Sewer contest heats up in La Grange
Updated: December 31, 2012 5:42PM
LA GRANGE — A La Grange business and computer specialist is challenging an incumbent trustee for a seat on the South Lyons Township Sanitary District.
Tom Clancy said he decided to seek a four-year term after hearing about problems with a multimillion dollar project to repair the aging sewer system for the district, which serves 1,221 residential customers, 40 industrial sites and 214 commercial properties in the south part of La Grange and northern Countryside.
“Two things got me frustrated, mismanagement and lack of following their own rules and regulations on hiring a contractor,” Clancy said.
John Finn of Countryside, serving as president and seeking a second term, defended his record and noted Clancy hasn’t attended a meeting, requested documents or called to ask questions. Finn works for an insurance company and as a substitute teacher.
Finn said the district obtained a no-interest loan for $3.75 million and a $1.25 million grant through federal stimulus funds in 2009 and hired Dominic Fiordirosa Construction Co., from Elgin, to repair pipes and improve two lift stations.
“Instead of paying 5 percent on a $5 million bond issue as had been proposed, we got the loan and the grant we don’t have to pay back, saving the taxpayers more than $1 million,” he said.
Finn acknowledged the contractor had difficulties with a business partner who filed suit and also named the district, requiring a lawyer at frequent hearings.
Records show the district spent $60,000 on legal expenses for 2011-12. The figure is for all legal expenses, Finn said, adding he wasn’t sure how much was due to the contractor dispute.
Legal proceedings against the district were dismissed in August, Finn said.
If elected, Clancy said he would review legal bills and district spending and determine how to comply with regulations to improve the system. He admitted he hasn’t been to a board meeting, looked at the district’s budget online or requested documents, such as Fiordirosa’s contract. He doesn’t have specifics as to what regulations the district is violating.