The Metro East Sanitary District (MESD) is a bi-partisan board. I serve as a Madison County appointment and I am also the district Treasurer.
Since 2000, this entity has lost over $8,000,000. (attached report). Working together, we have balanced revenue and spending. The existing board was replaced by by Madison County Chairman Kurt Prenzler in May of 2017 after floods ravaged Mitchell and Pontoon Beach.
I was shocked by the level of mismanagement we encountered. An organization that lost $2,000,000 in 2016. A levee system that had failed United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) inspections in 2015, and thereafter. Inoperable pump stations and silted channels.
Managements solution at the time was to simply disregard it all. Turning MESD around took some tough and controversial choices: A new Executive Director, laying off excess employees and making tough choices on spending.
We found out why this system was broke: A sewer system that was neglected and lost money most years. Real estate values have crashed in St. Clair County over the last 50 years, Madison County taxpayers now pay 78 cents of every tax dollar in revenue. Union contracts with 6.5 hour workdays.
To put it bluntly, as revenues dried up, management continued to escalate spending, especially hiring. MESD simply did not have the money or work.
Springfield politics is about to unravel MESD’s progress in a last minute move by St. Clair County politicians and Granite City Mayor Ed Hagnaur. Tipping the balance of the MESD Board to Democratic control will only bring back "the good old days" for politicians, not taxpayers. St. Clair County Chairman Mark Kern is especially interested in continuing subsidization for his favorite charity, the MESD Landsdowne Sewer system. Madison County taxpayers are especially hard hit, as they make up 78% of every dollar used to pay for their good times.
We need Governor Bruce Rauner to veto this bill so MESD can continue fixing this broken sanitary and levee district.
A lot of progress has been made, but even more is required!!!
Governor Rauner’s Webpage Contact: https://www2.illinois.gov/gov/contactus/Pages/VoiceAnOpinion.aspx
Donald Sawicki MESD Commissioner / Treasurer