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May open thread [2012]

1 May 2012 Elgin Illinois 33 Comments

Under the overpass Under the overpass (Photo by The Elginite).

Monthly open thread for May 2012. Discuss what you want.

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33 Responses to “May open thread [2012]”

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  1. RS says:

    if you guys haven’t seen this already it’s a very interesting horror story


    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Rick, I found this blog to be very worth my time to read. I hope others will follow your recommendation to see the nightmare that an Elgin resident was put through by the IRS. Thanks, Chuck

  2. Harmony says:

    Has anyone notices but Cogley seems to be the one bringing up the new taxes? First the electric and natural gas usage tax last year during the “big budget crisis” now the storm water runoff tax. When was he on the ballot? I seemed to miss that. Also why in the world do we have a City Manager that can’t add and subtract? We never had a 12 M deficit?

    • Terry Gavin says:

      Cogley is only the messenger, he didn’t come up with the new utility taxes it was Mayor Kaptain with Stegall’s help. Obviously most of the top brass on staff also helped support the tax increases to reduce the need for major cuts.

      Harmony you’re absolutely right about the $12M deficit & many of us argued that point throughout the budget process. This # was thrown out there to panic the council into agreeing to these new massive tax increases & give them cover.

      Maybe what we need to do is to start a new political party here in Elgin maybe something like The Elgin Citizen Taxpayer’s Party. Maybe then we can get people to turn out & elect representative’s who will stand up against the liberal expansion of the size of city government.

      Any thoughts on starting a new non-partisan political party here in town?

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        Terry, I talked to a neighbor yesterday, and I asked if she had her new tax bill. She said, Oh yes, and Elgin is charging me less! Isn’t that wonderful? After reminding her that the added trash tax, natural gas tax, electrical tax, sales tax,,,,,,, are far more than the money saved on her property tax…….

        I then said to myself, Oh no, how many people will not put two and two together, and think the City has reduced taxes???

        Just think, Rich Dunne will be able to run under the banner of having decreased everyone’s property taxes! Could this be part of why there aren’t mobs battering down the doors of City Hall???? Sigh………. Chuck

        • Terry Gavin says:

          All I can tell you Chuck is that we on the Crook County side of town got a 22% net property tax increase last year for year 2010. Our 1st installment for this year for 2011 was 22% higher then then the 1st installment last year. Our 1st installment came out 3/1 & though our AV was down slightly the rates & levies were up. So maybe Kane Cty. is doing something different but with U-46 looking at raising their levy soon to cover at least a $20M reduction in state funding all of our property tax bills will go up soon. When you include the pension funding issue for government workers the future looks bleak.

          I also believe that most average citizens are unaware of the new utility taxes coming 7/1 & when they see those along with the trash fees kick in there will be a price to pay for those who voted for this so called deficit “crisis”. At the very least it will take strong candidates raising these issues to the voters next spring to get to the TRUTH!

  3. One Vote says:

    Cogley is smart. You stay alive in a municipal staff position by helping the city manager count to four. You keep four or more council members happy and you keep your job and you cushy pension.
    Cogley’s a master at it. He’s probably the most apolitical person I know. He simply works for the highest bidder.

  4. One Vote says:

    I got my tax bill yesterday.
    Elgin’s rate is UP.
    The bottom line is down because my assessment dropped by about $20K. That’s still a pie-in-the-sky estimate of what my house is worth on the street.
    Details to come. I’m off to work so Kaptain can spend my green on his green.

    • elginkevin says:

      But it’s what the voters want! Haven’t you been told?

      • One Vote says:

        Here are the details:
        Fair Cash Value
        Reality in our market

        Tax Rate Total Percentage

        Elgin City Rate
        1.59 plus 0.39
        1.57 plus 0.35
        1.52 plus .040

        I’m not seeing anything going down except the value of my home.
        My total taxes dropped by $265 since last year but at what cost? I’m still getting overcharged on the value of my home and the rates keep going up.

        The most frightening of all are the pension costs. We are on the hook for all the risk involved in funding the pensions. And no one is doing anything about it.

        • paul says:

          Does that put to rest the notion that Elgin was going to reduce property taxes? Elgin was going to reduce their reliance on property taxes by raising other taxes, not reduce property taxes. Give Stegall credit, he is master of government deception, deceipt and double talk. He even fools most of the council.
          Speaking of fools, can Kaptian utter a sentence without the word sustainability in it? With a ghost town of a downtown shopping district and hundreds if not thousands of vacant homes in this town the word sustainability is rather absurd.
          Speaking of downtown and fools, adding to the taxpayer implied expense of this Artspace taxpayer subsidized low-income housing project is the zero parking spaces. Who else gets to build a 56 unit apartment building without providing a single parking space? But when there is a multi-million dollar taxpayer supplied public parking deck across the street, its a city council “no brainer”.

          • Anonymous says:

            These people are supposed to be broke, they can’t afford cars! Scarcasam

        • paul says:

          What part of that do people not understand?
          ELGIN tax rates went UP in 2011.
          ELGIN tax rates went UP.

          That most people’s property taxes went down this year is due to property values declining. NOT Elgin city council lowering Elgin property taxes.
          ELGIN property tax rates went UP.
          UP as in higher. Higher as in a higher tax rate. Higher tax rate as in higher taxes per unit of value.
          Can you hear me now?

          Pure diabolical genius on Stegall’s part: To get the council to raise taxes by multi-millions and many citizens are thanking the council for lowering their taxes. Some people actually believe their water bills have gone down now that the bills come monthly instead of bi-monthly! Some people get exactly what they deserve. Then there are the rest of us.

          Not a single council memeber will take credit for lowering of your property value. Yet to a varying degree they are responsible for your declining property value.

  5. One Vote says:

    “The art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to obtain the largest possible amount of feathers with the smallest possible amount of hissing”

    Jean Baptiste Colbert (French Economist and Minister of Finance under King Louis XIV of France. 1619-1683)

    We had better start hissing.

  6. Cruex says:


    It would be a costly error for Dunne to run as something he is not and that is a friend of the taxpayer. I voted for him thinking he would bring some honor to local government and offer a challenge to Schock and Gilliam’s way of doing things. Instead we have one very scared councilman sitting on the bench. Ed Schock and Bob Gilliam were many things but being scared wasn’t one of them.

  7. Cruex says:

    I have a general question here. Maybe more philosophical than anything else. But how did we get into this situation of such poor local governance? I know Prigge cares but all of the others seem to care about everything but people. Ever since the last election Elgin is just going down hill. Is it Kaptain’s fault since he is mayor? It has been a full year now and I feel the last election brought us some very poor candidates that somehow got elected. It’s been said before that Moeller and Powell are of no value to this city. Steffen is no leader for sure. Can anyone name one way we are better off now than we were 1 year ago? Seriously.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Cruex, last fall right after the Saturday public input session on the budget (at the “Centre”), I had a brief and very unpleasant discussion with Anna Moeller. We were arguing about Sean Stegall’s pay. She insisted he is worth every penny of what he is paid because he has made the City so much better than it was. Of course, I wanted to know what was better, and I only recall her saying that the City was more open and transparent. I wanted something concrete as to how our City is better, and didn’t get it. But she was upset, and so was I.

      So, I would suggest asking the members of City Council how we are better off today than last year. If they claim we are better off because of openness and transparency, you can ask how open and transparent was it to: a)create a stacked budget task force, which the results of which were ignored by the council b)whip up a false budget crisis, in order to justify a huge tax increase c) disguise tax increases as a revenue diversification program? Chuck

    • Terry Gavin says:

      Cruex as much as it looks like everything went downhill overnite in my opinion it’s been headed that way for at least the last 12 years. Since uber-liberal Schock became Mayor & started his big spending, taxing ways we’ve reached critical mass. Just a short list of his big government projects include the “Centre”, Festival Park, the River Front plus during the mid-2000’s the throwing of millions of our tax dollars at developers to build condo’s downtown. Now we’ve got a uber-green liberal Mayor in Kaptain who’s got a different agenda but it still equals bigger government taxing & spending.

      Mayor Kaptain’s main campaign theme was openness & transparency, he’s now mentioning “fairness” in interviews,sounds like our loser President. Well I believe he’s way more open to different opinions as long as he gets his way on the vote. You see in my world it’s the council’s job to stand up to the mayor when he’s pushing an agenda that we can’t afford. Needless to say we’re currently stuck with a big government liberal majority so the downhill slide continues.

      Let’s also not forget that Councilwoman Moeller was picked by Schock to be one of his “votes” in the last election but he lost & she won. Schock had a long history of bringing in council candidates that would follow his every move so now we’ve got the mess he made to deal with. Unfortunately Kaptain is doubling down & even tripling down on growing our government even more. The only way to stop this back slide is to elect independent, strong council candidates who’ll stand up to & vote NO to this liberal agenda. The problem alas is finding enough good conservatives who can win & represent the people not the special interests!

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        Thanks Terry for the longer historical perspective. I never paid any attention (other than just casually reading the Courier) to the council until the year 2000, when my Church asked for landmark status, got it, but then the Unitied Methodist denomination threatened to SUE the City of Elgin (and our congregation/Grace United Methodist Church)if they did not rescind our landmark status. The City withdrew our landmark status, over our protest.

        So it is great to get a better/longer-term view of City politics. It shows the City hasn’t always been so bad, which should offer encouragement that it can be made more conservative.

        However, it is painfully difficult to get anyone involved in creating an uprising! Everyone is busy, and can’t be bothered, or they feel it is impossible to change the council. With that attitude, change will be impossible.

        • Terry Gavin says:

          Chuck, don’t give up hope my friend! Over the last 6 months or so I’ve received several phone calls & emails expressing outrage over what this council has been doing, & asking me if I’m going to run again. You see even though the average citizen doesn’t speak up or turn out for public demonstrations there’s a movement starting to build that well hit full steam once the new tax increases kick in!

          I’ve seen this before in 1995 when at that time an 8 year incumbent councilman named Dan Fox continued to support a Transfer Tax on people who sold their homes in Elgin & didn’t buy a another home in town. Though it seemed like a small issue affecting a few people the people were outraged at the thought. Now we’ve got a massive utility tax that effects everyone & soon the crap will hit the fan. When people realize
          they’ve been had by this council there’ll be a “uprising” that
          no amount of spin will reverse.

          So trust me when I say the public WILL rise up & throw out those who supported this nonsense. If people like you continue to fight the good fight!

  8. Cruex says:


    Thanks for sharing your experience with Moeller. The answer she gave you is so empty and so non-descript that it falls into the category of the politicalspeak that she is known for. Just what type of answer is “open and transparent” anyway? I will give her the benefit of the doubt as she cannot defend herself and we have to rely on your interpretation of what happened. You will never hear her answers to your final questions because they are too specific.

  9. Anonymous says:

    So how about Ed shock joining the ESO and handling budget and public relations. Does anyone in this city ever learn a damn thing?

    • Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

      In the Courier under the News tab if you go to the headline - David Bearden to head Elgin Symphony during transition - you will read in the article

      A statement from the orchestra said that in his first action as CEO, Bearden has retained former Elgin Mayor Ed Schock as development consultant, apparently with the assignment of increasing donations.

      To that I posted sarcastically below the article

      Maybe former Elgin Mayor Schock can get a nice donation from the Futterman Howard law firm who has the class action law suit against our own school district?

      To those new to Elgin back in 2004 a Daily Herald story from January 2004 says:

      City officials hinted that if U-46 does not reconsider its plans, Elgin could pursue other options, not excluding a lawsuit, to stop the school closing and boundary changes.

      “We’re going to go at this from every possible front. It’s that important,” Schock said.

      At that time if he did his homework regarding Futterman Howard, Mayor Schock would know a similar lawsuit in Rockford cost taxpayers there $258 million, $30 million alone going to lawyers.

      I sent a letter to the local paper stating why considering suing our OWN school district was not the thing to do. Mayor Schock’s letter regarding his reasoning was right above mine.

      Mayor Schock lost his informal majority so the proposal was tabled and a group of parents hired Futterman Howard. To date our own school district has about 10 million dollars of costs to fight this ridiculous lawsuit.

      So Futterman probably has enough money to fund the entire Elgin Symphony Orchestra.

      As a side note, all of the informal majority councilman and women never were reelected again despite having a total of some 20 plus years served on the council and all running again. Every chance I got in election articles I reminded voters of their informal majority regarding this U46 issue.

      The day after Mayor Schock lost his bid for a third term as mayor http://www.bocajump.com told me I could never post on their web site again. Their web site was getting some income from the city for services rendered.

  10. b4real says:

    The city has an new mantra its “If we bill them they will pay”. We were billed 8 million dollars for a tax increase in a recession, that was manufactured and delivered as dire straits or the sky is falling then oops my bad we just pencil whipped you ha ha we’ll keep the money and spend it on things we think you need. The next two elections will determine the future of Elgin and the direction were headed. We need to get back to the basics. The mantra should be “Elgin Proud its my Hometown” This can be done if we take care of the basics, lower taxes, cut spending, reduce overtime excess, let the free market work, stop picking winners and losers etc,etc,etc.

    • Terry Gavin says:

      Very well stated b4real! This Mayor & council,with the exception of Prigge, has adopted the Presidents “crony” capitalism as it’s policy for governance.

      Much like the last Mayor Schock these guys & gals feel they know better how to spend our money then we know how to spend our own. This is the height of arrogance & is the curse of liberal politicians on We the People.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Remove the giant illegal population destroying the city’s economy*

  12. Cruex says:

    I watched the city meeting last night and saw $250,000 doled out to social services without one comment from the 5 liberals about the people who are suffering in this city the most, the middle class. I have never seen 5 more arrogant and out of touch politicians than Steffen, Kaptain, Moeller, Powell and Dunne. This is the worst city council since the boat came to Elgin.

    • Terry Gavin says:

      Let’s face it people of Elgin we’ve got an extremist radical city council. We’ve got a Mayor who has raised our taxes the highest in city history, a council person who’s accused our Police Dept. of racism without providing ANY proof & an expansion of the size of city government during the absolute worst economy since the Great Depression!

      There’s ONLY one way to fix this problem & that’s to vote in people next April who’ll do the right thing for the taxpayers/citizen’s & just say NO to more government.

  13. Chuck Keysor says:

    Terry, as you well know, but others may not, there is more wrong with this council than just their politics and their liberal/social/green agenda. They also can be petty if not mean about the wrong things, while having no concern for things that should bother them.

    I have seen people come to the council with some pretty serious charges and demands and the Mayor and Council will just sit there and take it. Yet when I spoke to the council on February 22nd to provide facts that since the Chamber of Commerce and the DNA joined with the City to do “economic development”, that according to InfoUSA, Elgin has LOST 224 businesses, the Mayor chose to jump on me (verbally) and demand figures for other cities.

    And the mayor has told people I trust, that I do not tell the truth, when I have FOIA’d documents that show I am telling the truth. I have provided FOIA’d documents to other members of the council, that show I was telling the truth (that the Chamber of Commerce purchased the list of Elgin Businesses from InfoUSA, and that there were over 150 members of the Chamber with businesses in Elgin that were not on any of the City’s list of businesses, including Elgin Sweeper. I am digressing…..)

    But the fact that the City can choose to be upset with me for trying to provide a voice of reasonable concern shows there is more wrong than the Council’s desire to tax and spend in order to carry out their liberal/social/green agenda. Chuck

    • Anonymous says:

      While I will not attempt to defend the city council it is important to remember that there are some ground rules about public comments at the meetings. It is seldom a good idea to engage in a dialog with a presenter, the most important reason being that one individual cannot speak for the city council. That takes some preparation.
      The best the mayor can do is to direct someone on staff to gather info from the presenter, investigate and report to the council.
      But I’ve rarely seen them do that.
      There was a time when the papers would pick up on an item from a public comment and encourage the city to comment about it.
      Those days are gone because:
      1) Readership sucks and they have less clout now.
      2) The media likes the lib agenda and won’t pull back the covers.
      Still, you deserve an answer from the city. And taking public shots at you is bad form to say the least.

  14. Terry Gavin says:

    As usual Chuck all well stated & truthful! What this shows is the arrogance that comes from people who’ve got an elitist opinion of themselves, aka “liberals”. Of course they think they know best how we should live & how to spend our money. Like many politician’s these council people forget they work for us & we need to fire them when they forget that fact…

  15. Jules says:

    I’m liberal, but agree with closely following how the city wants to spend money. For instance, I think that hiring a South Carolina consulting firm to do a salary survey for $40K may not be money well spent. http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20120521/news/705219621/

    I also disagreed with funding the dog park in Hoffman Estates - I’m selfish and think that my neighborhood kids should have more places to run and play before Hoffman Estates’ dogs.

    Calling people names is unneighborly.

  16. Harmony says:

    Well, I see our “boy wonder” of a City Manager today stated”$652,000 surplus in Elgin’s 2011 general fund does not mean there’s extra money.” Well then Mr. Stegall what is it? “Stegall fuzzy money?” Just like your “fuzzy math” last December? I think it is time you and your Chief Financial Officer resign, it is quite obvious that you both are very incompetent. I agree that it is high time Elgin goes for a strong mayor/council form of government. I can’t wait to find out how much over the norm we are paying you and that great management team of yours. While you continued to lay off the foot solders that really run this City.