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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Dave Ratliff Responds

I posted a few days ago, in "Going Local" that Zion's most important race is the one for Mayor. David Ratliff, who is challenging incumbent Mayor Lane Harrison has responded to my post. His response is below. I've e-mailed Mr. Harrison, and offered him the same chance, but have heard nothing from him.

Upon reviewing the financial information provided to me through the Freedom of Information Act for the City of Zion I have determined that the City of Zion is now facing a severe financial crisis. While economic development gives the outwardly appearance of progress, it has been undertaken without regard to other important services that must continue to be provided to the citizens of Zion. While a few commissioners have stated that they believe in balanced budgets, the 2006/2007 budget was passed with a $772,000 budget deficit. This budget deficit for the 2006/2007 may grow well over $1,000,000 dollars by fiscal year end. The council most recent practice of increasing water and waste service fees charged by the general fund in attempt to balance the general fund will only assure that water and waste rates will be increased to provide the needed repairs to maintain 100 year old water and waste system. In the current budget year, cable franchise fees have been diverted from the general fund to further increase the budget deficit. The five million dollars received from Commonwealth Edison to be used for economic development purposes has been overspent by over 1.7 million dollars and has depleted cash reserves needed to weather future budget shortfalls. In addition, to improve its cash position the City of Zion is not performing its fiduciary duties of remitting collected impact fees and has horded over $200,000 belong to the Zion High School, Park District, Library District and Beach Park Elementary District as of December 2006.

The mayor/city manager has shown his inability to address important financial issues. Administrative adjudication that was mentioned during the 2006/2007 budget approval process as problem continues to be a cash drain on city resources. What was once a revenue producer of over $200,000 in non-traffic related fines collected can now be estimated to cost the city $80,000 over the amount of fines collected. The enforcement of city sticker is not being performed; the city only has a 65% estimated rate of compliance. We either need to enforce the law, or remove the City sticker ordinance! Workers Compensation and pension costs have soared and have reduced the available tax levy to fund the fire, police, building and public works departments and its policies suggest that this problem is largely being ignored. The mayor/city administrator economic practices have created bad will with our neighbors to the South. The surreptitious agreement made with Wadsworth and the North Shore Sanitary District to provide sewer access to Trumpet Park has hindered Beach Park’s economic development and has precipitated retaliatory measures by Beach Park.

With our crime rate the second highest in Lake County, we are unable to retain business' that we are forcing to relocate to Zion through grants. We are forcing supply, when there is currently very little demand. By restoring the police department back to par, we will force the gangs, drug dealers and those who choose not to live the American dream, to move on. This will turn the community around, force demand, in turn force supply without grants for relocation. Business' will be needed, wanted, and thrive in a better economy once the criminal element has been removed through proper policing. With more business, less crime, we will attract home owners from around the State, our schools will improve, our Zion community will thrive! The nickname Zompton will be a thing of the past!

For further answers, please visit www.daveformayor.com , or feel free to question me directly. It is time for the average citizen to take a stand! It is time for the average citizen to have a say! It is time to elect David Ratliff, a career citizen, not a career politician! For a stronger, safer Zion, please vote David Ratliff for Zion Mayor on April 17th.

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