Each year, we ask all of Bolingbrook’s opposition parties to respond to Mayor Roger Claar’s annual State of the Village address. For the first time in years, we received a response from a party that’s actually on the ballet, Bolingbrook United. We also received responses from The Roger Claar Party, The Zero Tax Party, Our Party, and the Skepchick Party.
(Out of character: The statement from the Bolingbrook United Party is real and unedited.)
Thank you for the opportunity to address your readers regarding the Mayor’s 2017 State of the Village address.
Unity, community and transparency, these are the core values of our party and they are the characteristics we plan to bring to Bolingbrook Village government. For far too long our local government leaders have drifted from these values as they have cut special deals for the well connected (such as a $350,000 break on rent for the owner of the ice arena), ostracized members of our community (by holding a Donald Trump fundraiser at a Village owned facility) and misrepresented and hid information from residents. They claim they are transparent but they fail to post salary information regarding Village employees, a requirement under state law.
While many community and business leaders were present at the State of the Village address last week, the ticket price of $70 to attend alone put the event beyond the reach of many residents and the fact that it is held in the middle of the day when most people work makes the event inaccessible for the average person. Those who attended were able to hear a summary from the mayor about things that the Village has accomplished over the course of his political career (which was atypical for a State of the Village address) and about what is planned for 2017. In addition, Mr. Claar spent a substantial amount of time reacting to those critical of him and responding to sentiments and articles found on a Facebook page called “Vote Roger Claar Out in 2017.” Contrary to Mr. Claar’s assertions, the Bolingbrook United candidates have nothing to do with the “Vote Roger Claar Out in 2017” Facebook page and do not endorse it. Moreover, we found it odd that a 30-year politician would do this when the event was intended to be about the Village, NOT his campaign.
What was glaringly missing was any substance regarding the massive debt incurred under Mr. Claar’s leadership (currently $313,450,000) and how he plans to deal with it. Unfortunately, and in accordance with the response to a FOIA request we received yesterday, we now know why he failed to address it—there is no plan. The Village, facing more debt than Naperville’s 162 million and Romeoville’s 89 million combined, has never approved a formal or informal plan to pay back that debt. The Village also lacks any strategic plan for the future. In the meantime, our bond ratings continue to drop costing millions more in interest payments from residents while our mayor draws three salaries totaling over $142,000, plus benefits, and has guaranteed salary increases during his political employment.
We love Bolingbrook and all that it offers. Residents and businesses have worked tirelessly to develop and improve upon our Village.
As we move forward we believe Village government should care for all residents, not just the well connected. It should never alienate members of the community as it has. We believe Village government should always serve the people – not the other way around. We also believe the Village government should plan for the future and stop using the Village credit card to run up debt without any plan to pay it off.