Audience members at Monday night’s village council meeting witnessed some political theater as board members broke into a heated exchange over statements made to the Forest Park Review last month.

Mark Hosty, commissioner of streets and public improvements, wanted Rory Hoskins, commissioner of accounts and finance, to back up comments Hoskins made to the Review, attributing last year’s $203,400 surplus to a couple of one-time sources.

Hoksins’ comments can be found in the article “Village officials disagree on state of finances” [Jan. 12].

Hosty asked Hoskins to support the claim he made that $525,000 the village received from the failed Roos project was used to balance last year’s budget.

“There are different ways to look at the money,” Hoskins said.

“Numbers are numbers,” Hosty shot back.

“The money from the Roos property, it does sit in our bank account; it does help us with our cash balance,” Hoskins said.

“You’re the accounts and finance commissioner … does [the $525,000] affect our year-end balances – as stated in the newspaper – that the only reason why we have money left over at the end of the year is because of this money?” Hosty thundered.

Hoskins said that money, and $292,000 the village received from the YMCA’s failed, last-ditch effort to the buy Altenheim was “recorded as revenue in FY ’10,” and also used to balance last year’s budget.

Actually, that money was included in the FY ’09 budget.

“Maybe that was a mistake,” said Hoskins, when Hosty asked him about it.

Hoskins was unable to support any comments he made, either last night or in last month’s article. But neither has the village done much to disprove Hoskins’ claims.

After the meeting, Mayor Anthony Calderone told the Review he would arrange for an auditor to “explain it all.”

“At no time has that [$525,000] been credited as income to offset our balance for the end of the year [FY ’10],” Hosty said.

“It is indisputable,” added Calderone. Hosty and Calderone teamed up to emphasize that the money from the Roos and from the YMCA had nothing to do with the village being in the black last year.

The Review article referenced an FY ’10 village audit, and a monthly report of the village’s finances, ending in December 2010.

Hoskins said Hosty was “grandstanding,” and he accused the mayor of excluding him from village financial discussions with the consulting firm and of bullying department heads.

“That’s ridiculous,” Calderone said. “Maybe you should spend some time familiarizing yourself with the village’s finances.”

“Who wants to be the first to stand up and say that I intimidate you?” said the mayor, to the department heads. No one stood up.

“C’mon,” he said.

What the village board didn’t mention Monday night is that it has a $2.1 million deficit in its “major funds,” and fiscal year 2011 ends on Apr. 30. It also did not specify what it has in “reserves,” something Hosty pointed to when asked about the general fund.

Walmart expansion plan moves forward

After the quarreling stopped, the board voted in favor of moving ahead with Walmart’s plans to expand its 1300 Desplaines Ave. store, provisionally approving the variations requested, contingent on Village Attorney Nick Peppers’ review.

This article has been updated to correct that Marty Hosty is commissioner of streets and public improvements.