Analysis of Woodstock Finances Under Mayor Brian Sager — 31 Comments

  1. I would guess some of the sales tax increase is due to expanded retail business.

    That said, what happened to the old mantra taxpayers were told:


  2. It doesn’t, obviously.

    My point is they always said that it would, that is how they sold it to the public.

    “They” being developers & politicians.

  3. Dear “bond analyst,” Mr. Stephen Willson, please analyze your hometown of Lakewood finances’ before pretending Woodstock is important.

  4. Woodstock Square is practically a. ghost town.

    The outskirts are the pits.

    Woodstock needs new leadership.

    I miss the likes of Francis Kuhn.

    She kept Woodstock affordable and beautiful.

  5. Dear Drive-by Hypocrisy:

    I don’t usually respond in this fashion, but in your case, I’ll make an exception.

    First, you’re a coward, spewing your misplaced anger behind a phony name.

    Second, you’re an idiot.

    I looked at Woodstock because

    (a) the Mayor is running for state office and

    (b) he’s been Mayor for fifteen years.

    This makes his record relevant to the voting public.

    Neither is true of Lakewood.

    And to be angry that someone pointed out readily available facts is further evidence of your stupidity.

    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

    On a tangential note, I would actually suggest that people do exactly the same analysis I’ve done here for their towns and school districts, if they’ve had the same administration for several years.

    I’m sure Cal would publish it, and citizens might find it very educational.

    It’ ain’t complicated!

    First, the data are readily available on most local governments’ web sites.

    The data can be found in the back of the so-called “Comprehensive Annual Financial Report”, in the “Statistical Section”.

    Second, all I did was calculate percentage changes, and I let Excel do that for me.

    (In the cases of school districts, I’d also suggest dividing total spending by enrollment, calculating dollars per pupil, as many school districts have seen enrollment decline while spending (and hiring) has continued to increase.)

  6. All my GOP friends up north day Reick is a disgrace.

    I say have you looked at Sager!

    Is he really an atheist?

  7. Trumpion, yes he is.

    A man without principles.

    Sager is just s bad.

  8. Drive By – Willson doesn’t care what happens in Lakewood as long as all the reserves get spent down.

  9. Dear Stephen Willson,

    Thank you for the explanation.

    Although, I’m now a bit confused… if “it ain’t complicated” then where’s your analysis for Lakewood?

    Sounds like you’re the right guy to do it after that in-depth explanation…

    And I too am sure Cal would publish it and I also agree citizens would find it “VERY educational”.

    But if you don’t want to… then don’t.

    But then let’s also stop pretending the standards which you hold other town’s by actually means something…

    If this Woodstock analysis was truly righteous and truly as simple as your “expert” claim, you’d have no problem applying to your hometown.

    Or maybe you’re NOT really an expert?

    In the meantime, watch out readers; this is your Drive-by Hypocrisy.

  10. Dear Hypocrisy:

    In the immortal words of Moe Howard, I’ll make this so simple even you can understand it.

    I reviewed Woodstock’s finances as part of my investigation of Brian Sager’s record.

    Lakewood is irrelevant to that purpose.

    It is YOUR red herring. You might as well ask me why I didn’t review Miami or Madison; they are, after all, as irrelevant to my investigation of Brian Sager’s record as Lakewood.

    And you’re still a coward, hiding behind a phony name.

    As for you, Jason, like Hypocrisy, you’re a character assassin with no facts, but at least you have the guts to use your real name when you smear someone baselessly.

  11. I’m always amazed as to why presumably intelligent people like Wilson & Drive-by remain in Illinois.

  12. Dear 2nd Amendment:

    That’s easy: my wife and I have family and friends here.

    If we could convince everyone to pick up and move to the same area (including those with jobs here in Illinois), we’d move.

    Lacking that, we pay what I call a “family and friends” tax to remain close to the people we care about.

  13. Confucius say, crowed elevator smell different to midget. Take the stairs.

  14. Dear Stephen Willson,

    Your argument that the two topics are unrelated isn’t lost, it’s simply ignored for it’s myopic basis.

    For those of us who find entertainment in the ramblings of the senile curmudgeons in this blog, we know well enough of your Lakewood nihilism.

    You’ve spent years influencing Lakewood politics into fiscal irresponsibility.

    Your nihilistic attempts to force the town to go bankrupt and dissolve.

    Just as you continue to demonstrate herein by refusing to apply your contrived “expert” analysis in your own hometown.

    Hypocrisy at it’s finest.

    Lakewood sees right through you.

    Woodstock beware of this “expert” – the nihilist behind the curtain is coming for you.

  15. Dear 2nd Amendment (AKA Paul Serwatka)(,

    In your cowardliness you run away and out of state from your Illinois office as Lakewood President in the middle of your term, but yet you still continue to spend time in the comments section of an Illinois blog?…

    Then you have the wherewithal to attack others who remain here?!

    Watch out readers, this is your Drive-by Hypocrisy

  16. “We know well enough of your Lakewood nihilism…. [and] your nihilistic attempts to force the town to go bankrupt and dissolve…. Watch out readers, this is your Drive-by Hypocrisy”


    You really are a crackpot, and with imperial delusions.

    Please continue to refer to yourself with the royal “we”, to spew baseless and unsupported insults, to hide behind a phony name, and to threaten all the readers of the blog, using the term “Drive-by” in your name and warning us that we should “watch out” for you.

    By the way, your self-inflated writing style sucks, too.

  17. Dear Stephen Willson,

    Regarding “phony names”, any reason you choose to use the alternate spelling of your given name, Stephen?

    Maybe trying to avoid search engine results with your real name spelling?

    If alias’s are so unworthy, what are you afraid of to use your given name spelling?

    Then let’s look at the timing of “Valeurs Actuelle”, posting 11 minutes after you on a post otherwise not worth debate from so many others, and with the same critical defense against me? LOL –

    You hypocrisy is showing, but do make sure you single me out for the alias while placating your buddy 2nd Amendment, AKA Paul Serwatka.

    Watch out readers, this again, is your Drive-by Hypocrisy!

  18. Hypocrisy:

    I forgot to mention your clairvoyance. It’s an impressive capability.

    Did the spirits tell you “2nd Amendment” was really Paul Serwatka, or is it some sort of telepathic thing?

    Please tell us who everybody else is on this blog!

    I’ve always been curious.

  19. Hypocrisy:

    You really think I misspell my name on this blog to somehow hide who I really am?

    Once again, wow, just — Wow! You are delusional!

    And petty.

    And stupid.

    And ignorant.

    The reason I spell my last name with two Ls is because it’s what’s on my birth certificate.

    It’s the way my father spelled his surname, and his father before him, going back 300+ years to Scotland.

    As for my first name, my mother picked that out.

    Stephen was the first martyr.

    You’ll find that in the Acts of the Apostles.

    It’s a common variant of “Steven”, a fact well known to educated people.

    BTW, if you read the Northwest Herald, you’ll notice that I “misspell” all my letters to the editor the same way.

    But, please, continue.

    You’re amusing.

    Creepy, but amusing.

  20. Steve Willson, My comment wasn’t a character assassination.

    It is based upon my interpretation of the facts as I see them.

    – Last you and I spoke, your goal was to deplete Lakewood’s reserve funds to the bare, statutory minimum in order to prevent them from trying to build a Village Hall or undertake some other large project.

    – A few months ago you asked if I was in support of purchasing the Vactor truck.

    My response was, “no”.

    I asked the same question back to you.

    It was ignored, presumably because it is impossible to justify the purchase of a $500,000 vactor truck in a village the size of Lakewood unless the goal is to burden the Village finances.

    Make no mistake Sager clearly likes his taxes, which has been hard on Woodstock residents, but our Village has a huge problem.

    The CAO and President passed a 2020/2021 budget that was out of balance and has at least 17 known errors.

    They are aware of these issues but have yet to address said issues.

    Instead they have put out an RFP for marketing (also not in the budget) to make the Village look better.

    This is just the beginning.

    Incentives were granted to the new gas station without proper documentation, RFPs and spending for items not in the budget, incomplete audit, improper use of impact fee funds, SSAs carrying negative balances for multiple years in a row, significant overages in certain budget line items, overlooking major errors in bids to recommend a company that employs the CAO’s son (while failing to mention anything to the Board), failing to enforce a water contract with Turnberry that cost the Village $200,000 (instead approving a well that isn’t in the budget) and bid stringing just to name a few.

    The financials still don’t balance.

    In fact, there was a $500,000 error, yet somehow the Village is moving forward to a new accounting system.

    How much room for error is in that transition?

    Considering their propensity for destroying Village records, we should be concerned.

    Forgive me if I find your analysis of Sager’s bag tax less concerning than Lakewood’s financial issues (not that I disagree with your conclusion).

    What I find odd is your lack of concern for your own Village.

  21. Jason, why don’t you and “Drive by Shooting” talk to each other.

    You have a lot in common, including distortion, innuendo, and the amazing ability to misinterpret evidence.

  22. Not a single response.

    Thank you for confirming your approval of their actions.

    If I have “misinterpreted evidence”, please feel free to enlighten me.

  23. Dear Stephen Willson (AKA Steve Willson, Steven Willson, Stephen Wilson, Steve Wilson, Steven Wilson and all ye variables whom are named after the first martyr),

    Are you familiar with deductive logic?

    As well, is there any specific reason you excluded a response to the naming of your Valeurs Actuelle identity?

  24. Jason:

    A formal argument consists of a proposition supported by logical reasoning and facts that support the conclusion. Note that last phrase: “that support the conclusion”. If for example, I argue, “You’re a liar because the sun rises in the east”, my proposition may well be true, and my “evidence” IS factual, but my “fact” does NOT logically lead to the conclusion, so I haven’t proven my conclusion – yet.

    Further, a GOOD formal argument takes account of ALL of the relevant evidence. To pick pieces that support your position and to ignore others is to be deceitful. Purposely deceitful. You know: the truth, the WHOLE truth, and nothing but the truth?

    And to purposely misinterpret an opponent’s argument is known as the fallacy of the straw man, wherein you claim success for defeating an argument that was never made. The simple word for that is lying.

    Now, you stated about me, “Willson doesn’t care what happens in Lakewood as long as all the reserves get spent down”, and that my ”goal was to deplete Lakewood’s reserve funds to the bare, statutory minimum”.

    There are three problems with this argument.

    First, you presented zero evidence in support of it. Instead you went off on a tangent about a truck. Clearly, that doesn’t support your proposition. Until you show evidence to support your proposition, it is merely an assertion, an unsupported personal attack.

    Second, there is no “statutory minimum” under Illinois law. Now, either you know that, in which case you’re a liar, or you’re ignorant of that fact, in which case one may well question not only your conclusion but your willingness to thoroughly investigate a topic before reaching a half-cocked, malicious conclusion.

    Third, I have argued many times that there is a logical method for determining the proper amount of liquidity for a municipality, and that it is the same method used in private business. The steps are as follows: (1) forecast daily (or weekly or monthly) revenues and expenditures and the resulting balance, (2) determine the maximum deficit during the year, (3) add an amount for safety’s sake, based on the variability of the revenues and expenditures, and (4) IF there is good reason to expect some major interruption, THEN put extra money aside. My argument is that reserves should be kept to this logically and factually determined amount because to keep extra reserves, unnecessary reserves, is to over-tax.

    So the evidence is clearly against you, and you chose to purposely lie about I’ve said, and you chose purposely to ignore things I’ve said that would disprove you.

    And, by the way, it is a basic principle of common law that silence does not constitute assent. That’s another logical fallacy on your part, and, again, either you’re being purposely deceitful in your reasoning, or you can’t tell the difference.


    Drive-by Shooting:

    Are you familiar with the logical fallacy, post hoc, ergo propter hoc? The English translation is “after the fact, therefore because of the fact”. It means that simply because A precedes B, that doesn’t mean that A caused B.

    Further, it is categorically impossible to prove a negative.

    So, several people commented on this blog post. You picked one and accused me of being that person. Your sole evidence is that (a) their comment followed mine and (b) they supported me. That, of course, is logically fallacious.

    In fact, based on that reasoning, there are only two people who ever comment on this blog, because if there are two sides, it must really be just two people arguing but using numerous false names.

    Or maybe you just proved that you’re actually Jason McMahon, because he supported you! Ha, admit it! Jason commented after you and attacked me, so you must really be Jason! If you can’t prove that you’re not Jason, then that proves you ARE him.

    Or maybe you’re really Hillary Clinton! Hillary doesn’t like me, so you must be Hillary, attacking me on this blog! Prove that you’re not! Ha, you can’t, so I must be right!

    Unless you’re my childhood nemesis, Dan Billings, who used to make fun of my name. Dan – is that YOU? Stop it, stop it, you’re hurting my feelings!

    Oh, wait, that whole line of reasoning is stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

    BTW, one final comment. I’ve never argued that I’m right because I’m an expert. That’s the logical fallacy know as the appeal to authority. An expert isn’t right because of who they are, they’re only right if their reasoning and evidence supports their conclusion. Which is why I present facts. I want people to be able to make their own, informed decisions. And in this case, as I have many times before, I specifically stated that what I do doesn’t require any special expertise, that the steps are simple and the information readily available. I even told them exactly where to find the data.

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