Excerpts from the rblandmark.com:

It’s been seven years since H. Bob Demopoulos first ran as a political candidate in North Riverside. He ran as an independent for  mayor, and lost by a whopping 71 percent to 21 percent margin.

A lot has happened in the village since that time. The village struggled through the economic recession that hit as voters cast their ballots in 2009, and Demopoulos later emerged as a competitive candidate, winning two elections that followed.

In 2011, he ran again as an independent and was elected a trustee. He won re-election to the job in 2013 at the top of a slate of candidates, calling themselves Save Our Firefighters, which nearly pulled off an upset against the VIP Party.

He’s seeking the mayoral post again in 2017.

“Our main focus is fiscal responsibility,” said Demopoulos, who is calling for any year-end budget surpluses to go toward paying long-term liabilities such as pensions and post-retirement health insurance obligations.

“A certain faction of the budget needs to be earmarked toward paying off our debt,” Demopoulos said.

The village has earmarked certain funds toward such purposes. Red-light camera revenue in recent years has gone toward paying police and fire pension obligations. Meanwhile, sales taxes have been pledged to pay off debt issued to finalize a deal that brought Costco to North Riverside and more recently have been pledged to finance bonds sold this fall to fund road improvements.

But the village doesn’t have a dedicated stream of revenue other than general operating funds to pay for post-retirement health insurance costs, for which the village will be on the hook for many years at an estimated total cost of more than $35 million, according to the village’s most recent financial audit.

Demopoulos also said he wants to end the infighting between village government and the North Riverside firefighters union, which have been locked in a more than two-year-long court battle over privatizing firefighting services.

It’s unclear exactly how much the battle has cost the village, but records indicate the village, by the end of the 2016-17 fiscal year, expected to spend more than $500,000 in legal fees since 2014 on matters pertaining to the fire department.

“The legal stuff with the fire department has to end,” Demopoulos said. “It’s a losing battle.”

 thanks Dan

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