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Former Mayor Prochaska Returns to City Government

Controversial choice replaces recent chairwoman Anne Lucietto on Yorkville Plan Commission.

Former Yorkville Mayor Art Prochaska Jr. was appointed to the city’s plan commission Tuesday despite objections from some residents and aldermen.

Mayor Gary Golinski appointed Prochaska to the spot over commission chair Anne Lucietto, who lives outside the city but within 1.5 miles of the city limits.

“He was the only application I received from a city resident,” Golinski said of Prochaska.

Aldermen approved the appointment, 6-2, with Ward 1 Aldermen George Gilson Jr. and Ward 4 Alderman Diane Teeling voting against it. The plan commission is an advisory board that makes recommendations about proposed developments in the city and within 1.5 miles of city limits.

A handful of area residents who spoke against Prochaska’s appointment during public comment at Tuesday’s city council meeting pointed to litigation involving a landfill proposal, botched deals with developers and massive development that happened during Prochaska’s administration as mayor.

Todd Milliron, who lives just outside the Yorkville city limit, said Golinski was motivated by politics.

“Mr. Prochaska is the one who appointed Mr. Golinski to the city council in 2007," he said.  "He's someone who could be given credit for starting Mr. Golinski's political career. There are members of this council sitting here tonight who actively campaigned against the landfill and formerly attacked Mr. Prochaska for his actions as mayor.”

Milliron said Lucietto served on the plan commission since 1990, after serving on the city’s library board for two years.

“Gary hasn't even lived in Yorkville for 10 years,” Milliron said.

But Golinski defended Prochaska’s record, pointing to development such as Jewel Food Store, Menards, Rush-Copley’s free-standing emergency center and Raging Waves Waterpark.

“I don’t understand all the controversy but I think he’s done more for the city than some of the people in this room,” Golinski said during the city council meeting. “The development has been phenomenal.”

After the meeting, Prochaska said some of the financial problems the city currently faces in light of stalled residential developments were beyond his control and the control of other city leaders while he was mayor.

“I want to continue to serve the people of Yorkville by helping to make sure the city’s growth is reasonable and responsible,” Prochaska wrote in his application for the plan commission.

Before voting, Ward 1 Alderman Carlo Colosimo emphasized that the plan commission is an advisory board that sends recommendations to the Yorkville City Council. Ward 3 Alderman Chris Funkhouser said he was surprised to see Prochaska’s application but he would support the appointment.

“I have given this a lot of thought,” Funkhouser said. “For somebody who has taken as much abuse as he has and is still willing to come back, that takes a lot.”

Gilson asked his fellow aldermen to hold off on voting on the appointment to “spend some time putting the right person on this advisory board.”

“I could go on and on about why I don’t think Art [Prochaska] should be on this commission,” Gilson said.

Golinski also appointed longtime commission member Tom Lindblom as the new chair; Lindblom had chaired the plan commission before Lucietto’s appointment.

Scott Harmon July 19, 2011 at 02:35 AM
Paul, I've attempted to get people to buy the dirt cheap houses in our subdivision to at least get the foreclosure supply reduced. Here is one of them: http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/881-Hampton-Lane_Yorkville_IL_60560_M79488-79313 On the surface it sound like a steal, right? If they were able to get a mortgage for no money down and finance the entire $167K at 4.75% for 30 years the PI portion of the house payment would be only $871 a month. But the property tax bill is $8,500 a year which almost doubles the house payment. I have had many first time buyers excited about this house and just say no way when they find out the total cost of ownership and the fact that the assessor is assessing the house at $246K. Too make matters worse the property tax on this property jumped $650 even though the assessment was lowered by 8%. Yet, maybe there are a small number of people avoiding Yorkville based on treatment of the elected officials, I guarantee you over-assessed foreclosed homes are a much larger factor in driving people away and preventing people to qualify for mortgages where the taxes will be 50% or more of the mortgage payment. Also, the threat of the landfill is a factor, contrary to what some believe. If I knew the landfill was even on the radar, I would not have bought here. Landfills should be built away from housing developments. Once the landfill is built and operational, then those that want to live right next to one can have at it. Peace.
Eileen July 20, 2011 at 01:01 PM
I am reading this thread with utter amazement. Thank you Paul Smith for your reasonable posts and your level headed comments.
Bob Allen July 21, 2011 at 03:13 AM
As a leader, it is thrilling to get others to go along with you. Not everyone has the guts to make a decision, then shepherd others into going along with it. It takes a powerful will. Not everyone has the skill to stack the deck and snuff out opposition. But it is a blessing and a curse. What happens if it goes wrong and doubles everyone's property taxes? It takes exceptional clarity of understanding to recognize a snow job. The Illinois Municipal League actually puts on presentations at their annual conference to encourage newly-elected officials to ask tough questions when facing difficult issues. Here is the bottom line: If you have someone with the strength of will to manipulate others, watch closely to see if they stand by their decisions later on. Politicians do not come with warning labels.
It all comes out in the wash July 22, 2011 at 06:49 PM
Appears to me that people haven't fogot how we got into this mess...And you may think the mayor that replaced him was awful however there are many who think different. Any many more who think if the current mayor continues making decisions like this he'll join the hall of shame list of council members before him. Art being somewhere at the top of that list. Facts are Facts.......as Paul Harvey would say....and now for the rest of the story....Good Day! As Todd provided above: A History Lesson, well documented = http://www.yorkvilleinsider.org/history101.html
Scott Harmon July 22, 2011 at 09:13 PM
Well Richard, please provide documentation supporting the millions into the coffers comment. Wait, is this as speculative as all of the projected impact fees that were suppose to pay off the gamble on infrastructure debt that was originated by a certain administration? Didn't the residents of Yorkville send a resounding message to clear out pro-landfill elected officials when the threat of the landfill was very clear? If a certain administration didn't gamble our future away we would have the funds to resolve the River Road bridge and the residents would still be enjoying lower property taxes and utility bills which reminds me of how messed up the deals were that bring us to where we are today. Thanks for reminding me.

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