Support for Abu-Taleb: fence and garage permits, Moody’s and other ratings

Comments following Wednesday Journal article about 3/13 forum at the library:

From Oakparkbob:

I’m for Abu-Taleb. . . . As a homeowner for 33 years in OP, I understand the frustration of dealing with the village. The permit process is ridiculous. I had a fence replaced & had to pay an $80 permit fee & went to the village to get the permit. I was asked to draw a schematic of the fence which they said no one would come to check. I could have drawn a line around the whole village and they wouldn’t have cared!

From James:

I have another one, also indicative of this group’s (Hedges and Co.) clueless leadership. Wanting to replace an old garage, staff said I needed a permit. After three months of delays, the garage I was DEMOLISHING was cited for peeling paint and I was denied the permit to DEMOLISH it until I painted the entire garage.

Staff stupidity? Sure. But the Board and now current village attorney agreed! That kind of stupidity is an infection and must end. Therefore, no vote for Hedges.

From John Butch Murtagh;

At the Buzz Cafe debate [3/14], Anan Abu-Taleb cited Moody’s Oak Park bond rating published in December 2012. Moody’s has ten ratings for investment grade bonds, from Aaa to Baa3. Oak Park Village has a Aa2 rating.

The village also has a “negative” rating, which the credit-rating agencies (Standard and Poor’s, Moody’s, and Fitch) give while they are deciding whether to lower that company’s (or municipality’s) credit rating.

Moody’s negative is based on narrow liquidity in the village’s General Fund and enterprise funds, negative budget to actual variances, and sizable unfunded pension liabilities.

As reported by the Wednesday Journal, Trustee Hedges reply was “There are problems. We’re gone through this recession. We have high taxes, we’ve got all those things going on,” adding, “There is work to do, no doubt. But we’re turning the corner.”

The election becomes clearer every day. The issue is how residents’ money is handled. The choice is “Status Quo” or “Fiscal Change.”

Substantive issues raised by all three, plus this weighty follow-up on the bond-rating matter.

From Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park:

While the Aa2 rating itself is not of concern, the downward trending is troubling. As recently as May 2006, Oak Park was rated as Aa3 with a positive outlook, but has been downgraded ever since.

As per Moody’s, the current negative outlook “reflects a lack of progress in improving the village’s overall financial profile.”

Also of concern is that the current Aa2 negative outlook not only applies to current General Obligation bonds, but also previously issued GO debt, totaling $82.4M.

From Steve Bankes from Oak Park:

Oak Park is an A student satisfied with Bs. How can you be involved in village government and the VMA for decades and still shake things up a bit? Hedges is a good man but has too much to lose by rocking the boat. Anan is a “free agent” and our greatest hope for straight As.

Sez I:  Hedges a good man, yes. Afraid to rock the boat, no. I do not think it occurs to him. His experience has not prepared him for taking steps called for by the situation.  Oddly, he and his slate claim their experience is a plus, but for what?  Anan simply knows more.

From Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park:

Steve’s is an apt analogy. Moody’s states Oak Park’s strengths as large tax base, proximity to Chicago, and affluent socio-economic profile, which all are inherent to the village itself.

The stated weaknesses are not inherent but pertain to fiscal management. Oak Park thrives due to its inherent base conditions, and despite village officials who continue to underachieve and devalue our potential.

Excellent analysis, sez I.

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  • Jim Bowman  On March 16, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    Reblogged this on Blithe Spirit.

  • Joseph  On March 29, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    Can you explain why Anan uses his first name?

    Obviously, I already know the answer. I stood face to face with him and shook his hand, nearly everything he says, I agree with but I can’t deny, I have apprehensions.

    There is, no doubt, the people running Oak Park now need to go away, my 6 year old could do a better job.

    Can you address the elephant in the room ( Muslim), there I said it!

    • Jim Bowman  On March 29, 2013 at 6:28 PM

      Joe, it’s like the old joke: Who was that elephant I saw in your room last night?
      A: That was no elephant, that was a mouse.

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