The following is a response to issues raised in an editorial letter by Gustavo Lira that was published last week. For background information on the votes and developers referenced, please read here and here.
By Antoinette ‘Toni’ Dorris
Some citizens have entertained mistaken notions regarding my intentions (along with those of other trustees) for voting against the InSite proposal and advocating that the Village work with other developers—in particular, Granite Realty Partners.
The 4-3 majority vote was to proceed with a Letter of Intent, which is protocol. The final decision as to which developer the Village was going with was not determined by this vote.
My case against InSite is based on them only bringing three sales tax revenue entities to this Village. Banks do not pay sales tax revenue to communities—at least not in a way that sufficiently lowers taxes. My first priorities are always with seniors and children, both of whom are unable to compete financially, whether today or in the future. What we, as a board, do today should be an effective move twenty years from now. Such long-term thinking would benefit the residents of this town.
Granite presented to this Board a year ago. They were told to come back and present their offer again according to the specifications that the board shared with them. However, they were never given that chance. Being a fair person, I encourage fairness in all things. Good business practices and negotiations should have taken place, but did not. The bank has, on several occasions, stated that they were not developers and would work with either developer once they found out there was another developer at the table (the bank was given this information late in the deal). In my opinion, the bank is being fair, so why aren’t we, as a Village, being fair as well?
The economic development reputation that we have at this point stems from the fact that our management does not present this Village in a fair light (this includes our previous economic development director and past and present Village managers). Some would lay responsibility for this unfortunate reality on the backs of elected officials, but we only govern one person and that’s the Village manager. If a directive is given to the Village manager and it’s carried out opposite of what was requested by the Board, then that’s not on the back of the elected officials, unless we choose to do nothing about straightening it out. Those of us who saw that the directive was not carried out fairly stood up to make it fair ground.
Furthermore, Granite has committed to bringing a multitude of national sales tax revenue sources to Maywood for the entire First and Lake Street corridor. They also have a proven track record of doing this in neighboring towns as well as the City of Chicago. Check their website at granitepartners.com.
InSite has four corners in total in Naperville/Warrenville and New Lenox that they have completed, in addition to out-of-state sites. Check their website at insiterealestate.com. I am a firm believer that if you think small, you get small. This town, in my opinion, does not need small, we need big and I believe that we are able to function in that capacity. We need developers that are willing to ‘meet the needs of this community’ and not ‘cherry pick’ our land that’s valuable to us. The bank is willing to work with either developer. The bank was not aware that there was another developer involved at all. Small sales tax revenue versus big sales tax revenue—simple math to me!
Some of my fellows elected officials wish to do something just to say they’ve done something. I wish to make the best choice for all people of this village. In my opinion, moving too fast does not allow for ‘critical thinking.’
I am very clear of my fiduciary responsibility and that’s why I voted the way that I did—to achieve clarity and promote fairness. I encourage residents to hold this board accountable and I encourage those residents who have been holding the Village hostage for years to get off of the bandwagon.
This is not about one group versus another group. When we all sit at that board table, we represent one Village. I’ve even said this at a meeting. I have yet to meet a perfect person or group, but if I am able to respect a person’s idea and concerns and deal with them today to work toward a brighter future, then I am asking other residents to do the same. Let’s move forward.
Unity and mutual respect is what this town needs. I have spoken to people who live here who agree with that proposition. I look forward to hearing from any residents who wish to meet with me to discuss this and other issues that are vital to this Village. Let’s put the misinformation and hearsay to rest once and for all.
Antoinette ‘Toni’ Dorris is a recently elected Maywood trustee.