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.

Paul Smith July 14, 2011 at 10:20 PM
Fighting Fox.....agreed, maybe another committee? thats a fair "opinion". I dont know what the best fit is....I voted for the Mayor to make that decision.....he did and I will see what happens THEN hold him accountable. Art might have requested that committee because he knows which would fit him best as well....again, maybe he can help turn somethings around that he feels he made a mistake with but now he has a whole group of people to make "recommendations" to. it all comes out in the wash.... I have lived here for 21 years and have watched the City grow...did I agree with "everything" the City Council did?...No, but to place blame on Art ALONE is wrong....I'm not gonna sit and try and type a huge debate but, the Housing crisis started Federally, and if Yville didnt annex the property which you speak of, Oswego, Sugar Grove or Montgomery would have and how far would your "yorkville"? voice travel with those City Council's? ....I STILL see good things in Art, Bob Johnson, HD, and even Val....Let's let the guy try. Thats all I'm saying and If I dont like what happens, I can always sell my home and move away just like you can as well....
Dock Ellis July 14, 2011 at 10:41 PM
The silly bitterness is stunning. This guy had nothing to do with the economic downturn. Settle down.
It all comes out in the wash July 14, 2011 at 10:49 PM
I'm voicing my opinion and I agree with Fighting Fox. This was a bad move so now that he's there all eyes will be on him to pull this city out of the condition he put us in.
It all comes out in the wash July 14, 2011 at 10:51 PM
The landfill cost is what got this city into the financial condition its in, that was under his watch.
Dock Ellis July 15, 2011 at 12:20 AM
No, that was certainly part of it, but if the landfill had been approved, our city would have millions in tax revenue in addition to savings compared to shipping our trash out of town. This guy apparently was in favor of annexing the property so that the city would be in control of it if a landfill was there. He never was allowed to say a word about supporting or opposing it because he was legally bound to do so. He is guilty of getting crappy legal advice, but that's about it.
Dorian July 15, 2011 at 03:36 AM
Let's revisit my post of the Day after the election: HMMM... Gary Golinski (Yorkville Mayoral candidate) is rumored to have promiced things to people all over town. He has made no secret of is dislike for the current Plan Commission Chairman. Word on the street is that he is going to reappoint former longstanding chairman, Tom Lindbloom. Favors for votes. Then there is the mysterious change of heart of Mayoral Candidate, Robert Gryder. Not only did he drop out of the race, but he through his full support behind Golinski. Could it be that Robert was informed that he couldn't, if elected mayor, reappoint his mother to the Library Board? I am sure that Mr. Golinski didn't have a problem promising to appoint her if he wins. Favors for votes Then there is the case of current Alderman Werdrich. He came out in support of Golinski in the local paper. What could he possibly have promised to him? Maybe the adjudication attorney for the City of Yorkville? Favors for votes. Of course his pet team, The Reds, may all of a sudden get more fields than Yorkville Youth Baseball. Time will tell if these will come to fruition. This is not out of line considering how Yorkville has seen Goliniski wheel and deal in the past. Sounds like "Cicero Gary" has gone back to his roots.
Dorian July 15, 2011 at 03:43 AM
Let's see, the Mayor appointed Tom Lindbloom as Planning committee Chair. He Appointed Wally Werdrick as Adjudication officer and he appointed Joane Gryder to be on the Library Board. The shocker is that he appointed former Mayor Art Prochaska, voted out of office by a 3 to one margin, to be on the Plan Commission despite a passionate pleas from some of the Mayor's supporters and opponents alike. Finally, something both sides can agree on. Art Prochaska, although a very nice man, has already done his fair share of damage to the town and should not be in a position of authority. The Mayor doesn't understand why all the hub bub about this appointment. Where has he been for the last 4 years? Learn from history Mayor.
Dorian July 15, 2011 at 04:05 AM
Over one Million in legal costs.
Katy K July 15, 2011 at 01:21 PM
Volunteer or not the guys bad news for Yorkville! He was VOTED out as Mayor...help fix his mistakes...you've got to be joking!!!!
Katy K July 15, 2011 at 01:27 PM
Millions of tax revenue...plus smelly air, garbage on the roads, contaminated ground water, dead wildlife and the list goes on....landfills are destroying our planet! Get the MONEY out of the equation...ART dealed under the table to get that property...thats his BUDDY who owns it. No other town wanted it either!
It all comes out in the wash July 15, 2011 at 02:48 PM
Katy, I'm with you. Landfills near homes that cost 300-600k nice. No one would have ever moved into this city with that mess and it appears the residence made it very clear they did not want it. We are still dealing with the legal cost of that mess today. And yes those cost are why this city is in the RED and our taxes have gone up. Put that money back into the city and we would not be in the financial mess we are tday. All those back room deals from then are tanking this city. And what about all those city documents that were shredded.....why would that have happened? In this day everything comes out at some point.
Yorkville Will July 15, 2011 at 02:49 PM
UNbelievable! So the guy who was booted from office two administrations ago, who almost singlehandedly put a landfill in our backyard, and was one of the architects of the sewer debt, both of which have collectively cost town taxpayers millions of dollars between legal fees and bond payments, gets an appointment in one of the biggest projects in town. I didn't realize we were trying to annex into C(r)ook County!! I really had hopes for the new mayor and one of my new aldermen, who voted in favor of the appointment to "respect the mayor's decision." Well Mayor and Alderman Colosimo, enjoy your one term. We helped vote you in and in the next election we will be voting you back out!
It all comes out in the wash July 15, 2011 at 03:17 PM
Let's see we have 6 council members taking self imposed health insurance as part time elected officials not even employees to the tune of $110,000.00. And BS to having better qualified people running. Understand the history of why this elected position pays what it does. We have a senior Garbage program where all seniors pay .50 per month even if they can afford to pay regular rate. We pick up that cost of $142,632.00. All 566 get it and there are 225 circuit breaker seniors who need it and should be the only ones entitled to it. We have 8 alderman and not every ward represented in committees. That rule was thrown out day one. Wonder why all the health insurance alderman are on the Admin committee? This is old time politics and people will not tolerate elected officials who do not run this city with the CITY and its Residences best interests as a 1st priorty. People need to stand up, be present and attend the council meetings and let them know. Everyone of them need to be honest, etlical and represent their wards. Enough with the: you scratch my back I'll scrath yours...cause the community is seeing the scratch marks.
Dock Ellis July 15, 2011 at 04:00 PM
See, Katy, now you're starting to sound like a good old fashioned conspiracy theorist, which most of those who opposed the landfill were. I'm certainly not going to argue modern waste collection with you, because you obviously don't know what you're talking about. But when you say Hamman is Prochaska's "buddy," it also shows that you have no idea what you're talking about. What proof do you have that the former mayor is this property owner's "buddy?" Just makes you sound like a nutcase.
It all comes out in the wash July 15, 2011 at 06:48 PM
Time Line of events: http://yorkvilleinsider.org/timelinep1.html http://yorkvilleinsider.org/timelinep2.html
Todd Milliron July 15, 2011 at 08:59 PM
A History Lesson, well documented = http://www.yorkvilleinsider.org/history101.html
Scott Harmon July 15, 2011 at 10:59 PM
@Paul Smith - which mistakes does Prochaska think he made? Can you ask him and get back to me? The damage is so massive, it's going to take a huge (in the millions) cash infusion to fix what was done. I can not believe that someone that filed bankruptcy (see http://yorkvilleinsider.org/prochaska/prairietimes121307.pdf) and has almost ran this city into bankruptcy is now appointed to our plan commission. Am I allowed to file bankruptcy for my share of the debt that has been placed on me by the leaders that are suppose to represent me? But hey, if Art is into fixing things, please have him send me a check for the $1,000 additional property tax I'm being stiffed with just this year alone for debt that I did not sign for. I paid the city of Yorkville $24,000 to get out of debt for the questionable SSA tax that Prochaska was behind and now I'm being expected to pay for infrastructure improvements that benefit others (developers). Since moving here my property tax rate has increased 24%. The water bills have jumped dramatically since moving in here. What do I get for it? Declining property value, increased crime, and the lingering threat of a landfill (not to mention get stuck for the legal fees). Thanks to Aldermen Gilson and Tealing for voting for the people on this ridiculous appointment. I hope these common sense representatives can block any damage that Prochaska can cause in his undeserved appointment.
Paul Smith July 16, 2011 at 12:50 PM
well Mr. Harmon.....I dont know what Art thinks all I know is he volunteered his time to help. The article states that he was the only city resident to do so which means you didnt put your name in. All I'm saying is give the guy a chance and lets see what happens, he did alot of good for Yorkville too..... and in regards to your huge tax debt, I live in an older part of town, I never had an SSA tax which leads me to believe you live in a newer subdivision and I must apologize for not being more vocal when Art proposed your subdivision to expand my small town which allowed you to move in to and incur all your problems.....but, as you stated a few posts up, time to sell and you can move anytime you want.. and to It all comes out in the wash......apparently you must think that people that live in less than "$300-$600" should be the burden of your garbage....Batavia and Geneva are sure looking bad right now arent they?..oh yeah, both named in the top 100 places to live.....Dock Ellis is on to something, maybe this town would be swimming in money...we wont know now will we? and why call people names? "Cicero Gary"? really?.....He lives in Yorkville with a family...he 's "Yorkville Gary".....and if this appointment doesnt work, I wont vote for him again. .....
It all comes out in the wash July 16, 2011 at 02:02 PM
I'm not stating that at all Paul. I am referencing the city as a community. This is what this is all about doing the right thing for the community.There was a very qualified person in that job. . The bottom line is this was a political move.If is walks like a duck, quacks like a duck it a DUCK!
It all comes out in the wash July 16, 2011 at 02:04 PM
Pehaps a little reading from the CC minutes and links above would elighten some.
Paul Smith July 17, 2011 at 12:36 AM
Wash....ok...I will agree with that....but, are they not all "political" moves?....elected officials put people in positions who they trust....and if thats the case then we have to trust our elected officials to do what they think is right and hold them accountable...we have 4 years now to find out....all I was asking is to give the guy a chance see if he can help....leaders select and put people in positions all the time, some the like and some they dont but usually the ones they think can do the best...I think its a bold move for Art to be placed in that position....again, we'll see what happens....I trust them all to do whats right, because I dont want to do it nor can I....
Scott Harmon July 17, 2011 at 05:41 AM
@Paul Smith - I was not aware the plan commission seat was open. I would love to serve in that capacity and I have the credentials including being a former plan commission member in Plano. Gilson asked for more time to search for alternatives and Mayor Golinski apparently did not want to entertain that option. I'm not moving and it is not as simple as you can move anytime that you want. But people that are so fed up with what is happening they are making strategic walkaways. For example, I have one neighbor that has already bought his new home in North Carolina on 1 acre for $90K. The annual property tax bill is $425 a year on that property. He paid $340K for his current home. He has it listed for $289K. He has had 2 offers, 1 for $175K and the other for $210K. He owes more than both of those. Fortunately for him he is financially positioned to the point he can and will walkaway at the end of this summer. He will be increasing his cash flow by $2K a month or $24K a year. We have 350 desolate vacant lots in our subdivision, we have 20% of the homes in our subdivision being foreclosed on. We have $350K homes selling for $160K. Based on current fair market values our homes are still being assessed at $100K more than they are worth, which drives potential buyers away. Would you pay $10K in taxes on a house that you paid $160K for? That's what is happening here and why selling whenever we want is not realistic.
Paul Smith July 17, 2011 at 01:20 PM
@Mr.Harmon.......now that I can agree with....the housing market is terrible and yes, our taxes are high.....but, where is the money going?.....School District? Fire Prevention District?....they get more than the City.....The City apparently tried to increase population to bring in retail and now we are stuck.....everywhere people are hurting and not just here........and since you were on the Plano Planning Commision I value your knowledge.....offer some advice to our elected officials instead of just slamming the guy again that is all I was saying.....Lets wait and see how he /they do...... and in regards to your vacant lots in the subdivision......they hopefully will sell but, my family and friends tell me they would never move here because the way the people live here treat their elected officials and give off the impression this is a bad town.....all the negativity is reported and read not in just this area. The Mayor is a baseball fan and a coach and people are slamming him for possibly "promoting" only his team and he hasnt done that yet either but, you dont read or hear people talking the good about a baseball fan Mayor.....hopefully that will change but, the way this article and comments following apparently the same people wanna keep the town down....in my opinion hopefully more voices promoting and pointing out the good will begin to takeover the naysayers.....I do wish you luck in your neighborhood though and hope everything works out for you
It all comes out in the wash July 17, 2011 at 03:23 PM
We have no option at this point other than to hold them accountable. Let's see if they make good sound decisions for this community. "They trust" This is politics, the current mayor may trust him however I'm sure there are many citizens who do not. Trust is earned....respect is earned..time will tell.
Bob Allen July 18, 2011 at 07:44 PM
Brutal. Truly brutal. "Crappy legal advice?" Are you kidding? The crux of the lawsuit was this: The landowner asked if Art and his pals on the city council were wooing a landfill. The landowner was told, "No." The truth gets out. The landowner sues the city for fraud. Alright, "Dock(?)", exactly how did that whole thing workout? Is the lawyer the one who is ponying up the money for the embarrassing legal settlement? Nope, it's me and other Yorkville taxpayers who have to cover the misconduct with stacks of Benjamins.
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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