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June open thread [2012]

2 June 2012 Elgin Illinois 62 Comments

Shrubbery and something covered Shrubbery and something covered (Photo by The Elginite).

Monthly open thread for June. Discuss what you want.

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62 Responses to “June open thread [2012]”

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  1. One Vote says:

    News from the front: Walker wins the Battle of Madison, skirmish #2.
    I hope the message sinks in at Dexter Court. We can’t afford our government. Even Rahm Emanuel understands it.

  2. Bill says:

    I live next door to a house the city paid $30k per unit to deco vert. There are now three families in there. I have called the code enforcement on them several times to no avail. I witness them stealing shopping carts for scrap and have reported it. Let’s hope it stops. The kids regularly take axes to the grand old 100 year old oak tree for fun which means it will probably become diseased and die. I am all for someone coming here to make a better life but they should have respect for the mores and values of the place they come to. Makes me want to move.

    • One Vote says:

      I asked the city three years ago to study the lasting value of the deconversion program. Did it really fix the parking problem? Did they remain single-unit homes? Are the original families still living in them? Did it stabilize property values?
      Of course, they never did the study. I thought the urban planning students at NIU could to the study and it wouldn’t cost the city much.
      That led me to believe that the libs can’t handle the truth.

    • Grimm says:

      Bill, Contact Councilman John Prigge and speak to him about this, also contact Anna, the Mayors secretary, and make a Wednesday appt. to see Dave Kaptain! If you wish, you may also go into a Council meeting on a Wednesday night and sign up to speak, the Director of Code will probably be there.

  3. Chuck Keysor says:

    Back to the Wisconsin issue, I heard Gov. Quinn on the radio this morning, dismissing any such related reform moves in Illinois, because “Illinois is Illinois, and Wisconsin is Wisconsin.” Of course he also gave us our huge income tax hike, so he clearly is not out to help the poor and oppressed masses of taxpayers. Chuck

  4. RS says:

    lol

    http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/06/07/cops-shoot-dog-after-one-attacks-elgin-firefighter-2-charge-firehouse/

    What started out as some nice time outside on a nice day on Wednesday resulted in Elgin firefighters being barricaded in their fire station because of a couple of vicious dogs.

    WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports Elgin Fire Capt. Tony Bialek was on the back patio of an Elgin’s fire station at 3270 Longcommon Parkway, eating his lunch, and talking on his cell phone with his wife, when a 90-pound female pit bull came at him….

    Then, another larger dog – a 130-pound Presa Canario mix – joined in, and the two dogs kept firefighters from going outside, bouncing against the firehouse door glass, trying to break it.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The parking and overcrowding problem will never be solved until the illegal immigrant problem is addressed. So never…..in other news a man was shot tonight by a passing car while out walking his dog.

    Looks like it’s time to follow the rest of the tax payers and get the hell out of this city.

  6. ms says:

    Oh my! The owner received a ticket. The owner of those 2 dogs should have been pulled from his house and kneed in the groin. Period. I hate irresponsible dog owners with aggressive breeds.

  7. Terry Gavin says:

    Well citizens of Elgin it’s now official the City of Elgin not only doesn’t have a deficit we actually have a surplus!

    “The media sought clarification on how budget adjustments relate to the year-end financial results. Chief Financial Officer Lavery explained that the budget adjustments must be differentiated from the audited, year-end financial results reported in the CAFR.

    The city’s budget is an estimated spending plan. Throughout the year these estimates are adjusted and at the end of the year, compiled and submitted to the city council. These alterations should be thought of changes made to estimates, not as exact accounting figures.

    The media questioned why Ms. Lavery’s memo indicated that the city received nearly $3 million in additional revenue. Ms. Lavery explained that the increased revenue was from additional grant funds, an overdue property tax payment from Cook County, developer contributions and increased sales tax receipts.

    However, this revenue should not thought as a “surplus.” It was used for specific purposes (such as the city’s COPS grant) and put towards unanticipated costs such as the blizzard, rising fuel costs and most notably a 46 percent increase in workers compensation claims. This unanticipated revenue was fortunately available.

    The unanticipated revenue in 2011 was of a kind that cannot be relied on in the future and should not be thought of as a recurring substitute for new revenue sources.

    Based on the city’s audited financial statements (CAFR), Elgin finished FY 2011 with $652,000 surplus.”

    Some much for the “bogus” deficit that allowed the majority of the city council to pass the largest tax increase in our history & layoff or “retire” 20 or so people. The council needs to repeal the new energy taxes NOW!

    • One Vote says:

      [snark on] C’mon Terry, they were only off by about $13 million. It was an honest mistake. [snark off]
      Those opportunist klowns should be run out of town on a rail.

  8. b4real says:

    The inmates are running the acityum, The current form of city government with a go along council is not conducive to responsive governance, they have no fear of reprisal for either misleading, inaccurate, self serving information they provide the council and citizens, cya is top priority. We need a strong mayor form of council or a strong council that is willing to make changes and hold staff accountable, or be voted out as a group. What is it that allows you to be that far off on financial projections, raise taxes and fees, have a surplus,keep the money,and all is well?

  9. Chuck Keysor says:

    Since we are talking about deficit projections, I thought I would share an email that I sent to a local reporter a few minutes ago. Chuck

    Hello XXXXX, doesn’t it bother you that the City is massively re-engineering our tax structure based upon such obviously weak 5 year projections? We have the 2011 budget as an objective fact that the City can NOT make reliable projections, even in the short term. And we have as an objective FACT, that the city’s own projections of the deficit changed radically in the closing months of 2011. Following are explanations of these points:

    Fact: From February of 2012 until June of 2012 the City’s bottom line for LAST YEAR/2011 changed over $600,000.

    Fact: At the council retreat of June of 2011, City Staff told the council that the deficit for 2011 would be $1.75 million. But when the audited results for 2011 were completed in June of 2012, it showed that the City’s budget estimate in an exactly one year period was in error by more than $2.3 million.

    Fact: The 5 year structural deficit PROJECTION was $4.9million in June 2011. It was raised to $8.8million in September 2011. It jumped to between $10million and $13million in October 2011. Every time the City changed their estimate, they effectively admitted that their previous estimate was wrong. If they admitted their previous estimate was wrong two times in a row, and then made the last estimate have a $3million swing factor, how can these numbers be credible in any way, to any rational person?

    How on earth could any right-minded person who has the serious prospect of having their taxes hiked, trust 5 year budget projections that FACTS show are unstable? How can any thinking taxpayer trust 5 year projections, when it is a FACT that the City has proven it can’t even make an accurate 1 year deficit projection?

    To take wildly speculative and unstable numbers, and build massive REAL tax increases including garbage taxes, utility taxes, sales taxes, etc, is terrible governance.

    Fact: Elgin’s population is over-whelmingly poor, and paying massive new tax increases is a HARDSHIP. I know you are financially stressed. And I have been unemployed/pinching every penny, for almost 6 years!

    In your email you said that I: “ignore the fact that when all is said and done, the taxes raised will be wholly offset by the property tax cuts that will be in place in 2014 under the city’s financial plan.” That is an OPINION. I cited FACTS. It is NOT a fact that the tax increases will be offset by decreases in the property taxes. That is a promise which YOU choose to believe. I do not believe it.

    FACT: The City raised taxes in 2012 by about $9.89million, but they only lowered property taxes by $1million. If the first year out of the chute Staff and Council make a net tax increase of about $8.89million. It is a FACT that the Staff and Council did NOT balance out tax increases and tax cuts this year. It wasn’t even CLOSE! Why would anyone believe they would suddenly change this in the outgoing years?

    FACTS are on my side, and they are NOT on yours. Cite facts, and not vague promises by City Staff. (Didn’t City staff promise the council in January that they would begin prosecution of business license scoff laws in the next week? And then didn’t they promise in February to begin prosecution in March, and have all adjudication dates set by the end of May? Didn’t Sean promise Prigge on May 23rd that he would put the Business License on the June 13th agenda? All of these promises by staff were broken. If you wonder why I am suddenly talking about the business license, it is because in one of Jesus’ parables, he taught that he who can not be trusted in small matters, can not be trusted in large matters. I see that as applying here very clearly.)

    I will proclaim these FACTS as energetically as I can through the April 2013 election cycle. I hope that you will start to identify the facts in your articles, and identifying your opinions as being opinions.

    Thanks, Chuck

  10. Grimm says:

    Terry, thanks for speaking at the council meeting, you came across less opinionated, i think more ears listened! Chuck good timely facts! What happens now if they get quiet, with no action or change on the July TAX. I’m not talking the next election, what can be done now! A meeting at the legion open to the public, newspapers present?

    • Terry Gavin says:

      Grimm you’re most welcome. Hopefully the council members listened but alas outside of Councilman Prigge I fear the rest are deaf to what the citizen’s want.

      Unfortunately in my view the only recourse we’ve got is really the next election followed by the one after which will include a race for the Mayor’s office. Elections have consequences.

      The party line on this coming out of city hall is still that over the next 4 years our property taxes will be reduced by the same amount as the new utility taxes. In fact the city manager just gave an interview to Boca Jump promoting that promise. Of course I never believed the council or staff when they made this promise during last years budget hearings & I still don’t believe them.

      In my humble opinion the two biggest issue for next years election will be the repeal of the utility tax & the business license!

      • RS says:

        Well there’s also that “$4.4M” dam they want to build. I can’t believe there’s anybody that thinks that’s a good idea…

        • One Vote says:

          It sounds like Kaptain’s green energy hydroelectric idea.
          Another example of the power of pillow talk.

          • Terry Gavin says:

            Yes of course, RS if Mayor Kaptain pushes the hydro- electric dam that will be another issue to run on. It’s my understanding that estimates on cost recovery for the dam are like 20-30 years out. Only a died in the wool hard core greenie would think that’s a good investment of our tax payer dollars. Of course O V it’s another example of
            “pillow talk”.

            The next city election will be a referendum on Mayor Kaptain & the job he’s done over his 1st 2 years.

            I recently asked for a meeting with him & he doesn’t seem to be interested. Of course I only supported him in his last 2 elections but he’d rather take advice from people who voted & supported Schock in the last election, like Gilliam.

  11. Terry Gavin says:

    On Wednesday June 13 I spoke at the Elgin City Council & reminded the council members that as a former councilman myself that the most important duty they’ve been given is to protect the public trust. Why I made this statement is that on Monday June 10 the city released the final audited budget figures for fiscal year 2011. That report states that the city actually ended the year with over $650,000 in surplus funds over expenditures.

    This final report dismisses the claims the citizens of Elgin had heard starting last August coming out of city hall & the Mayor’s office of a multi-million dollar budget deficit looming on the horizon. First it was reported that the city anticipated a 4 million dollar structural deficit, two months later the estimate was raised to eight million then shortly there after it reached twelve million dollars. During this time a Budget Task Force was set up to address the coming crisis. Several concerned citizens including myself attended most all of the meetings & tried to warn them that the estimates may well be wrong.

    Next the Task Force handed their recommendations to the city council for budget hearings. Nowhere in those recommendations was there any mention of massive tax increases and/or service cuts to solve the perceived crisis. Yet quickly the city council with staff input started crafting drastic scenarios that went from extreme cuts, extreme tax increases & finally a so called balanced approach with cuts as well as tax increases. The balanced approach was finally chosen which included several new taxes, increased fees & lay-offs. Of the new taxes which are the most onerous is a city tax on energy or a utility tax on both natural gas & electricity. These two new taxes alone are estimated to raise ten million dollars or more per year. That tax is assessed against everybody living in Elgin including church’s,charitable organizations, businesses & other governmental units. This tax will remove an estimated forty million dollars over the next four years out of the local private sector economy to increase the size of the city’s government during the worst recession since the Great Depression. This energy tax was designed to cover the multi-million dollar deficit which is exaggerated.

    Admittedly the Elgin budget is extremely complex & having worked on four of them I understand this fact, but whether by intent or not the citizen’s of Elgin were mislead as to the state of their city’s finances. If the members of the city council who voted for this energy tax refuse to repeal this then maybe they should be replaced by those who will repeal it. Elgin doesn’t have a revenue problem it has a spending problem.

  12. Chuck Keysor says:

    You are welcome Grimm. As to what should be done at this time, I know this is the right time to be planning for the April 2013 election. The Elgin OCTAVE is already doing this.

    A key thing to do now is to stir the issue of how as a FACT that the City’s budget for 2012 shows that new taxes and fees add up to $9,887,000 while the property tax collections were decreased by only $1,000,000.

    The FACT is the City did not set up a simple rebalancing of their income streams. They made it harder for people to track how they are being ripped off by “diversifying” the City’s revenue sources, with the obvious benefit to City Hall that the Citizens are less likely to rise up in arms if they are not aware of how they are being robbed. And IF the Citizens do realize that they are suddenly paying a lot more than they were in taxes last year, they can be duped into believing that the City will re-balance things in the future.

    To see the annotated 2012 budget, look at the “FOIA’d Docs” page of the Elgin OCTAVE website. The budget info is in the document called “A breakdown of Elgin’s 2011 overstated budget shortfall….”

    On May 9th, I presented that document to City Council and Staff, with a request that they point out any errors or omissions that have been made. I made a speech to the Council on May 9th, so you can view it if you want. I was making a sincere request, and not grand-standing. But I never got a reply.

    A reporter told me City Staff would not reply to my request until after the 2011 finaces had been audited. Of course, that was a lame excuse. I asked the City to review my notes on the 2012 BUDGET, not the financials for 2011. Maybe they will wait until June of 2013 to answer my questions, so that they will have the audited results for 2012 in hand! (Is this when I should type “Snark”?)

    Chuck

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Here is the breakdown of new taxes and fees for 2012 which is what I asked the City to review:

      Garbage Tax = $4,687,000
      Electric Tax = $2,000,000
      Natural Gas Tax = $1,000,000
      Alcoholic Beverage Tax = $ 500,000
      Sales Tax = $1,700,000
      ————————————————
      Total New Taxes = $9,887,000
      Minus Decreased Property tax: $1,000,000
      —————
      Net tax increase for 2012 = $8,887,000

      These figures are FACTS, taken straight from the figures the City supplied to the bond rating agencies.

      NOTE, I have NOT added the leaf rake out fee/tax, as I haven’t found its total. I think it is around $400,000 Maybe THAT is why the City Staff hasn’t corrected my figures, because I am too low!!!!

      As for me, I find what I call the “Garbage Tax” to be the nastiest of all. It is the biggest by far, it is year round, and it hits you in the face every month with a very obvious bill.

      The utility taxes are buried in with all kinds of other things in the gas and electric bills, so they don’t stand out. And the City will claim that because of “aggregation” that your electric bill will go down, more than enough to off-set the tax. But I read on-line that Com Ed is upset over the losses they are experiencing because of aggregation, so they have asked for a compensating rate increase!

      To Grimm, and anyone else who doesn’t like the rip-off new “unbalanced” taxes, they should speak to City Council and complain. The council has heard very little anger over these new taxes. Of course, it is easy to HOPE that people will be angry come next election. But anger is contagious. How will people spread the anger if they sit at home, and don’t speak out to the council? Remember, when you speak to the council, you aren’t just speaking to the council, but to the papers, and to everyone who watches the council sessions at home. And I’ll bet the vast majority of home viewers are active voters. Speak out! Now!!! Remaining quite increases the chances that those who voted for these new taxes will escape without loosing their council seats! Chuck

  13. Chuck Keysor says:

    Terry, thanks for your excellent post, letter to the editor and speech to the council.

    I have one quibble,,,,,,,,,, and that is the word balanced should be in quotes. The “balanced” approach to raising taxes and fees, was only balanced because City Hall said it was “balanced”. Though you did call it the “so called” balanced approach at first.

    That simple yet deceptive marketing technique of City Staff labeling this massive tax increase as “balanced” was just another cynically inspired display of disrespect for the intellegence of the taxpayer.

    Maybe we should ask the citizens if they want a left-wing big government tax and tax more council, or if they want a “balanced” council that will pledge to repeal all the new tax increases and fire everyone on City Staff involved in aiding and abetting the liberal council in their misrepresentation of the massive new tax increases. Of course EVERYONE will want a “balanced” council! (Snark??? Maybe City Staff should learn to use “snark”, then they would have called the big tax increases the “balanced snark approach”.)

    Chuck

    • Terry Gavin says:

      Lmao Chuck, I agree with your point 100%. In government speak
      “balanced” to this council/staff means small cuts & BIG taxes. So I accept you suggestion wholeheartedly, no snark.

  14. Cruex says:

    RS-

    I assume you are serious? Tell me who of our 6 Liberal friends on the council will vote no to anything GREEN? It’s the Liberal agenda, don’t you know. You better prepare yourself for a 5 to 1 vote if it is brought up this year. Gilliam will be home in Arizona on the night of the vote of course.

  15. Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

    What does anyone have to say regarding the bond rating agencies opinions regarding the recent diversification of taxes in Elgin as reported at bocajump?

    http://elgin.bocajump.com/Articles/elgin-tax-fee-changes-win-thumbs-up-from-bond-rating-agencies

    Elgin tax, fee changes win thumbs-up from bond-rating agencies

    By Ted Schnell • BocaJump | Saturday, June 16, 2012

    • Terry Gavin says:

      CSCH my response is simple, the bond rating agencies are solely interested in their own well being not the financial well being of the citizen’s/taxpayers of Elgin. Of course they’re also interested in preserving their status as a rating agency that is a reliable measuring stick for investors who buy muncipal bonds.

      With the city retaining their good rating, which has been the same for at least 15 years, the council/staff can go out & spend large amounts of money for capital projects. While it’s good news that our ratings are unchanged it’s what will our Mayor & council do with our credit card. The way this council has been tossing money around lately it wouldn’t surprise me in the least that we’ll see even more massive spending programs coming down the pike. Like the hydroelectric dam for instance.

      What the council’s main function should be focused on is the welfare
      of it’s citizens not on how cheap they can borrow money at on the bond market. Take for instance the new electric tax that is a “progressive” tax designed to punish those companies, governmental units like U-46 that use large amonts of kwh’s. Does this not mean that those groups will either cut back on other expenses to cover the higher tax, less jobs, or in the case of the school district just raise their tax burden on us?

      What the bond rating agencies can’t tell us is how these new massive tax increases will impact our local economy. Will U-46 simply step in & raise their tax levy to off set the city’s reduction on properties? Those are my questions.

      • One Vote says:

        Well said, Terry. French political economist Frederic Bastiat wrote an essay 160+ years ago called “The seen and the unseen.” He suggests that we not only look at government spending but look at the impact of that same money under different scenarios. Once government goes beyond their core functions, their spending becomes subjective in terms of value. Is it better to have the government spread the wealth around, or let the market do it? And who is the arbiter of what is fair?
        Clearly, the city would rather take an extra $13.25 a month from me (water bill trash fee) so they can pay people too much with too rich a benefit package to do things I don’t need them to do.
        To make matters worse they pretend this new fee has something to do with garbage pick-up. It was just a shell game.
        The idea that our bond rating is good, but the larger question is far more fundamental.
        People with an understanding of this matter were kept off the budget task force.

        • Terry Gavin says:

          I’ve also read some of Bastait’s writings & he was on of the first to write that a free republic is doomed when the “takers” those who receive govt. handouts out number the “givers” those who pay into the govt. His reasoning was that once the “takers” realize they can vote themselves more free things from the “givers” your freedom gone!

          I’d say we’re darn near that point now at the Federal level & the same strategy is alive & well here in Elgin.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            Terry, the numbers that float around these days, and I heard this again today on the Don Wade and Roma/WLS radio show, is that 49% of all Americans pay NO Federal taxes, and that 51% of all Americans get regular payments from the Federal government. Chuck

    • RS says:

      Obviously any time you are increasing revenue (taxes) your credit rating will improve.

      Your rating can also improve if you cut expenses, but most government bodies will opt to protect the unions, the salaries ($160,000 police and firemen in Elgin), pensions, pet projects and instead raise taxes.

      To treat the raising of taxes as some kind of achievement is pretty silly. In other words, exactly the kind of story we expect from a news outlet that is subsidized by city hall.

  16. Chuck Keysor says:

    OK, I just read the Boca story on the bond-rating agencies report. They provide further VALIDATION that the City of Elgin is RIPPING US OFF! Here are two quote from Ted Schnell’s article:

    Quote one: “For fiscal 2012, we understand management is on target with its budgeted $7 million general fund surplus (not including the gambling-related funds).”

    Comment: OK, Fitch and Moody approve the City creating a $7million surplus, THE TAXPAYERS of ELGIN DO NOT approve of a $7million surplus! WE VOTE, and we are mad as $%&***@!

    Quote two: “Further, Fitch wrote, “The city has budgeted for substantial further declines in property tax revenues going forward with the tax rate planned to go down over 20 percent by 2014.”

    Comment: OK everybody, did you know that a 20% decrease in our property tax for the base line year 2011 budget is $6.6million?

    Kaptain, Gilliam, Steffen, Dunne, Moeller and Powell hosed us with a NET tax increase in 2012 of about $9million! And in 2013, when the new taxes will be in place for the full year, the net tax increase is over $12million!

    So Moody and S & P approve of a paltry $6.6million reduction in our property taxes when our other new taxes will go up over $12million. And they approve of Elgin creating a $7million surplus of money TAKEN from the taxpayers of Elgin.

    Tell all your voting friends that we are being robbed and that Kaptain, Gilliam, Steffen, Moeller and Powell are directly responsible 100%. Elections are next April!

    Chuck

  17. Chuck Keysor says:

    OOOPS, I hit send too soon! I meant for the last line to be:

    Tell all your voting friends that the bond rating agencies Fitch and Moody PROVE that we are being robbed! And remember that Kaptain, Gilliam, Steffen, Moeller and Powell are directly responsible 100% for our being robbed. Elections are next April!

    Chuck

  18. Cruex says:

    9 more days left before Elgin starts their 3% gas and electricity taxes. Thank you for unifying the community, mayor Kaptain, council people Steffen, Dunne, Moeller, Powell and Gilliam! You really know how to hurt a family.

  19. Chuck Keysor says:

    Have I poisoned the well? Where is the outrage? Where are the comments? Does everyone like the new taxes and fees? Chuck

    • paul says:

      What should I do, Chuck?
      Kaptain was at the concert in Wing Park yesterday. Should I have loudly publicly berated him as the bum he truly is? Everyone else was clapping for him even though he is responsible for every Elginite being poorer. Kaptain sandwiched between 2 colored guard, I thought would be appropriate only if he were wearing leg-irons.

      I could say I’m outraged everytime I go to the new Walmart but I never go there. That Kaptain is directly responsible for making that Walmart into a miserable shopping experience as he could possibly make it by forcing them to reduce the size (footprint) of the building for idiotic enviromental reasons, he won, the citizens lost.

      Where is the outrage indeed. Apparently I’m the only citizen in Elgin who is outraged at the multi-million dollars taxpayer expenditures to bring low income (private) housing to downtown Elgin while you guys nickle and dime about the 4th of July. They need multi-million dollar tax increases to fund multi-million dollar projects JUST LIKE TAHT ONE.
      Let the tumbleweeds roll.

  20. Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

    Chuck,

    I don’t like paying more money to the city especially since as a law abiding citizen who is low maintenance I don’t think I am that costly to the city.

    Not voting for the council members who instituted those taxes and fees in the corresponding elections is our outrage we can show.

    What concerns me is I think that survey of pay scales the city I believe is working on is setting the stage to give some non union workers at city hall a pay raise before the next election.

    I am also concerned that the class action lawsuit against U46 has cost us taxpayers around 9 million dollars.

    I wish Mayor Schock’s informal majority of himself, Councilman Walters, Councilman Figeroua, and Councilwoman Rodgers at the time in 2004 would have never even considered possibly hiring the Futterman Law Firm at a cost of $39,000. They tabled the vote when they lost Walters as a vote but WHO in their right mind who has access to the internet and can google what Futterman did to the Rockford school district in a similar law suit would even have whispered Futterman? Futterman cost Rockford 250 million before it was all said and done.

    Whoever is elected to the next council is going to need common sense to help the council put out sparks of litigation talk before they take hold with the council or spread to neighboring parents groups that took up the council’s FOOLISH LITIGATION TALK and now 9 million of taxpayer money is making the lawyers that much richer with still no end in sight.

    I would have to imagine by having this lawsuit it is affecting the value of our real estate and the ability of anyone who is trying to sell. It must be harder for real estate agents in Elgin to move Elgin real estate.

    Common Sense Clarence Hayward

  21. ms says:

    Hey, look on the bright side, a new Portillos is coming to Randall and Bowes Rd! Yippee Kai aayy….

  22. ms says:

    from Councilman John Priggie’s facebook page about Portillios

    THE RUMOURS ARE TRUE: The Planning & Zoning Commission will conduct a public hearing for a Portillo’s restaurant on July 2. Upon approval, the proposed restaurant at the southwest corner of Randall and Bowes Roads (Walmart outlots) would be routed to city council for consideration on July 11 and final approval on July 25. Portillo’s would like to break ground on the restaurant in the first part of August and be open toward the middle to end of January 2013.

  23. Terry Gavin says:

    Chuck keep the faith the cavalary is on it’s way! There should be several candidates ready to run in the next cycle who will fight the Kaptain agenda “tooth & nail”. We can also expect Kaptianbots who support him 100% running too. The key will be voter turnout & identifing the Kaptainbots,the rest will be history.

    Also remember the old Revolutionary call of “keep your powder dry” when it comes to this battle because it WILL be a battle indeed…

    We’ve got a long road to travel & first we must heal our nation by throwing out the “phony” in the WH & then we can focus on the “phonies” on the council!

  24. Cruex says:

    Terry, Chuck and anyone else-

    So where did we the voters go wrong? Was it the last election or the election before or both? Did we make a mistake in voting Schock and Warren out? I think Kaptain made a mistake running for mayor not because he became mayor but because his seat on the council was made available. Today, we have 4 new people on the city council since 2009. Are they to blame for this mess in government?

    • Terry Gavin says:

      Great questions Cruex. Voters are not wrong the candidates are, low turnout is a sypmtom of what the voters think of the candidates. The last election a Mayoral one at that was only 14% turnout. Schock & Warren were not the solution, actually Schock was part of the problem he had 12 years of dominance & spent us into the so called “crisis” Kaptain used to raise our taxes through the roof. Though Schock would of been glad to raise our taxes as well rather then cut spending, remember the telecommunications tax he pushed through in the mid 2000’s? Kaptain was better as a councilman because he caused less problems for us the taxpayers but Schock had to go. The 4 new people are not to blame since this mess we’ve got goes back at least 12-13 years & no better candidates ran & some candidates said one thing & then got in & did another.

      The answer in my opinion is a couple true conservative candidates with courage to do the right thing along with a motivated/angry electorate who are informed about the candidates. Groups like Elgin OCTAVE vetting the candidates & weeding out the phonies!

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Cruex, you are of course asking important, and difficult questions. Addressing your first question, it is important to examine the past council elections, in an effort to avoid similar results in the future.

      One problem with the 2011 election cycle was that there wasn’t any developed theme of issues to be focused on with the exception of Kaptain’s Openness and the equally vague Transparency concepts. The subjects explored in forums and in the press, were responses and reactions to what had most recently been issues in the City of Elgin.

      So there was a lot of discussion about the round-a-bout, the cobblestone ROPE house (302 W. Chicago Street that the City purchased for pre-recession prices in the middle of the recession), and a little discussion about turning Route 20 into a tree-lined boulevard. The Elginite did have good interviews with the candidates.

      But as I observed the forums and the press, there seemed to be no effort to actually get to the core essence of each candidate’s core philosophy. While the voters seem to be able to detect who is stable, reliable and competent, they are not as well able to detect if someone is liberal, conservative, big government, small government, tax/spend or lower taxes/cut non-core. This situation exists, because no one is talking about those issues in the press or at candidate forums. And the candidates are not disclosing those aspects, possibly out of shrewdness as any position in one area may cost votes or simply because no one even brings it up.

      To some extent, candidates in the past have dodged the exploration of individual political philosophies by saying council elections are non-partisan elections. IE, the candidates don’t run on their Democratic, Republican or Green Party affiliations. But that is an inaccurate deflection of the issue, as these party brands do not assure positions on big government, small government, tax/spend or lower taxes/cut non-core.

      While this next election cycle will no doubt have plenty of issues that are responses to recent events, most significantly giant tax increases, the false premise that massive tax hikes are required to offset deficits that 2011 figures showed to be false, and the false suggestion that new taxes and fees would be offset by reductions in property taxes (the City’s 2012 BUDGET shows cutting property taxes $1million, and raising other taxes and fees by about $10million so the idea of revenue neutral tax changes is PROVEN by the actual budget, to be FALSE), the NEW effort that needs to be made, is to WORK to discover each candidate’s core political philoshophy.

      IF a voter wants to have a big tax and spend council member, how can they get that IF no one is identified as such? If someone wants a small government/low tax councilman, how can they get that if that aspect of each candidate’s political DNA has not been explored? It becomes a matter of chance what we get in these key matters when we operate the way we have.

      Would the last election turned out any differently had philosphies been explored? That is hard to say.

      John Steffen for example had a record to run on, and he is a rare example of a candidate that has a well known political philoshophical profile. And he has a track record on many areas concerning responsiveness and professionalism that bridge ideological considerations. And he was the top vote getter. I can’t see any thing in the way the election was handled that would have affected Steffen’s results.

      But what about Moeller and Powell? Their situations were the exact opposite of Steffen’s. I do not believe that anyone really knew what they would get. And most people I talk to, seem to express surprise at what they actually got. Good or bad, there shouldn’t be surprise in the results our elected officials produce once in office.

      So the thinking and planning now, has to be directed to the elimination of the surprise factor. The hope is that if people want small government/low tax councilmembers, they should be able to reliably elect them.

      If that is possible is another matter, as a number of people have suggested to me that there is something new councilmembers drink when sworn in, that makes them fall in line, and want to play along to get along, vote with the majority. If that is the case, well then there is no hope!

      So, I am not outlining what will have to be done for the 2013 election, as the first objective is to make this an objective! Sorry if that is circular.

      Chuck (PS: Cruex, sorry, I only addressed your first question. Later…..)

    • Anonymous says:

      Just like the school board, there are huge numbers of employees and their families that present a hurdle for any candidate. They are voting for their paychecks. As are the entitlement folks who get grants from the city.
      That adds up to a liberal bias that is hard to overcome. They once were kept in check by folks over 50, but white flight and death have taken their toll.
      As Terry and Chuck (and even Clarence) can attest, candidates who take a forceful position scare some people. Voters know they don’t like the status quo by that doesn’t mean they want someone with bold ideas.

  25. Cruex says:

    Chuck-

    The outrage will come at the next election and then the next one after that for sure but there needs to be outrage shown NOW. It is going to take constant reminders just what the city council is doing to us with every bad vote. We have many bad people on the city council.

  26. Terry Gavin says:

    I was unable to attend this Wednesday’s City Council meeting but watched much of it online with my wife. A couple obsevations made. First often absent councilman Gilliam’s return & comments during audit discussion. Gilliam came out verbally swinging with arrongant, belligerent taunts mainly directed at Councilman Prigge about the budget for 2012, the new massive taxes, etc.! His taunts included comments like “man up” & where’s you’re budget proposal if you don’t like the one we passed. Though these comments were directed mostly at Prigge he was also slapping all of us taxpayers who opposed the budget & their tax increases. Gilliam was a bully & just downright disrespectful to all of us on camera. My wife was astounded
    at his behavior as was I! If he runs again he must pay for his rudeness by losing his seat. That way he can ride off into the sunset in Arizona & leave us citizens of Elgin alone.

    Secondly, we watched Councilman Steffen go on a rant regarding the audit & how he was offended that anyone, mostly me, could accuse the city council of growing the size of government with their new massive tax increases. Though Steffen never mentioned who he was talking about
    again he was addressing all of us who opposed their passing a “panic” budget when no real proof of a huge deficit existed then or now. My response to him is, Earth to John, when a government raises taxes & creates new massive taxes taken from it’s citizens that by definition is growing the size of government!

    Both of these elected officials used the “bully pulpit” to attack all
    of us who tried to stop the biggest tax increase in Elgin’s history & voters need to be reminded often that they are the ones responsible for pushing their agenda’s down the throats of the people.

    • Anonymous says:

      Consider the source, Terry. Gilliam “worked” his whole life in U46. Kaptain was a government employee. Dunne still is. Moeller makes a living running a bureaucrat support group. Powell was a city employee.
      These people are out of touch.
      So when Gilliam assumes that we must continue to fund government services, he clearly doesn’t see the point. He never will. Nothing looks like a luxury to him and his cronies.
      You might as well be talking to the wall.
      When guys like you a Prigge push back, they take it as an insult.

      • Terry Gavin says:

        Amen to that,there’s really nothing more to add to your comment Anonymous! Except that enough is enough at all levels of government
        “We the People” have the final say on election day…

    • Anonymous says:

      Couldn’t agree more Terry.

      The way Gilliam and Steffen acted was unconscionable. But of course except for here it goes unnoticed.

      • Terry Gavin says:

        Councilman Gilliam’s comments were far more offensive & unprofessional as a councilman. I went back & watched the video from the 6/27 meeting again on the city’s website. In addition to the comments referenced earlier made by Bob there were other gems like “I’m sick of this crap” referring of course those of us who objected to their budget & massive tax increases plus “Step up and be a man”! Of course I support Free Speech but it goes both ways & when someone in a position of power speaks to citizens like that it can only be because they feel superior or that they’re part of the ruling class & we’re merely subjects.

        So at this last Wenesday’s meeting I along with 3 other speakers, Chuck Keysor, Julie Schmitt & Bill Werst, addressed Bob & the rest of the council. Mr. Gilliam choose to address me from the dais but not to deny he had said those things or explain anything except to say to me we’ve had our differences over the years. Well true enough Bob we battled for 4 years while I was on the council along with battles I had with Ed Schock. But someone has to explain where does someone in his position have the right to talk to citizens with disrespect & hostility like he did on 6/27?

        What’s even more puzzling to me is the local media ignored Bob’s comments in June & they also ignored multiple citizens who came to the meeting & took him up on his challenge. Everyone who lives in Elgin should watch the video of Mr. Gilliam’s behavior & decide for themselves if this is how a public official should behave. As for me I’ll continue to resist this council’s efforts to raise our taxes & further cut our services while handing out money to special interest groups!

  27. 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.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Hello Harmony! A few months ago, I was reading the International City Managers Association annual report. There was a ton of great information. I recommend EVERYONE who is interested in our city government look at the ICMA annual report, which is in the Gail Borden Public Library’s reference section.

      One thing I found was a set of figures which show city sizes, and if they are of the strong mayor form, or the city manager/weak mayor form. Very interestingly, it turns out that the change over seems to mostly take place in the 100,000 to 200,000 range. This is in their newest annual report.

      While you are checking out the ICMA report, they also show salary ranges for fire fighters across the US, broken into maybe 8 geographical regions. They also show starting pay, and maximum pay after reaching seniority. You will be amazed at how Elgin’s pay compares to all the other zones of the US.

      Chuck

  28. Chuck Keysor says:

    Of course, I would expect that the City Administration would dismiss the ICMA report on fire fighter’s pay as being invalid, even though it was conducted by the most authorative journal in the world of municipal government. Chuck

  29. Anonymous says:

    Just watched the June 27 council meeting. Wow. Mr. Gilliam is sure arrogant. Baiting taxpayers to come forward with a better plan?? Isn’t that his job? When he’s there of course.

    Reminded me of the email I received from Mayor Kaptain (him and Prigge were the only ones to respond) when I expressed my displeasure with the then proposed taxes/fees. He basically asked “could I do better?”.

    When the council size increases all we’ll get is more of this nonsense.

    As a 20 year resident of Elgin I am fed up with this city. But I can’t go anywhere. My house is worth less than it was 20 years ago, if anyone would even buy it. Which is doubtful. Who in their right mind would move in to this city. Well check that, what LEGAL citizen would move here. Others flock to Elgin.

  30. Cruex says:

    Terry Gavin-

    You are correct and now I’m mad. So Gilliam wants to see budgets from people who dare to criticize the city’s budget? Mr. Gilliam forgets he was elected to pass a budget. If I do not like the budget I am going to criticize what I do not like. That is my right. I think someone should ask Gilliam to go thru the budget line by line and explain why we should like it.

    Hooray for Prigge for daring to say the over charges should be given back to the people. I do not want these 6 crazy Liberals to find some way to spend the over charges before the end of the year. This has to be one of the worst city councils in Elgin’s history.

    • RS says:

      “I do not want these 6 crazy Liberals to find some way to spend the over charges before the end of the year. ”

      Of all the different ideas for how the city should spend its tax and spend money, I think the worst idea for anything I’ve ever heard of is building a hydropower dam in downtown Elgin. There is no way–zero possibility–it can be economical. In other words it can only be a massive waste of money.

      But this hooverville dam idea is probably where any extra money is going to go if we don’t start hearing some vocal opposition. Is this even on OCTAVE’s radar? It seems they are always a little late to the game. Too late on the business license, too late on the budget and they’re going to be too late on the dam. I’m just sayin… :)

      • Anonymous says:

        They aren’t too late; they just aren’t getting any cooperation from city hall. The elected officials are not listening. You can pack the council chambers with people well ahead of the vote and these bureaucrats will just do what they please.
        Kaptain will schmooze you until he’s sure you won’t play along, then he just ignores you. That’s his MO.

        • Chuck Keysor says:

          Hello Rick and Anonymous. It is correct that we do not get any cooperation from City Hall. And given our resouces, it is hard to fight City Hall, and they know that. We can go and protest with our energy, or we can use our time to try and work up strategies to change the council. And making it more complicated, is that we probably have to do 20% of one, and 80% of the other.

          There is a list of issues that are very significant that will be addressed in due time. But each item requires someone who is capable and has time to research, and who is motivated to engage. Such people are very hard to come across.

          Generally, if someone wants to join us, they need to make a public speech to the council articulating a serious issue against the City. And that person should not be running for a seat on the Council, as we do not want to just become a spring board for people running for council. I can not go into the reasoning for that in this forum, but we feel that is best for everyone who is unhappy with City Hall.

          As to our being too late on issues, I can not disagree. After all, we formed to fight the Elgin business license, after the business license was already in place. Strategically, that is a pretty bad place to begin. But it gave us a good start and a chance to connect with a lot of people. And, that game is not done yet!

          And as to the taxes, we did as much as could be done to register public discontent with the budget last fall. That too is a hard fight, when you are working against a highly paid staff, that is free to spin all the numbers it wants in any way that suites its own purposes. And while the mere fact that the budget deficit was spiraling up so quickly and out of control in an apparent attempt to whip up a cover for massive tax increases, how could we have proven the deficit was trumped up? How could we have proven that the tax increases would not be off-set by equal decreases in the property taxes? It took information and numbers that simply were not available, until the City filed financial reports with the bond rating agencies in February. But those documents and the bond rating reports themselves now all prove we did not have the deficit the City claimed. And those documents proved that for about $10million in new taxes and fees to be collected in 2012, that we only got a paultry $1million decrease in our property tax collections. And even citing these numbers as facts, City staff still says we don’t know what we are talking about.

          Which leads us to the hydropower generator boondoggle. While intuitively this proposal seems crazy, we do need some type of financial analyis to determine what the real situation is. Where do we get numbers? Who will get them? Who will analyze them, and then be prepared to present them to the voters?

          It would be nice to think we would have had a flood of people protesting the hydro-electric proposal at City Council meetings. Had that happened, we would have jumped on them to join up with us. But so far, it hasn’t happened.

          Anyone interested in working on this issue, can speak to the council publicly expressing their doubts about this project. That will start the ball rolling. We’ll stay tuned and go from there. Until then, it will have to sit as an item on a very long list of serious issues.

          Chuck

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            PS: Actually, the Elgin OCTAVE did get to get into the fight against the City of Elgin creating a municipal monopoly forcing all commercial facility fire alarms to be monitored by the City of Elgin. We did that BEFORE the City was able to create that new boondoggle. And it was because we were fighting the business license, that we got involved in the fire alarm issue. Chuck

  31. Anonymous says:

    Did you read about the rap sheet/history of Modesto Rosales, the jamoke who “allegedly” invaded a home on Raymond St and attacked the guy with an iron?
    The Courier tells quite a story about an immigration judge who was hoodwinked into giving him a green card instead of deportation.
    As the alarms were going off in his head, the judge chose to follow Obama’s directive to give amnesty instead of deportation.
    Only in America.

  32. sterdayo says:

    These two new taxes alone are estimated to raise ten million dollars or more per year. That tax is assessed against everybody living in Elgin including church’s,charitable organizations, businesses & other governmental units. This tax will remove an estimated forty million dollars over the next four years out of the local private sector economy to increase the size of the city’s government during the worst recession since the Great Depression.