Chris Harris

I am writing about the recent 40% increase the council approved on the vehicle tax last meeting. Budgeting and planning is an essential part of governing. 

In my years of watching and participating in village government, I have seen a complete failure of leadership in this area. A complete lack of financial planning and “out of the blue” tax increases such as the recent sales tax increase and now vehicle tax increase, show our mayor may not understand the concepts of budgeting and planning. 

Where is the justification for this increase? I did not hear one clear justification provided during his rambling lobbing of the idea a couple of meetings ago and immediate institution the following meeting. Was this idea brought up, where it should have been brought up, in a budget meeting, not two weeks before the vehicle tax renewal notices is to go out? Again, Mr. Mayor, where is the leadership, planning and budgeting?

I don’t think people have a problem with paying a bit more in taxes when our government lays out why it is needed, not just more money dumped into a general fund for the mayor to spend wherever he wants, with no reason provided. At the council meeting where the tax increase was brought up, the mayor’s loyal comrade, Commissioner [Tom] Mannix, conveniently brought up how much the vehicle tax in Oak Park is and how it would take decades to equal that — which shows a complete misunderstanding of our community. We can’t lambast Oak Park when we want to and then cite it when convenient. 

Oak Park’s median income is $105,217; Forest Park’s is $52,611. Oak Park’s median home value is $358,800; Forest Park’s is $173,600. We are not Oak Park. We are a proud working-class community that deserves a leader who respects the dollars its residents earn.

Chris Harris

Forest Park

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