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         October 1, 2010        

Sherman to challenge Minutes of
Buffalo Grove Committee of the Whole meeting

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At next Monday night's Board of Trustees meeting of the Village of Buffalo Grove, I will ask that the Village Board vote against the approval of the purported Minutes of last Monday's Committee of the Whole meeting.  They should reject the proposed, fake set of Minutes and require that a real set of Minutes be prepared.

The Buffalo Grove Village Board, with former Village Manager
Bill Brimm (gold tie) and Village Clerk Janet Sirabian (striped sweater).

There is a big difference between a set of Minutes from a government meeting and an Agenda for that meeting.  As an example, see the Minutes of the September 13th meeting of the Buffalo Grove Village Board, and compare that with the Agenda for that meeting.

What has been presented as the Minutes of the Committee of the Whole meeting is really merely an Agenda for that meeting.  That's not acceptable.

The fake Minutes state, in pertinent part, that "Staff members presented reports and updates on the following, details of which may be found in the supporting documentation distributed to the Board:"  Following that are eight bullet points representing the subjects that were discussed, but nothing about who said what.

There are two big problems with that.

First, according to that line, above, in the fake Minutes, the supporting documents will provide details only of the staff member reports and updates regarding the eight highly controversial issues that were on the agenda.  It won't say anything about what the Trustees and Village President had to say about these issues.  I want to know what our elected officials had to say about these matters.  That's why public bodies are required to produce Minutes of their meetings, so we can find out who said what.

These fake Minutes conceal, rather than reveal, what was said by whom at the meeting.

According to a Daily Herald article, entitled Buffalo Grove may levy motor fuel tax for road repair, our new Village Manager, Dane Bragg, made, as his first major proposal since dropping into town, raising everybody's taxes as a way to improve our lives in Buffalo Grove.

The specific tax increase supposedly proposed by Dane is to raise the price of gasoline in town by three cents per gallon.  That would be a really stupid thing to do and a great way to drive the gas stations in Buffalo Grove out of business, because people make their gasoline buying decisions based on price, not whether the station is in your home town.

Even I do that, and I'm very loyal to my Buffalo Grove.

The gasoline sold by any major brand in a particular region is exactly the same, whether you buy it at one of their stations in Buffalo Grove, Wheeling, Palatine, Mount Prospect, Arlington Heights, Lincolnshire or Vernon Hills.  If the same brand of gasoline is selling for three cents less per gallon in the next town over, and I'm going to be driving past that station, I'm buying there.

It is common practice, when one starts running low on gas, to check and compare the prices at several stations of your favorite brand during the normal course of going back and forth to work or running errands.  Whichever station of your favorite brand has the lowest price, that's where you go to buy gas.  "Shop Buffalo Grove" is a nice slogan, but when it's a commodity and that commodity is identical from one town to the next, nobody is going to buy it in Buffalo Grove when it's available for less in another town that you're going to be driving through.

That's why nobody from the suburbs or out-of-state buys gas in Chicago.  City taxes, there, raise the price of gasoline substantially, so you either buy gas before you go to Chicago or after you leave there.

Do we want to make Buffalo Grove the same kind of price laughing stock that Chicago is?

If you want my business, you have to be price competitive.  My taxes are high enough without making an unnecessary donation because some young Village Manager decided to get clever and jack up my taxes in my home town.

Do we really want more abandoned gas stations in town, like we had for years at the northwest corner of Dundee and Arlington Heights Roads and at the southwest corner of Lake-Cook Road and Route 83?

Did Dane really propose raising gasoline taxes by three cents per gallon?  I shouldn't have to rely on a newspaper article to be my alternate Minutes of a government meeting because the published minutes conceal, rather than reveal, what was said by whom at the meeting.

If Dane really said that, the residents of Buffalo Grove are likely to tell him, "Young man, you get right back on Route 38 and go straight back to Galesburg.  We don't need some kid, who isn't familiar with our community, dropping in here and telling us that the way to make things better in Buffalo Grove is to raise everybody's taxes."

I can't believe Dane would have done something that stupid, but if he did, which of our trustees supported that proposal and who opposed it?

That brings us to the second big problem with the fake Minutes:

Why are the Members of the Village Board the only ones being provided with information beyond the Agenda?  What are you hiding from the rest of us?  Why are you hiding from us the names of the Trustees who may have supported raising our taxes and the names of the Trustees who opposed it?

I truly don't know who supported and who opposed raising our taxes, having spoken to nobody associated with the Village since the Daily Herald article came out two days ago, but did Lisa oppose raising our taxes?  Are you concealing the information because you don't want to make Lisa look good, right before her Recall Election?

Village Trustee Lisa Stone

I have defended Buffalo Grove Village Clerk Jan Sirabian when her professionalism has been attacked, so I'm not somebody who has any history of criticizing her.  I don't know if the vague and evasive Minutes of the Committee of the Whole Meeting that were prepared above her signature were her idea or if she was told to conceal who said what, but these minutes are not acceptable.

Village Clerk Jan Sirabian

There's also an implication, based on the Agenda-as-Minutes, that there is a proposal to raise our property taxes to subsidize the wealthy leisure class that likes to wander around on the Village's two golf courses.  Really?  They want to raise my property taxes for them?  Let them pay for their own damn golf.  Don't send me the bill for their golf game.

The Minutes should be re-done to be real Minutes, not fake Minutes, so the residents of Buffalo Grove will know who said what on the important issue of which taxes, if any, should be raised and by how much.

There's a municipal election coming up.  Maybe that's why the Minutes don't say anything.

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