I want to take a moment and thank the residents of Forest Park for turning out in such large numbers to the polls last week. I hope that we will continue to see the same record setting voter turnout in upcoming election(s) moving forward.
As a current elected official and a lifelong resident of Forest Park, I want the community to know that my current term of service has enlightened me to the true state of our Village some of which is often overlooked and taken for granted by the public at large.
Regarding our financial state, our current Mayor and my fellow commissioners have spent a lot of time working with staff and running the day to day operations as a business, to cut expenses where possible and examine fees/rates that have not seen an increase in several years. Ultimately the Village is in desperate need of additional revenue resources to maintain the level of service Forest Parkers deserve and expect.
Video gaming [was] projected to provide more than $300,000 in revenue for the Village as well as revenue/income to several local tax paying businesses. I truly feel for these current business owners that a revenue engine in their current business plan has been eliminated. I stand by my vote more than 2 years ago to allow this legal form of entertainment with vetted local guidelines to take place in our village. This is real money not only for the village but to business owner that have been the backbone in our village commerce. I call some of these individuals true friends and loved ones.
I am not here to change the voice of the people, but I want it to be on record that there will be a lot of work of those elected in the next term to find additional revenue resources so that the basic needs of our residents: Police, Fire, Public Works, Safety, etc. can continue to be met.
I hope that those who are choosing to run understand and are ready to accept the responsibility that this position holds. It is not just about video gaming, there are 14,000 residents that rely on us to make decisions that are not always favorable at large but are crucial in making Forest Park a great place to live, work, play and own a business.
I was an will remain a huge proponent of positive change and innovation for this village, as I believe it is the way we continue to grow and adapt, remain sustainable, and make Forest Park a great place for all.
Editor's Note: Commissioner Dan Novak read this statement into public record at a village council meeting on Nov. 13. The Review has chosen to reprint his statement in full as a letter to the editor.