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The Vanguard

Jefferson Davis is a longtime resident of Menomonee Falls. He is the proud parent of two wonderful boys. He enjoys singing, volunteering, reading, gardening, politics, antiques, history, guitar, violin, piano, officiating, helping neighbors and yard work. He served as Village President of Menomonee Falls from 2003-05. He is a member of Northbrook Church and serves on the Advisory Council for the Salvation Army Rehabilitation Center. He is an independent registered representative practicing in the areas of insurance, investments and retirement.

Trustee Steliga and Former Village President Bob Steliga 9 Years Delinquent on Falls Fest Pledges to Library

library pledge

After a brief break, The Vanguard is pleased to be back on-line covering local issues that are brought to the attention of this blog by many people who are plugged in to what is going on in the Falls.

As is often the case with local governments and their questionable relationships with non-profit groups that are directly or indirectly funded by the taxpayers, promises are made and stories are published about how wonderful the relationship between the two are and the many wonderful things that are being accomplished because of that wonderful relationship(s).

The local newspapers pat themselves on the back for covering these "stories" and the promises that are made by the Village Board and the non-profit groups, but rarely if ever do they follow up with whether or not these promises are ever actually carried out.

The Vanguard has learned of at least one of those cozy relationships and the failed promises between the Village Board and a prominent non-profit group made up of current and former Village Board Members dating back to 9 years ago costing the taxpayers once again thousands of dollars.

Trustee Steliga and former Village President Bob Steliga 9 Years Late on Falls Fest Pledge to Village Library

The Menomonee Falls Library Board announced at their February 10, 2010 meeting that a couple of pledges were outstanding from the 2002 Building Fund Drive as part of their fund raising efforts.

The total amount of the 2002 pledges were $337,187 and to date $36,400 remains outstanding.

The largest outstanding pledges involve 2 non-profit groups and one Village Board Member.

New Library was Supposed to be Built Without any Taxpayer Money with Waste Management's Funding

The Village Board in 2002 had promised through its $42,000,000 Municipal Facilities Fund to build a new library, police station and village hall at no cost to the taxpayers because Waste Management was supposedly going to pay for everything with tipping fees from the landfill in Menomonee Falls.

Tipping fees are collected from Waste Management per ton of garbage left at the landfill in lieu of the lost property tax revenue until the dump is eventually closed at which time there are no revenues collected and the community is left to look at a mountain of garbage without any property taxes being collected while Waste Management continues to collect millions in methane gas selling leases to We Energies for 30-40 years that currently provides energy to some 10,000 homes in the area (http://www.jsonline.com/business/87542832.html).

Menomonee Falls currently receives $0 from Waste Management for methane gas selling leases to We Energies.

Waste Management is required by State Law to burn off or remove methane gas from their landfills throughout Wisconsin to avoid potential explosions if the methane gas is not released.

It was discovered in 2003, with a new Village President and Village Board Members, that Waste Management was not going to pay for the $42,000,000 cost of the new library, police station and village hall (http://www.jefferson-davis.info/images/Documents/Municipal-Facilities-Fund.png) and that taxpayers would have to make up the $17,000,000 shortfall starting as early as 2016 with an additional assessment for the average homeowner of $832 through 2022 on their property tax bill (http://www.jefferson-davis.info/images/Documents/MEst-Effect-on-Property-Val.pdf).

Waste Management was scheduled to pay the Menomonee Falls Village Board about $3,000,000 a year starting in 2004 through 2014 in tipping fees for the privilege of piling their garbage in Menomonee Falls from all over the area.

It was also learned in 2003 that Waste Management would only pay $3,000,000 a year in tipping fees to the Menomonee Falls Village Board if the taxpayers of Menomonee Falls first gave Waste Management $1,200,000 to pick up their garbage netting taxpayers $1,800,000 a year from Waste Management thus causing taxpayers to help retire the $42,000,000 in debt service through 2022 for the Municipal Facilities Fund.

After the $17,000,000 shortfall was made public in 2003, the Village Board eventually voted in 2009 to make good on their 2002 promise to taxpayers to pay for the $42,000,000 in costs by expanding the landfill out to Main Street and stacking the garbage 15' higher through the approval of the DNR.

It remains to be seen if this promise will be fulfilled for the taxpayers.

The landfill is located at Main Street and 124th Street and can often be detected with its aroma permeating the air.

The Municipal Facilities Fund has $26,000,000 remaining in debt service through 2022 (http://www.jefferson-davis.info/images/Documents/Debt-Principal%20%26%20Interest.pdf).

Unlike the Town of Paris in Kenosha County who negotiated with Waste Management for free garbage disposal and no local or county taxes (http://www.town-of-paris.org/Meeting%20Minutes/2008/05-20-2008%20Special.pdf) for expansion of their landfill as well as having a $20,000,000 + surplus(http://www.todaystmj4.com/news/local/45360922.html), the Menomonee Falls Village Board requires taxpayers to pay $100 a year for garbage service, provides no tax relief and spends all of the tipping fee monies from Waste Management before it is even collected.

Sounds a lot like the legislature in Wisconsin, Congress in D.C. or the Country of Greece.

What a difference in leadership makes for the taxpayer.

Back to the Steligas and Their Failed Pledges to the Library Board

The 2002 Building Fund Drive was led by former Village President Joe Greco and the goal was to raise some $1,000,000 for the new library.

The Vanguard remembers a fund raising board out in front of Village Hall on Pilgrim Road that stayed there for years in hopes of raising $1,000,000 for the new library and never came close.

When it was publicly reported that Waste Management was "going" to pay for the new library without any taxpayer money, the fund raising became very challenging.

Many people at the time simply asked, "Why donate to something that was already paid for?" or so they were led to believe.

As is often the case with the Steligas and Falls Fest, things aren't really what they seem once the curtain is pulled back and the operations of their non-profit group are looked at a little more closely.

The Steligas jumped in with both feet to pose for pictures in the paper(s) and to make personal and non-profit promises to help fund the building drive of the new library in 2002.

2002 Pledges Revealed

Thanks to 4 major contributors and many individual contributors, the Library Building Fund Drive raised about $300,000 in 2002 toward the completion of the Municipal Facilities Fund of $42,000,000 that included the massive and opulent library.

The total amount of pledges for the Library Building Fund Drive in 2002 was $337,187.

The 4 major contributors in 2002 that completed their pledges were:

  • Menomonee Falls Rotary Club $100,000
  • Strong Funds $62,500
  • Harley Davidson $50,000
  • Medical Associates $25,000

These 4 contributors represent about 80% of the pledges that have been received to date.

As of today, $36,400 remains outstanding from the 2002 pledges including Falls Fest and the Steligas.

Steligas Pledge $16,500 in 2002 for New Library

Similar to everyone else that made a pledge for the new library in 2002, Trustee Jeff Steliga and former Village President Bob Steliga pledged at the time to commit $16,500 in personal and non-profit monies to help pay for the new library building fund drive.

Of course the Steligas grabbed the spotlight at the time with press releases and pictures in the local papers to boast of their support of the community by making this large pledge to help promote the new library through their non-profit Falls Fest organization.

A review of the most up-to-date Village Hall documents show however, that only Jeff and Bob Steliga, with the exception of one other local non-profit group whom shall remain anonymous, have not fulfilled their 2002 pledges for the library building fund drive.

The Steligas run the local 501(c) 3 Falls Fest non-profit organization that remains under a cloud of suspicion with a complaint that has been filed with the Menomonee Falls Police Chief with citizen and businessmen information that has raised ethical, legal and possibly criminal issues involving the Steligas using their position on the Village Board for questionable dealings for real estate transactions, Board votes, late payment(s) to other non-profit organization(s) and individuals for scholarships and missing check(s) from other non-profit groups in their role as directors of Falls Fest.

According to Falls Fest Federal Tax Returns on www.guidestar.org, former Village President Bob Steliga is listed as the President of Falls Fest while Trustee Jeff Steliga is listed as the Treasurer of Falls Fest.

Falls Fest lost nearly ($44,000) in operating costs in 2004-05 with annual revenues of $150,000 - $170,000 for several years after that according to the non-profit website, www.GuideStar.org, and has  shown healthy profits in operating revenues of $30,000 - $40,000 while giving back to the community a minimal amount of about $13,000 on average over the last several years.

Falls Fest has anywhere between $30,000 - $40,000 in cash on hand at anytime according to their federal tax returns.

The Steligas always boast that they give back to the community 100% of everything they make on an annual basis.

Falls Fest pledged $15,000 to the Library Building Fund Drive in 2002 and to date has made only one payment over the last 9 years with an outstanding balance of $14,000.

Jeff Steliga made a personal pledge of $1,500 to the Library Building Fund Drive in 2002 and has an outstanding balance of $400 after nine years.

Jeff Steliga was listed as a member of the Library Board according to the Village Hall Directory but rarely if ever attended Library Board Meetings over the last 10 years.

Now it is probably known why he didn't attend the Library Board meetings because he has owed $16,500 over the last 9 years to the very people he had to look at once a month at their meetings.

What do you think?

Should the Steligas fulfill their 9 year old pledge to the Library Building Fund?

Should the Library Board just wipe out the pledge?

Should the Steligas use their Falls Fest cash balance and make good on their pledge now?

As always, thanks for reading The Vanguard.

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