Road trip to Chatham

By:  Diane Benjamin

I’ve been hearing about water problems in Chatham Illinois for months.  Last night I attended their Council meeting with the Edgar County Watchdogs.

Chatham has a population around 12,000 people.  Their water used to be supplied from Springfield, but a few years ago the Council changed the source.  Many citizens spoke about the water quality stating things like health issues, corrosion of pipes, and the total lack of action or care by the Mayor and the Council.

Public Comment went on for over an hour.  Nobody had to sign up to speak.  Citizens spoke from their seats, some came to the front and looked the Council in the eye.  Outrage is an understatement!

The Mayor of Chatham is the President of the Illinois Municipal League!

imlchatamI’ve written numerous stories about the IML before, here’s one:

This water project has all the hallmarks of an IML project, grow government and screw the citizens.  If any town needs a federal investigation, it’s Chatham.

The details of their problems aren’t important, the reason for this story is the response from citizens.  The room was packed with outraged taxpayers.  At one point a speaker asked the crowd to raise their hand if they have No Confidence in their government.  The entire room did.  The crowd applauded many speakers.  Comments from the crowd were made without being recognized by the mayor.  Members of the Council did respond to some comments – which is against their policy.  They had no defense for their inaction.  The citizens want the current contract broken and water from Springfield again.  They have more than enough valid reasons to demand it.

The Mayor was completely red-faced as person after person threw verbal flaming arrows at him.  I did take some video, YouTube will have it available around 10:30:

I wanted to edit it, but it has too many great parts – I didn’t want to cut any of them.  I filmed Kirk Allen, one of the Edgar County Watchdogs.  Yes, that’s a microphone hooked to his belt.

The video shows a guy filming and another guy holding a boom mic.  The Mayor and Council might slither away when they find out who was filming!

One more note:  Jeff Jurgens is also their corporate council.  He was at the meeting.  Between Bloomington and Chatham, he has lots of job security.



One thought on “Road trip to Chatham

  1. Potable water IS the #1 natural resource on the planet! This DOES bring up an interesting point-REMEMBER years back when Bloomington had a drought and Lake Bloomington was low and someone filled their pool-drawing public criticism? WHAT will it take before that happens AGAIN? Oh wait, we now use LESS water now that Mitsubishi is closed.


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