The room would accommodate 340 people, but about 150 showed up, most wearing red, the color of opposition to the gas-fired electric generating plant which the village is considering.
Public comment was buried at the end of the meeting and, although, rules for the meeting said that only comments relevant to agenda items could be raised, the audience ignored that instruction and Village President Melanie Funk did not press the point.Prior to that a woman named Denise (didn’t catch her last name) commented several times that she did not think the Trustees “competent to make any decisions.”
A member of the law firm that represented the village for over 40 years (from its inception), Regina Narusis got the floor twice to ask if there were properly promulgated rules for public comment. I got the feeling that she believed there were not.
The second time around she got off a question that made both Channel 2 and Channel 7 News at 10 o’clock:
“Have you created a police state for us?”
She added that the village was “a joke because you don’t know how to run this [consideration of the power plant].”
“You discussed [the power plant] in secret meetings. You violated the Open Meetings Act.
“You weren’t honest with them…I’m sorry ma’am, you violated out trust.”
There was one confrontation between an audience member and the police.
The man, Jesse L Davis, Jr., later spoke of having lived in Oakwood Hills for thirty years.
He said the power plant would be less than a thousand fee from a protected fen.
“If it smells like a rat, then it is a rat,” he declared.
There were multiple calls for Village President Funk to resign.
In face, all of the board members, including Funk’s husband, who was absent, were asked to step down.
Medical Doctor James Berg warned of the air pollutants so small that air conditioners and human lungs could not filter them out.
He estimated that twenty tons of particulate matter would “be dumped into out air and water” each year by the power plant.
Questions were asked by the audience, but few were answered.
Don Kalter asked when Funk had first met with power plant negotiator Conrad Anderson.
“”When I came into office at the end of the month,” she replied.
He was one of the ones who asked Funk to resign.
“It’s ticking for you. Resign and do it promptly,” he advised to applause from the audience.
Mike Riley, a 34-year resident, wanted to know why Funk hid “this since 2013.”
He said he had heard that it might go back to 2009.
“Why was information withheld from the majority of Village Trustees?
“Why were at least some Trustee misled?
“Why have you continued to use deceitful tactics…?”
He contended that people were “scared away” from the meeting.
To the complaint of the cost of renting the room, Riley said he had not received a reply to his email offering to pay “the $150 to extend the meeting for two hours.”
Pat Dunn wondered whether the Village Board had hired consultants to advise it on the complicated proposal.
No one on the Village Board answered in the affirmative.
Non-resident Brett Grapenthen quoted an article in Power Engineering by proposal presenter Conrad Anderson about the addition ice that could be expected on area roads.
“What are we going to do?
Previously, there was discussion on how the cost of salt had increased from $60 to $100 a ton. [That is less than McHenry County will be paying.]
He noted that the plant would tap into an already overtapped aquifer.
“Do you guys have any studies other than the power plants’?
“Now is the time for leaders and you’re clearly not one,” the Republican Precinct Committeeman and District 26 Grade School Board member said before asking Funk to “resign and let it heal.”
It concerned the nature of the “Host Agreement.”
“A Hosting Agreement is nothing more than the framework for procedure.
“It’s not acceptance.
“It has nothing to do with timing.
“It does not grant [permission to build the power plant].”