LA GRANGE – With the local election fast approaching April 4, candidates running in village of La Grange races recently sat down to talk with voters during a forum organized by the Citizens’ Council of La Grange.
The March 15 forum at La Grange Village Hall dedicated the most time to the sole contested race participating – the La Grange Village Board of Trustees.
Three incumbents – all slated by the Citizens’ Council – are running for re-election. Bill Holder, Mark Langan and Dave McCarty are challenged by newcomer Lou Gale, who did not receive the council’s backing, although the council said its slating was a difficult decision.
There are three Village Board seats up for grabs April 4.
Trustee candidates tackled various issues during the forum brought forward by both council members and residents, including stormwater management, taxes and downtown parking.
One question asked for the status regarding a lawsuit between the village of La Grange and Material Service Corporation related to village use of a quarry for stormwater relief.
The corporation, a subsidiary of Lehigh Hanson Inc., filed suit against the village in Cook County Circuit Court in July 2016 in a bid to stop construction on a pipeline that would drain into Federal Quarry, which is owned by the company.
The village planned to construct a 54-inch storm sewer stretching from Brainard Street and running beneath 50th Street to the quarry and then to McCook Ditch. The impetus for the project came from severe flooding experienced by village residents, particularly those living south of 47th Street, in 2011 and 2014.
“We feel very strongly that we are on strong grounds to win that lawsuit. It’s basically a delaying tactic by the quarry, and it’s not generating any good public PR for them, so we’re hopeful we can get rolling on that very soon,” McCarty said.
Another question addressed increasing property taxes and what the village plans to do if there is a budget shortfall.
All the candidates expressed a desire to expand the tax base to avoid increasing property taxes.
“First and foremost, no one wants to raise taxes. We’re all taxpayers here,” Holder said. “The question is what value you get for that dollar.”
Gale said he’d want to work with an urban planner to help the village map out what developments would make the most sense in which locations to help expand the tax base.
“It’s the more specific type of changes we would need and want to make that I’d be interested in learning about,” he said.