A Summer of Storms, Heat and Petitions

By Jed Skillman

All three petitions circulated in Winfield have been notarized, stamped and duly delivered to the Village Clerk. They are now are on their way to the November ballot.

Over 5,000 signatures – 5,378 to be exact – were collected by 40 volunteers: 2,547 for  the “Keep Our Police” referendum; 2,261 to reinstate the ban on “gaming” in local barrooms; and 570 to require the Village Board to seek public approval before spending more than $ 1 Million on a single project in a fiscal year. Those signatures represent a lot of ink and a lot of work by a lot of volunteers. This was achieved during the most brutal heat-wave in Chicago history indicates the intensity of the negative feeling Winfield residents have of some of their elected officials.

That the Winfield Village Board is no longer representing the public interest is now accepted fact. The complaints, stories and personal experiences spoken on doorsteps clearly paint a picture of a Village government that is running off the rails. Statements of outrage, frustration, and betrayal were expressed. Trustees were described as arrogant, hostile, rude, bullying, course, even “snotty” and plenty of other words that don’t belong in print. That old catch-all word “crazy” was repeatedly used, as in “My God! They want to bring in gambling and get rid of the police! Are they crazy?”

A word of explanation; that 3rd referendum requiring the Village to get voter approval before spending $1 Million on a single project in a fiscal year…what is that about?

We have a runaway Board. Whomever it is they seek to please, it is clearly not the residents or the taxpayers. The State of Illinois limits referendums to three on the ballot per election. The first two deal with the hot police and gambling concerns. With the third slot left open an opportunity was presented to further apply some breaks to the runaway train. The residents clearly agreed. In four days almost 600 signatures were collected to put this up for a vote.

And, isn’t that a fortunate thing? The Village Board just approved placing a property tax increase on the November ballot. Yes, they get to do that. But unlike the Road Referendum of two years ago, the revenue from this proposed increase would go directly into the General Fund where it can be spent as the Board sees fit. I Let that sink in for a minute.

In case there is any doubt about what the #1 question petitioners were asked by residents, on the door step it was this; “How do we get those guys out of office?” The simple answer is, we have to do it at the ballot box and that will begin with the Village election next spring when we can start making some changes on the Board. Be patient, stay engaged and be ready to work.

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About Positive on Winfield

Positive on Winfield is a blog with articles on local issues, local events, and local interests in Winfield, IL. Positive on Winfield is the blog website of the local civic action group, Winfield United for a Better Community.

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