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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Aurora Public Library Drops Scheme By Mayor Tom Weisner to Steal $3 Million From Taxpayers

Thanks to pressure from taxpayers, the Aurora Public Library has dropped the scheme by Mayor Tom Weisner to steal over $3 million from taxpayers from a $10 million state grant (funded by taxpayers) for the new book distribution facility.  After promising to use ALL proceeds of any grant toward reducing the tax increase, Weisner wanted to divert millions.  Now, all of the $10 million will be used toward the tax increase.  The project continues to include cronies of Weisner who are involved with the corruption of Aurora.

Larry Frieders shares his observations and what happened at Aurora City Council on Tuesday with the library project:

Our City Council approved a proposal last April from the Library Board. Aurora was to get a new library building and the cost would be covered by a $30 million bond issue from the city. The resolution passed  with NO votes being cast by Aldermen Kifowit and Lawrence. The original language clearly stated that any and all money the Library Board received from grants, gifts, or contributions would be rebated to the city to offset the original amount. Having looked at the original proposal I can assure everyone that there wasn't any fuzzy language present that could be interpreted to mean anything but the common meaning for the word "all" - until just a few weeks ago. Surprise! 

The Library Board was informed that it is in line to receive a state grant for as much as $10.8 million. That's when we started to see some shuffling of positions and an effort to capture at least part of the grant for the Library project. Where the agreement said all, the Library concluded it meant "all but about $3 million".  The issue wouldn't go away and the bond issue was being prepared for the original amount. While he wouldn't take credit for heading up the discussion, Finance Officer Brian Caputo seemed clearly involved when he informed our City Council meeting that the bond issuance should be put off a couple of weeks - until it was clear how much was going to be sold. Thanks for clear thinking, Mr. Caputo. 

In light of the controversy and the urgency to move the project along, Mayor Tom Weisner called for a special City Council meeting to be held immediately following the regular Committee of the Whole meeting that was scheduled for today, September 18, 2012. Here's the part that's both impressive and pleasing. John Savage from the Library Board announced that while the grant is an exciting and unexpected development, the exact amount isn't yet established. It could be as much as $10.8 million - or less. Mr. Savage announced that all funds received on that grant would be rebated to the city to offset the bond issue. Instead of a $30 million bond issue, Mr. Savage, with Mr. Caputo's assent, reported that on the table this evening was a resolution to authorize a bond issue for $19.2 million. If, however, needs for additional funding arise in the future, the Library will seek assistance as appropriate. This is good for everyone, especially the taxpayers.

Mayor Weisner commented that the Library, "...applied for grants but didn't anticipate they'd succeed". What does that mean - applying for a grant they don't expect to get? Regardless, succeed they did, to the tune of approximately a third of the initial budgeted amount. The Mayor also commended the Library Board for their willingness to fully comply with the original ordinance.  Alderman Rick Lawrence commended the Library's action in this case, but pointed out that he still opposes the plan. Tonight's ordinance passed, again with NO votes being cast by Aldermen Kifowit and Lawrence. 

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

2It means,
Oh genius blogger, that many grants are listed as being available and then are not funded by the state. So, you can qualify for a grant in a case like this, and even have the best proposal. If the legislature doesn't fund the grant for a specific year, then you don't succeed.
Took me 4 seconds to google the answer.

Anonymous said...

If the library decided to drop their attempt to keep $3 million, it was because the mayor told them to do it. Weisner's recent appointments have been his attempt to stack the board with his buddies. This makes sure that his favorite contractors get the work to build the new building. These contractors recently held a major fundraiser for the mayor.

Anonymous said...

So what else is new?

Anonymous said...

Where's the post on the ongoing debacle in D129? Oh, it must be in bed with Rick Lawrence and Jim Rydland ...

Anonymous said...

maybe the 3 million dollars can be given to district 129 to pay legal fees for the administrations cover-up.

Anonymous said...

There 's a new leader running for the third ward.

Anonymous said...

Same for 4