food pantry gets an enormously small part of the township budget. They told me that only about 2% of the current budget goes to the food pantry. Is this true?

I also heard that the current administration (again, I believe this is Avon One) only proposed 'green policies' after their opposition proposed them. I am fairly certain that it is right because I remember checking the Avon One website when they announced their website and it did not have anything about 'green policies'. It seems they added 'green policies' after their opposition came out strongly in favor of it.

I guess my overall question is: Why should the voters reelect the current administration over their opponents? As a long time resident, it seems that the current administration is more involved with themselves than trying to alleviate the tax burden on the residents. I’d love to hear more from either side.

Anonymous said...

Greetings Anonymous,

My comments were not against our opponents, they were in direct response to your comments - which I will do once more here.
When we recieved the $125,000 in grants, all of the funds allocated were indeed spent on Avon Township and it's residents - thereby reducing expendetures from the budget - that saved taxpayers $125,000.


The supposed "surplus" of $600,000 in the Highway budget was spent on improvements to Lake Shore Drive and Drury Lane - so that "surplus" no longer exists.

And lastly, on a personal note. I recieve $23,000 per year as Clerk, NOT $61,000. That is a matter of public record. I drive an 8 year old car, that I bought used. I shop a lot a thrift stores, both as a savings measure and an attempt to be personally green. So clearly, my service to the people if Avon Township is not about the money!
One last point. Unless asked directly about any other salient point not previously covered in these comments, I will discontinue pointless sniping.

REMEMBER - early voting begins, Monday March 16, 2009, through Thursday, April 2, 2009. In person absentee voting is April 3, 4, and 6th, 2009. Avon Township residents may vote at Avon Township Center, 433 E. Washington St., Round Lake Park. Hours for early and in person absentee are:
Monday through Friday 9 a,m, - 4:30 p.m., Saturday 9:00 a.m. - 2:00p.m.
Thank you for this opportunity to share my views.
With respect,
Molli Larson
Avon Township Clerk

Green Hornet said...

I do believeI saw Mr Dishman placing campaign signs on Wednesday and Thursday during working hours. I do hope he is on vacation those two days.

Anonymous said...

The incumbent not working and placing campaign signs? What more do we need to throw this guy out!

CuriousVoter said...

No reply from Avon Forward yet? I want to know what they have to say before early voting starts.

Anonymous said...

Go to their web site-all the answers are there.

Brad-Highland Lake resident said...

I hear that Harry Kirchhardt's plan to eliminate all the weeds and lily pads in Highland Lake has caused a great amount of fish to be killed-75-100 Bass. Is this the guy we want implementing the "Green Policies" of Avon One. I certainly hope not. Go to highlandlakeblog.weebly.com

Anonymous said...

Approximately $200,000 for 8 elected officials, who recently initiated double-digit pay raises, while convincing us that their actions are limited by statute (i.e. 'there's nothing I can do about property taxes' as per a recent mailer produced and sent at tax-payer expense).

Now, they're fiscally responsible, humble public servants, and environmentally friendly (only after their challengers put forth such a platform).


They are not fiscally responsible.
They have not pursued environmentally-friendly policies despite having ample time to do so.
They are at least partially culpable for the excessive discretionary spending that has gone on as if no one was looking.

Chris said...

@ Anon Mar 15 8:05a

Aside from some videos that don't go beyond the bullet points of their platform, there is little in the way of substance on the website.

Can one of you "Avon Forward" supporters perhaps let the candidates know that there are some questions, reasonable ones mind you, asking for details of their proposed policies? I was reasonable enough to pass a message to the Avon One campaign on your behalf and illicit a response. It's only reasonable to expect that one of you could do the same to invite an open, transparent view of some of the details behind the plans. A few bullet points isn't enough for an educated voter to make an informed decision on.

SaraSmiles said...

Perhaps they are talking to the voters with their answers and not posting here.

Anonymous said...

I've been to the Avon Forward website and see tangible platforms that can realistically be implemented in a reasonable amount of time.
This as opposed to 'plans' that can be accomplished in a month or so and yet, somehow, have not been -completely- accomplished by the current administration(can you say informative official website? Avon Township's pales in comparison to other township and village websites in terms of the amount of information that is available there).
When one has been in office for a long period of time, one has the opportunity to demonstrative an innovative, fiscally conservative approach. However, the other side of this 'coin' is that one may not take advantage of said opportunity and spend like no one is looking.

AJPolitico said...

Seems like a lot of Avon Township talk here. Isn't there another candidate in the Avon Township race? Nothing about him here. Does he have any supporters or people who work on his campaign that want to jump in and talk about his platform?
There are many races in Lake County, nobody has anything to say about those races?
Is there an air of complacency out there?

Anonymous said...

AJ- if you look at the January 27the entry on this site you will see all you want about the other candidate. My guess is whatever supporters he has, can't defend his blatant lies. Not the kind of guy for elected office.

PCHockFam said...

Now some real answers as to why we are over assessed...the assessors is lining his personal pocketbook with OUR money.

A political ploy or not...if this turns out to be accurate then there is no argument for fiscal responsibility by the current Avon One administration.


http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/newssun/news/1491858,5_1_WA24_AVON_S1.article

Anonymous said...

Looks like Dishman got caught with his hands in the cookie jar!!! A lawsuit was brought by Larry Leafblad on Monday that will prove larceny and fraud was committed by the "incumbent". I know where MY vote is going.... was all of Avon One looking the other way? I can't afford to find out.

Truthful Pat said...

My neighbor just brought over Avon One's latest mailer-what a fantasy piece, especially the Anderson piece. I wonder how many sewers Anderson has clogged using this sand/salt mixture. Maybe that is what is causing the flooding.
I read Mr. Brust's Bio and he has extensive experience with the Illinois Department of Transportation and last I hear they do extensive work in road repair and sewer maintenance. HEY PAT-quit lying about your opponent in order to make yourself look better-you need to leave public office on April 8th!