John Jacobson, Hebron’s Mayor who was arrested on drug charges last month, was asked by several village residents to resign, but he refused.
In a statement after entering the Village Board’s meeting room right before the 7 PM starting time, Jacobson said that none of his problems “involves my official capacity.”
He asked that village residents to “respect my privacy.”
Jacobson then reviewed his service to the community (rescue squad and fire protection district) prior to being elected mayor.
Following was a recitation of the dire financial situation of the village when he took office, which he said resulted in “lots of stress.”
Much of the village’s problem has resulted from an Illinois Environment Protection Agency-financed expansion of the water treatment plant.
Jacobson talked about the limited property tax funds. When I went to check the figures I wrote down with those published on the County Clerk’s web site, I could not find them.
So, below people can see that the village asked for about $177,000 in property taxes last year:
He revealed that lack of funds had resulted in “cuts…all the way around.”
Jacobson said that during the prior administration “money collected that should have one to the EPA never did.”
$1.4 million wasn’t used to repay the EPA loan as a result of expected residential development having died during the real estate recession.
State Senator Pam Althoff has been working with the Village to lessen the tremendous burden resulting from terms of the repayment of the EPA loan.
Under terms approved prior to Jacobson’s taking office, sewer and water rates can be raised 5% per year.
During the public comment period citizen frustrations were abundantly evident.
They ranged from potholes to the cost of a new police car to mosquito spraying (the contract for which was not approved) to a call for an audit.
232 signatures were presented on a petition calling for Jacobson’s resignation.
Lisa Georgi, an unsuccessful candidate to join her husband Andrew on the Village Board last year, presented 215 signatures seeking an audit.
“Your behavior is a poor example for our children,” she continued.
“Do the right thing and resign.”
Later senior Trustee Mark Shepherd estimated that a forensic audit would cost $25,000. [The Huntley School District spent $100,000 on one and the firm selected blew through the money without following citizen and board member suggestions of where wrong-doing might be found.]
A man pointed out that Jacobson’s behavior made him incapable to fulfilling his responsibilities as Village President.
He pointed to the possibility of a tornado hitting at night, as it had two miles away.
“You’re not responsible enough after hours.”
Another man expressed his “embarrassment” at the condition of homes in town.
He said he went up to the best looking home on a street to thank the owner, who was in the yard.
The homeowner revealed that he had just received a citation for having a limb that was over the sidewalk.
There was an animated discussion about the purchase of Christmas lights.
They were purchased for display this coming year and the Village Clerk kicked in over $100 of her own money to help pay for them.
The question arose as to why the village didn’t file for bankruptcy to get out from under what was owed the EPA.
Village attorney Michael Smoron pointed out bankruptcy for municipalities was not allowed in Illinois.
A man in back explained that the bill that would have allowed such actions had been killed by House Speaker Mike Madigan.
Jacobson had previously bragged about bringing a Dollar General store to Hebron.
He added that he was talking to two other businesses who were considering moving to Hebron.
A woman wanted to know where the $1.4 million had gone.
“That’s why we have half the staff,” Jacobson replied.
“I inherited this and our auditor went through it and it’s gone.”
Asked where the money went again, Jacobson said, “It was way before my time.”
At this point a woman in the back said, “I don’t give a sh-t about Christmas lights.”
A man agreed with Jacobson’s explanation of what he found when he took office:
“You walked into a mess.”
Trustee Susan Ritzert took exception to describing the money as “missing.”
“It was not missing. It was allocated to do different things. $60,000 was borrowed from the sewer fund and it has to be put back.”
Jacobson said that $572,000 had to be paid back to the water fund.
A suit against J and L, which apparently purchased the undeveloped land from Kennedy Homes, was discussed.
The attorney explained that the case was in court, that his firm hadn’t been paid recently, but would if that suit was won.
Jacobson then mentioned am over $200,000 line of credit the developer had issued which had not been renewed.
“The letter of credit was not renewed by village staff,” the attorney revealed.
Jacobson said that the Village owed $4.7 million on the water treatment plant and almost $300,000 on th village hall.
A woman want to know who the woman was who was driving a light blue Hebron Village car from Walmart in Lake Geneva on Easter morning.
Jacobson had no idea, but asked the woman to take a photo the next time she saw the woman driving the car.
In Trustee comments, Andrew Georgi brought up
- looking into the Distressed Cities Act
- reworking the late payment plan for water and sewer bills
- how the Village hired outside services
Trustee Fred Canfield defended the purchase of the new squad car.
“Out cars are pretty much done for.
“We needed that new squad car.”
When an audience member brought up Jacobson’s personal life again, the Village President said,
“This meeting’s over.”
A man in back said,
“Hebron, the town with a crackhead mayor.”
Another man said,
“Hebron, crackhead friendly.”
Two Hebron Policemen attended the meeting.