Last Thursday, Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar was the keynote speaker at the Bolingbrook Chamber of Commerce’s annual “State of the Village.” While Bolingbrook United respects the Mayor’s willingness to stand up and present a report to the public, we disagree with a number of his and his allied village board members’ statements and policies.
For example, the Mayor touted Bolingbrook as 100% transparent. Bolingbrook United believes that transparency is an area that needs significant improvement in our local Government. The village board’s continued use of no-bid contracts for public projects is only one example of the current lack of transparency. These no-bid contracts result in increased costs for the Village with substandard results and little public oversight.
Just last month, the Board voted to give Kemper Sports a 5-year contract to manage the Bolingbrook Golf Club and refused to put the contract out for competitive bid. There was only one “no” vote against that contract; it came from Bolingbrook United trustee Bob Jaskiewicz, who requested that contracts, especially those as costly and important as the one to manage the Golf Club, be put out for a competitive bid.
We understand that a competitive bid process may not be cost effective for certain smaller projects. However, for our large initiatives, it is the board’s duty to ensure that taxpayers are receiving the highest quality service for the lowest price. The only way to do that is through an established and fair bidding process. Unfortunately, a clear and objective bidding process has been continually rejected by the majority of the board members and the Mayor.
The topic of Naperville’s Rib Fest was also addressed. This marquee event is looking for a new home for the future as it has outgrown its current host site in Naperville. It was stated that Bolingbrook was not interested in the event because of the demands of the event. We respectfully disagree on this point. Bolingbrook has significant public-owned space, a hard-working and talented Village staff, and a private business community and diverse population that could easily offer the support the Village would need to host this event. Bolingbrook will only grow if opportunities like Rib Fest, with its wide national following, are aggressively pursued by our local government. We cannot continue to grow if our leaders reject opportunities because they may require hard work and innovative solutions.
Mayor Claar also discussed the village water system, currently owned and maintained by Illinois American Water. Bemoaning the high cost of water, he stated the company placed profits ahead of people. While we do agree that the Bolingbrook water system is not operating in the best interests of the village, it is surprising to hear Mayor Claar discuss this problem with such passion as the Mayor brokered the deal to sell Bolingbrook’s public water system to a private entity so many years ago. A decision as problematic then as it is now. Bolingbrook United believes that taxpayer-funded infrastructure should remain in the hands of the taxpayers. The decades of inflated water bills and the increased debt the village will sustain in buying it back only strengthens our belief that private interest and short term gains should never be put before the taxpayers.
While we have our differences, Bolingbrook United joins Mayor Claar in celebrating the many successes in our Village. Our business community continues to expand and grow. We continue to be enriched by ever growing and expanding diversity in our residents. We are blessed with a private and public sector that cares about this community and wants to see it thrive. But we are facing problems as well. Our leaders cannot hide their heads in the sand because the acknowledgment of shortcomings and failures would not be politically expedient.
As the April 2, 2019, consolidated election approaches, Bolingbrook United wants to remind you that you have the power to decide what sort of Village you want to live in. We hope that you will join us and our candidates for Village Trustee, School Board, Library Board, and Park District as we work to make our vision a reality. A vision of a Bolingbrook where every citizen is heard, the government is accountable to the people, and where new ideas and fresh perspectives are welcomed and appreciated.
Bolingbrook United humbly asks for your vote on April 2nd.
-The candidates of Bolingbrook United-
To learn more about Bolingbrook United and their candidates, visit www.bolingbrookunited.com or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.