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Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Aurora Public Library Throws Taxpayers Under the Bus, Breaks Promises and Jacks Up Costs of New Library Project

Once again, the Aurora Public Library is proving disregard for taxpayers in their corruption-laced scheme to build a new $30 $33 million bigger book distribution center.

Daily Herald reports:
When the Aurora Public Library gained approval in April of $30 million in city bond funding to finance a new main library, satellite locations and technology improvements, library board members promised all grant money they receive would be used to pay back the city and lessen the tax burden on residents.
Now, as the library becomes eligible for $10.8 million in state grants (at taxpayer expense), all of that will go to reducing the taxpayer burden and debt, right?

Wrong.

The library will instead divert about $3.2 million of new money into new spending.
Alderman Al Lewandowski was the first to question why the library does not intend to put the entire grant toward the city’s debt.
“Why won’t all the money from the grant be used for construction costs?” he asked.
Savage (library board member and campaign buddy of Mayor Weisner) said decreasing home values are lowering the amount of property tax revenue the library brings in each year, so part of the grant funding will be necessary just to complete all aspects of the improvement plan approved in April.
“To me, the taxpayers should get it back,” Lewandowski said about the grant funding. “If you don’t have the money for it, you can’t do it.”
Alderman Rick Lawrence said the library’s plan for the prospective grant effectively increases the cost of the new building, satellite locations and technology upgrades.
“We just raised the cost of this project significantly,” Lawrence said. “You were really specific that any grants were to pay off the debt first, not go do more library projects.”

So, what happened to the promise?

Sources at the library say when they made the promise, they didn't really expect any grants to materialize, but now that they could have some, why waste it on reducing the extra burden on taxpayers when they can spend more?

The entire project has been done backwards.  Instead of seeking grants and private sources first, then determining the needs and future use and then coming to taxpayers to justify the need for any tax increase, the library asked for the tax increase first with figuring out the use and reducing the taxpayer burden later.

Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner, who placed his campaign supporters on the board, which has "coincidentally" awarded contracts to his other campaign supporters to design, build and furnish the $30 $33 million project, selected the square footage and costs of the project...not based upon funding or need, but rather how much his cronies could profit and still build a traditional book distribution center.

Over $1.7 million has already been dumped into the pockets of Weisner's campaign cronies at Cordogan Clark for design, which "coincidentally" employs his son and also pays Alderman Rick Mervine, who was initially opposed to the project, but "coincidentally" now supports it.

Wild spending, taxpayer exploiting Finance Chairman Bob O'Connor, said using ALL grant money wasn't really a promise, but more just a "guideline."

Really Bob O'Connor, are you sure about that?

And you are the guy in charge of the finance committee that has rubber-stamped over TWO BILLION in wild spending by the Weisner regime?

Seems the resolution passed (see page 2 below) makes it pretty clear that ALL funds would be used to offset the taxpayer's burden.

Aurora Public Library $30 Million Tax Increase Resolution

Next Tuesday, the Aurora City Council will vote on whether to approve the latest scheme and broken promise or to protect taxpayers.

The library's anti-taxpayer spokesgirl, Amy F. Roth, could not be reached for comment.

***UPDATE***

Due to overwhelming anger from taxpayers, the vote by Aurora City Council has been postponed for two weeks while Weisner and his cronies scramble to figure out how to carry out the scheme.

18 comments:

Larry J. Frieders said...

This all took place at the Committee of the Whole and I'm eagerly looking forward to the City Council meeting next Tuesday, September 11th, 2012. I want to see and hear any public comments that might be issued. When the first $30 million was approved, the halls were loaded with community supporters. Will they be there cheering on the breaking of promises and the extra spending?

Looking at this another way, the Illinois GRANT is little more than redistribution of our tax dollars. Instead of "just" going under in Aurora we can watch while state does likewise. It reminds me of the Federal grants that helped us spend almost $200,000 on $39,000 house and then tell ME that it was okay because it was a Federal grant. Again, my tax dollars at work.

Anonymous said...

I agree this entire project has been done backwards and I would urge it to be stopped immediately before another penny is wasted.

They should dump the corruption of architects (Cordogan), contractors (Wegman) and furnishings (Vicki Morcos), come up with all the grants, private funding based upon a real plan that will be a digital future, not another book distribution center. Until then, they must stop these schemes and wasting our money.

If it takes another year to fix the mess, so be it.

The library board has proven they cannot be trusted.

Anonymous said...

Haven't Weisner and his corrupt friends made enough on the other projects like the police palace? Do they have to exploit the library, too?

Anonymous said...

whatever little credibility this library board or project had is now gone.

I totally agree, I don't want to see another single dollar of my money spent on this project until the corruption is rooted out, there's a real plan and private money raised.

all the board members should resign and take Weisner with them.

Anonymous said...

This project should be stopped immediately.

The entire board, cronies and scheme should be wiped out and start with a clean slate before another penny is spent or a shovel of dirt is dug.

Anonymous said...

This library project was crappy anyway, designed for the traditional book place that will be obsolete soon.

Now that it's clear the library board can't be trusted to prevent corruption, control costs or keep their promises, I'm totally in favor of suspending the project. Put it on hold, clean out the crooks and Coe with a real plan.

Otherwise, I don't want any of my Aurora OR state tax dollars funding this nonsense.

Anonymous said...

I moved to Aurora a few years ago from Chicago, so it's taken me a while to figure out this is the most corrupt city in Illinois per person compared to even Chicago.

From what I have seen about this new library, it's a big waste of money. Traditional libraries are out and it makes no sense to spend money on a new one.

Now, if this were something very different and they were leaving the existing library for books, I would say it's worth exploring further.

The library's blunders and allowing corruption may be a blessing in disguise if they have the sense to stop this project and, like others have said, clean out the corruption and replace board and contractors and come up with a real plan.

I moved to Aurora somehow thinking I would get away from this mistreatment of taxpayers and now I find myself stuck here with a property that is worth far less than I paid for it and then I see stuff like this where people keep spending my money and increasing my taxes.

Stop the library project now.

Anonymous said...

Hello!!!!
If decreasing home values reduces funding to the various taxing bodies, the intelligent thing to do is reduce spending by an equal amount. What the hell are these people thinking?

Anonymous said...

Seriously, did the library board guy actually acknowledge property values are falling yet he wants to increase my taxes and spend MORE so Tom Weisner can further enrich his buddies?

Anonymous said...

How does Illinois have so much money to dump into projects like the library and that stupid park that both "coincidentally" make Weisner's campaign buddies richer, who then stuff money into him?

No wonder this state is broke and this city is so corrupt.

Anonymous said...

West Aurora School District spends tax dollars to represent the interests of their administrators in a criminal investigation by Kane State's Attorney. Where is the outrage from openline?

Anonymous said...

Hey Openline why not a article you sure jump on the poor East Aurora schools. Could it be that Ricks children receive favors from the Good Doctor Rydland. here is your outrage that kids got abused. Why not write about that. I though you reported all the news fairly. Ha ha you are a joke. Rick barely escaped criminal charges last month. Now is good buddy Rydland be careful about the company you keep Openline

Anonymous said...

I would never put my kids in east aurora schools. It's equivalent to child neglect.

Anonymous said...

This library project is full of incompetence, corruption, deception, taxpayer exploitation, wild spending and debt.

That's what happens when Tom Weisner and his crooked cronies get their dirty hands all over a project.

I don't want my state tax dollars being wasted on Aurora corruption. If they have money to spend, give it to a community that has ethical, visionary and responsible leadership who will put the money to better use.

Larry J. Frieders said...

I checked the definition of ALL in the online version of the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Number 1b is "as much as possible ".

If this definition is in play, the meaning of the phrasing the the resolution might be understood as, "Agree that AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE OF THE funds received by the Library for the new public library building and costs related thereto shall be used ...to reduce the real estate tax burden on Aurora homeowners ...".

Maybe $7million is POSSIBLE and the other $3million isn't.

We'll soon find out if THEY will abide by the common meaning of ALL or if 1b is used.

Anonymous said...

See Ricks buddy Rydland on the news again Tuesday night I would not want to send my kids to West to get sexually abused. But then again Ricks daughter thought Orland was great ????

Anonymous said...

Bonds have been postponed due to three Alderman.

Al Kohollick said...

My drinking buddies who live down at the Hesed House are really eager for a new place to hang out during daylight hours. They tell me the old place is getting claustrophic with so little space. Alot of homeless people in closed quarters can be an unpleasant situation as some of the folks aren't familar with bathing. My buddies are hoping the City Council can find some extra money to spend on public showers down at the new APL.