In a split decision, the Winfield Village Board concluded Thursday night that a trustee engaged in misconduct when he sent an email asking a local school board to share its views on how Roosevelt Road should be developed.
But Trustee Tim Allen avoided a possible censure vote after his fellow board members decided the lengthy and often heated discussion they had about him was enough.
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Trustee John Bajor, one of the four members who agreed Allen went too far with his Feb. 26 email to the Winfield Elementary District 34 school board, said he didn't see any value in pursuing a vote to censure Allen.
"It's a slap on the wrist," Bajor said. But he said he's not pleased with the way Allen conducts himself as a trustee.
"You're just running off on your own and firing your guns at all the targets," Bajor said to Allen during Thursday's meeting. "I think you work outside the whole process of this board."
Allen, who has long been pushing for Winfield to commercialize Roosevelt Road, took it upon himself to contact District 34 and other taxing districts because Winfield is going through the process of updating its comprehensive plan. Part of the document will include options for Roosevelt Road.
Village President Erik Spande said there's nothing wrong with Allen expressing his opinion.
The problem with Allen's email is it contained an estimate for how much property tax revenue District 34 could get if there's commercial development along Roosevelt. That number is incorrect, officials said.
"Trustee Allen blundered forward and presented information that was assumed by the school board to be factual and from this board," Spande said.
Another problem is Allen suggested in the email that the village is considering a tax increment financing district for the area.
School districts and other taxing bodies often oppose the creation of a TIF district because it limits the amount of new property tax revenue they can receive from land within the area.
Spande says village trustees have never talked about creating a TIF district along Roosevelt.
Allen said he never intended his email to be viewed as an official correspondence from the village. As for the property tax revenue estimates, he said his requests for that information have been repeatedly denied.
"I'll go to them (District 34 and other taxing districts) with the real numbers," he said.
Allen said he mentioned the possibility of a TIF district because it's a decision the board eventually is going to have to make.
"It doesn't mean we have to do it," said Allen, adding he's not in favor of TIF districts.
Trustees James Hughes and Tony Reyes said they don't believe Allen did anything wrong.
Hughes said the board needs to move on because trustees are beginning to work together.
"I think the point is well taken from our discussion," he said. "Hopefully, we all can get along after tonight."
Trustee Phillip Mustes accused Allen of taking actions that have been detrimental to the village. Mustes said he was prepared to take action against Allen.
"But if we want to give him one more chance and then censure him the next time, that's fine," he said, "because this has to stop."
Allen said he can't stop working for what he believes is best for the village. That includes trying to expand the village's tax base to generate new revenue.
"I want that done by commercializing Roosevelt Road to the maximum extent," Allen said. "I want a beautiful development up there. And I want the money so that we can do the things that this town needs to do."