Finance, Law and Order, Local

Mayor John Ostenburg Quiets Chicago Heights Resident Disrupting Board Meeting (Audio Included)

Park Forest Mayor John Ostenburg and Village Manager Tom Mick
Park Forest Mayor John Ostenburg and Village Manager Tom Mick. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- There were may items on the agenda at last night’s Rules meeting of the Village Board.

The Village discussed the tax levy for 2015 which will drive the next budget. The proposed tax levy is 2.8% when combined with the Park Forest Library tax levy. Alone, the Village of Park Forest municipal levy is proposed to be 2.2%, a low increase that will primarily cover operations.

Items covered included:

  1. An Ordinance Levying Taxes for all Corporate Purposes for the Village of Park Forest, Cook and Will Counties, Illinois, for Fiscal Year Beginning on the First Day of July, 2015 and Ending on the Thirtieth of June 2016
  2. An Ordinance to Abate a Portion of the 2015 Tax Levy for the Village of Park Forest, Cook and Will Counties, Illinois (Tax Levy Abatement Ordinance)
  3. Acquisition of APX6000 Portable Radios
  4. A Resolution Authorizing the Execution of the 2016 Service Provider Agreement to Engage in Public Transportation Services with PACE
  5. A Resolution Adopting the Holiday and Meeting Schedule for the Calendar Year 2016

Fifty-eight percent of the fiscal year 2015/2016 budget is expected to be funded by property taxes from this proposed levy.

A Public Hearing on the tax levy was held at 7 p.m. No members of the public commented.

The following table shows tax levy increases dating back to 1993:

1993 15.1%
1994 11.4%
1995 11.7%
1996 9.8%
1997 6.7%
1998 4.8%
1999 2.9%
2000* 2.9%
2001 2.9%
2002 2.9%
2003** 2.9%
2004 8.1%
2005 9.3%
2006* 2.6%
2007 3.3%
2008 3.0%
2009 6.0%
2010 3.1%
2011 3.4%
2012 2.7%
2013* 1.9%
2014 1.4%
2015 Proposed 2.8%

eNews Park Forest covered the main points about the tax levy on Twitter during the meeting:

After doing the math, eNews Park Forest concurs, with the abatement, the Village of Park Forest is saving about 7% on the tax levy.

One unfortunate incident near the end of the meeting when Mayor Ostenburg called for public comment. A Rules Meetings, public comment is limited to those items which appear on the agenda. Mr. Charles Deringer of Chicago Heights appeared determined to make comment on his own agenda, attempting to make “end-arounds” of procedural rules so that he could say what he pleased.

Mayor Ostenburg held firm and invited Mr. Deringer to come to a Regular meeting or a Saturday Rules meeting, when the public may comment on any topic. Mr. Deringer told the mayor those meetings did not fit with his personal schedule.

After a brief and firm exchange, Mayor Ostenburg asked Police Chief Pete Green to remove Mr. Deringer from the room.

Such requests from Mayor Ostenburg are extremely rare.

Audio of their brief exchange is below: