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July open thread

1 July 2012 RS 105 Comments

Bowling alley. Bowling alley. (Photo by The Elginite).

Open thread for July 2012. Post what you want.

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105 Responses to “July open thread”

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  1. Anonymous says:

    All this is from public records.

    Just found out a convicted sex offender moved in to my neighborhood. I can see his house from mine.

    He has quite the story. Former cop, convicted of molesting a teenage boy. 4 years in prison. Violated parole when found with weapons and ammunition in his house. Now he’s living in my (formerly nice) family neighborhood. Wonderful. I feel great that my 4 year old son has to go by his house if he want to ride his bicycle.

    In the three weeks he’s been here, there’s been numerous loud late night parties in the backyard with shouts of “I only have one shot left” (alcohol I hope!), “let’s get the party started”, etc.

    This used to be one of the nicer subdivisions in Elgin. No more. I imagine this will accelerate the flight of the decent families that has already been going on for years.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agree! You should’ve left years ago! All of my family has moved to South Elgin/St. Charles or out of state. My parents owned a business in Tyler Creek Plaza on the West Side of Elgin a long time ago and I remember seeing throngs of customers. That entire area was socially and economically vibrant, but now its dead. The only thing you see are dollar stores and payday loans.

      I lived in Elgin for most of my life and loved growing up here, but now the entire make up of my subdivision has changed. I got drug dealers living two minutes away from my house. Hopefully, I’ll be out of here one day.

  2. Anonymous says:

    So where’s my property tax relief Elgin?

    2010 Tax Rate 1.914
    2011 Tax Rate 2.060

    I thought the rate was supposed to be reduced? In addition to all the new taxes/fees I am also paying 8% more for my property taxes.

    Explain that one Mr. Stegall?

    • paul says:

      “Elgin’s financial profile is excellent with conservative fiscal management, extensive financial planning and healthy reserve levels providing ample financial flexibility,” Fitch’s report stated.

      Courier News, May 2011

    • paul says:

      Elgin got the exact same bond rating in 2012 as it did in 2011 yet Kaptain CLAIMS 2012 bond rating justifies his huge tax increase!!!!

      >>Fitch Ratings assigns an ‘AAA’ rating to the following Elgin, Illinois (the city) general obligation bonds:

      –$9.695 million general obligation corporate purpose bonds, series 2011.

      RATING RATIONALE:

      –Elgin’s financial profile is excellent with conservative fiscal management, extensive financial planning and healthy reserve levels providing ample financial flexibility;<<

      http://elgin.bocajump.com/Articles/fitch-affirms-elgins-aaa-bond-rating

  3. Harmony says:

    Stegall can’t explain that. Him and that chief financial”wizard”officer only use”fuzzy math”. They both need to go.

    • Terry Gavin says:

      The problem guys is that the voters can’t fire staff people but the voters can elect a council that will force Sean to straight up the finances or they can fire him. The only job the council has authority to hire or fire is the city manager. Now when it comes to the manager’s staff & department heads the council can threaten the managers job if he won’t fire someone they want gone.

      When I served in the 90’s several of us council people wanted the police chief fired & that city manager said we’d have to fire him. Needless to say the majority “chickened” out & both stayed.

      The only solution to fixing Elgin’s finances is to elect new council members & retain Prigge who’ll stand up to the Mayor & City Mgr. to represent the citizen/taxpayer’s rights!

      • bennie says:

        Terry I am surprised that you are not warning the citizens about the Direct Energy scam being perpertrated by the city of Elgin just take a look and you will find out what this company do to those ppl who are signed up for this sham servce I am really done with the antics being perpertrated on the citizens of this community. this is a huge parasite. You can find them in every state screwing the unsuspecting citizens and escelating their utility bills I am sure this city council did their homework before siging up for this fiasco but I can’t see the benefit of adding this third party scavenger. Good luck to all who don’t opt out time has almost run out to avoid getting swept up involuntarily into this night mare of a mess

  4. Terry Gavin says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!!! 236 years old & still going strong… In spite of all the damage done to her. Let’s all remember “freedom is never free” & all the men & women who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our Republic are why we celebrate Independence Day!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Is there a valid reason why those message boards in front of the fire stations are in English only?
    Isn’t that discriminatory?
    Or are fireworks injuries only an English-speaking phenomenon?

  6. Harmony says:

    Well, didn’t that crack down on fireworks really work?? I guess Elgin was to busy keeping the peace in Hoffman Estates last night. They were shooting them off well past midnight. Great job EPD.

    • Anonymous says:

      I live in the far northeast part of Elgin and cars were flying down our residential streets to go to an area to park their cars and watch the fireworks. They lined a relatively busy narrow street with their cars. And when the fireworks (all 15 minutes of them) were over they again sped down our streets. Apparently these people were too lazy to drive the extra mile to the Sears Centre.

      I called the EPD non emergency number and after being on hold for several minutes asked why there were no EPD in the area? Did they not anticipate that people would converge to watch the fireworks from a distance? Apparently not.

      And this morning there is litter and garbage where all the cars were parked. What a bunch of inconsiderate jerks.

  7. RS says:

    Did anybody go to the Northwest Fourth-Fest? How was it?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Gilliam has become the token loudmouth on the council. I suppose he’s got nothing to lose as a lame duck.
    His comments about the ERC project were racist and illogical.
    “I believe it’s important we have two facilities,” Councilman Robert Gilliam said. “There are two different types of populations that would not fit together. We cannot ignore (the facility).”

    Gilliam also noted that the Eastside center “keeps kids off the streets” and attracts the city’s large Latino population.

    “We can’t afford it? We can’t afford not to do it,” he said, scoffing at other councilmen…” (Chicago Tribune)

    By Gilliam’s standards of distance and ethnic populations, we would need to build five more ERCs just to cover Elgin out to Randall Road.

    As our elder statesman he’s no Marie Yearman. At least Tish Powell argued the A/C angle and left race out of it.

    • Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

      Is Gilliam running for another term?

      • Anonymous says:

        He said during the last campaign that it would be his last.
        But, who knows when it comes to politicians?

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      I completely agree with your comments about the East Side Rec. Center. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing Gilliam say at the last council session.

      How can we have one very nice, totally modern facility (The Elgin Centre) for one socio-economic group, and a run-down, ratty dump without AC (the “ERC”) for another group? And the fact that the run-down facility is for the poor and disadvantaged should be an outrage and have people like Jessie Jackson picketing (and rightly so) outside of Elgin City Hall.

      The expensive Elgin Centre facility is highly under-utilized and as a result it looses something like $750,000 per year. Does it make sense to keep the utilization of the Elgin Centre low by diverting a large user group into the money pit known as the “ERC”? Combine the two facilities into one and get a higher utilization of the Elgin Centre. And this will save pouring more money into the East Side Rec Center.

      Elgin has LOTS more poor people than it has rich people. So it only makes sense to devote the biggest and best facility to the larger segment of the population.

      Well of course, the Elgin Rec Centre was suppposed to be a magnate for rich people, just like Bowes Creek Golf Course was supposed to be a huge magnate for rich people. But time has proven that these attempts to pour vast sums of the taxpayer’s dear money into re-engineering Elgin’s demographics have failed.

      End the financial waste, end what looks like segregation, and don’t put another penny into the “ERC”. Combine the “ERC” with the Elgin Centre.

      OOPS, there is the little problem of the existing city council. They WANT to have TWO facilities, because they believe in bigger government. Big governement wants more of everything, instead of just providing the basics. And big government tax and spend mentality brought us the Elgin Centre in the first place! Does this suggest even more reasons for a new council????? Chuck

      • Anonymous says:

        Right you are, Chuck. There is significant staff overhead to keep the ERC open, as your OCTAVE payroll report shows.
        Facilities and headcount make for a fatter kingdom.
        And, is Gilliam saying that the Latino clientele at ERC would somehow disrupt operations at The Centre?
        In other circles that would be called redlining.

      • paul says:

        Chuck, I take it you aren’t a member of the Center. Who is going to pay $400 a year to belong there if ERC at risk gang-banging non-paying clientele are hanging out at the Center?
        And with grant moneys and other Federal and State money flowing into ERC, the ERC unlike the Center is probably actually a positive cash flow into the community. It is not about the economic devastation stemming from the State and Feds budgetary bankruptcy, it is about Elgin and you get yours.

        • Chuck Keysor says:

          Hello Paul. You are correct. I am not a member of the “Centre” I wouldn’t join it if you paid me, as the entire project has been an irritant to me since before it was even built. I was one of those mean people who complained that we didn’t need it, and it was wildly over-sized and therefor going to be an extra expensive project. I was one of those people who was told in public meetings that my concerns were for nothing, and that the Rec “Centre” would MAKE money. I guess the EXPERTS were wrong on this, how could that be? Were these the same experts that told us we would become the second largest city in Illinois with all the expansion to the west? Ooops, those experts in City Hall were wrong again. City Hall should listen to the people and not the experts. The people vote. So no, I wouldn’t join the Centre if you paid me.

          Actually, at last year’s budget task force session where we took a bus ride around the City, Sean explained what a huge drag the ERC was on the budget, and how it would cost so much to fix, it would really need to be examined closely. There was a lot of uncontrolled discussion on the bus, Sean was at the front, and I was at the back, but at our end the discussion was the ERC should be closed, and all those people could come to the Centre. But the response that came about in the general discussion was that such a move would destroy the Centre. So what? It is better to have only one money pit rec center instead of two. The role of government should not be to maximize its losses. Chuck

          • RS says:

            And they want to double down and sink another $4.4M into building a hydropower dam to provide electricity to the Centre as though that can possibly be more efficient than the grid.

            That’s just the upfront cost. They are projecting $75,000 in annual maintenance costs. And these projections are being made by the vendor themselves, not independent consultants, so obviously this is all a best-case scenario with little credibility.

            I just don’t get it…

  9. Chuck Keysor says:

    Here is a new story in Boca Jump. http://elgin.bocajump.com/Articles/most-on-city-council-praise-budget-report
    Please read this, and then comment as to who you think was supposed to get a hot foot? Thanks, Chuck

    • Anonymous says:

      Wow! Dave Kaptain, the Everyman Populist, has certainly changed his spots.
      They’ve circled the wagons. Maybe that’s a good sign.
      Kaptain’s “professionals” have made this one of the most expensive counties in the USA when it comes to taxation. We’re supposed to approve of what they’ve done to us?

      • Terry Gavin says:

        Kaptain’s “professionals” are nothing more then a bond rating agency not a budget rating agency. 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 big 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 what is in the best interests of it’s citizens not on how cheap they can borrow money on the bond market. Let’s look at the utility tax’s effect on business & other government units & it’s impact on the bottom line. Does this not mean that those businesses 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 supposed reduction on properties & will more small businesses just close their doors? Those are my questions to this council.

        • Anonymous says:

          The City of Chicago plan seems to be to tap into private investment funds to finance public projects. You can’t run Chicago without handing out projects to your friends. Watch ‘em close.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        Terry, your comment that U46 will need to compensate for the higher cost of their utilities is a true and good point. But that brought to mind a related un-intended consequence situation.

        At the public hearing on the electrical aggregation, I expressed concern that if lots of cities in Illinois move to aggregation, that Commonwealth Edison will be forced to compensate and ask for a rate increase.

        The aggregation expert at the public hearing contended that Com Ed does not make their money off of supplying electricity, they make their money off of distribution. So aggregation shouldn’t create any “blow-back” from Com Ed.

        A few weeks later, it was in the news, that Chicago was looking at aggregation. And because Chicago is such a big piece of Com Ed’s business, that Com Ed was planning to ask for a compensatory rate hike!

        So while the City said that with aggregation and the new electric tax, we will still be paying less than we did before, that argument is out the window when Com Ed gets their rate hike to compensate for the effects of aggregation.

        Chuck

        • Chuck Keysor says:

          As another unintended consequence, I just got done reading a good article by Kate Thayer of the Trib about video gambling in Elgin. Here is the quote of interest: “Dave Bergholt, president of the Elgin United Civic Association, sees video poker machines as a way to offset local tax increases and other financial woes that threaten service groups. “Some clubs in existence for over 100 years, I could see failing,” he said. “We need to stay in business to do (charitable) duties.”"

          Again, lets remember that Bob Gilliam and Rich Dunne voted for EVERY tax increase late last December. They say that these new taxes and fees are good for the City of Elgin.

          In case you missed it, the 2012 budget has roughly $10million in new taxes and fees, with only a $1million reduction in property taxes. The 2012 budget also shows a $7million surplus. If you like this, be sure to vote for Gilliam and Dunne in 2013.

          Chuck

          • paul says:

            ” The 2012 budget also shows a $7million surplus.”

            That cannot stand. A $7M surplus flys in the face of Kaptain, Steffan, Stegall greatness of diversifying (increasing) taxes. Look for increased expenditures, new hires, something, (MORE financial accounting chicanery) to prevent a $7M surplus. The State of Illinois is funding the riverside project - if the State doesn’t pay promptly would that cause an unexpected shortfall? Corporate accounting is on a accrual basis. City of Elgin must be on a cash basis if unexpected grant payments last year magically created an unexpected surplus. But who ya gonna believe - government bureaucrats masters of deceipt and deception or your own eyes!!!!!

          • Anonymous says:

            “In case you missed it, the 2012 budget has roughly $10million in new taxes and fees, with only a $1million reduction in property taxes.”

            Show me where this property tax reduction is? As I mentioned the tax rate for the Cook County portion of Elgin went from 1.91 to 2.06. That is an 8% INCREASE. Is Kane county going to get a reduction?

            Among the other underhanded things he did, Mr. Stegall blatantly lied to the citizens of Elgin. He said property taxes would be reduced to compensate for the new garbage fees. They have not. We now pay an additional fee and our property taxes went up. We are more than double paying for this service.

            There should be a revolt in this town over what occured in the last year. But 104,000 apathetic people certainly aren’t going to do it.

        • Terry Gavin says:

          Great points Chuck. Here’s more food for thought I’ve been asking for weeks if the city’s 3% utility tax was on the whole bill, supply & distribution, or just the supply side as of yet no answer has been forth coming. 2nd point is that when the General Assembly voted this spring for smart grid legislation ComEd was granted automatic rate increases on the distribution
          system to upgrade it which in truth means “smart” meters are coming. With ComEd getting programed rate increases on their distribution system our bills will still go up aggregation or no aggregation.

          I as well as other citizen’s I know already did their own aggregation & received better rates then ComEd’s rate, which from my inquiries means we can’t sign up for the city’s new electric supplier without inquring a penalty. I’ve also been getting my gas supply from someone other then Nicor for the last 2 years at a savings. It offends me to think that according to politicians like Mayor Kaptain we can’t negotiate
          our own best deal without big government’s help. It’s truly insulting that these elected officials think they’re sooo much smarter then we dumb peasants. This is the liberal attitude of nanny government first & forever!

          • Jules says:

            I’m thinking of a getting new supplier like Champion Energy’s Savings Champ 7 or Green Power 12 because Elgin’s selection, Direct Energy, doesn’t look green to me, nor is it the cheapest. Any other suggestions from the suppliers available? I can’t find much info on Champion.
            https://power2switch.com/switch/rates/60123

        • Terry Gavin says:

          Great points Chuck. Here’s some more food for thought. For weeks now I’ve been asking the question if the city’s utility tax of 3% is assessed on the total electric bill, supply & distribution, or just the supply side.

        • bennie says:

          thanks chuck & terry I must read to the end before commenting I am ashamed of the crap coming out of the city council regarding the electric rates and this sham company Direct Energy offers. I guess we have to watch and investigate everything the council present to us I have found some serious discrepencies (lies) coming out of this body. Time for a CHANGE

          • Terry Gavin says:

            Yes on all of the above Bennie. Several citizens & groups like ElginOctave have been challenging this council & mayor with little effect. They seem bent on doing as they please & to heck with what the people need or want.

            If you’ve got info on Direct Energy please share it with all of us on here.

            Indeed it’s time for a CHANGE at City Hall!

    • paul says:

      Read that bocajump article 3 times to fully appreciate it.

      3 things become apparent:
      bocajump is nothing but a mouth piece for the city of Elgin (why wouldn’t they be when the city pays them?).
      Kaptain insulted every Elgin voter with his implication that citizens are wrong to disagree with his huge tax increase: >>“Amateurs should let accounting professionals review the books,” was among the responses Mayor David Kaptain emailed to BocaJump two days after the council meeting.<>refuting the budget misinformation and falsehoods leveled at city officials over the past year.<<

      Was it the $3 million deficit the city originally projected, the $10 million deficit the city next projected, or the final $13 million deficit projected that forced the city council to massively raise taxes instead of the utter impossibility of reducing boondoggle spending?

      Literally, I have no idea what was refuted. But just take Bocajump’s repeated word something unkown and unspoken was refuted.

  10. Cruex says:

    Chuck Keysor-

    I would say the hot foot belongs to you, elginoctave and anyone else who DARED to speak out against the budget. That includes Terry Gavin too. Is that the answer you were looking for? The way the article is formatted it did look like he was calling Prigge out but as I read further I saw where it was the way it was laid out at Bocajump. And besides calling Prigge out in the press would be dumb.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I’ve just read through the Kaptain mandate to use their electric supply pals. What a bunch of baloney. It certainly puts a liberal spin on freedom.
    It goes too far when they require us to opt-out or get automatically signed up.
    Their sources of electricity are a laugh; overwhelmingly coal, nuclear and natural gas. And they have the chutzpah to declare green-ness as “A Renewable Energy Certificate Product,” whatever that means.
    Thanks for making me feel like I’m back in the USSR.
    And the math is overblown. The huge savings they advertise only apply to about 48% of your bill. It has no impact on distribution, maintenance or taxes.
    They had a great opportunity to offer an alternative to ComEd and they turned it into a force-feeding.

  12. Terry Gavin says:

    All great points Anonymous especially the facts about our Crook County property taxes showing the City of Elgin increased our property taxes this year while charging garbage fees on our water bill. True double taxation!

    We all must make sure in the next city election that we weed out the liars & expose those candidates who support this big government, radical green movement agenda that is being forced down our throats.

  13. Chuck Keysor says:

    Here is a link to an interesting article in the Daily Herald about non-cash incentives being used to bring Portillo’s to Elgin. http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20120709/business/707099691/
    Please read this, and then my letter to the Mayor, Council and City Manager. Thanks, Chuck

    Dear Mayor Kaptain, members of the City Council and City Staff:
    Referring to the Daily Herald article below, I found it very important to say that I AGREE with the City Administration’s recognition that a reduction in fees/taxes is a clear and effective inducement that can attract businesses such as Portillo’s to Elgin!

    Now, since we all agree this works to attract one company, it stands to reason that IF Elgin lowered the taxes and fees for ALL businesses, that many companies may be induced to move to Elgin! What a concept.

    Elgin taxes and fees are too high. If they weren’t too high, you wouldn’t need to cut them to get Portillo’s to come to Elgin. Cut taxes and fees across the line for everyone, and not for just a few. Then all of Elgin will benefit!

    Thank you, Chuck

    • RS says:

      I think these incentives are a waste of money. These businesses go where they want to go based on market studies, not incentives that represent a tiny fraction of their investment. Does the city council really think Portillo’s is going to decide where to put a $7.2M/year restaurant based on a one time $134K fee waiver? Seriously?

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        Rick, I actually agree with you. However, I find it a useful device to take something that someone else believes and use it to make a point on somthing that I believe.

        Elgin City government believes in incentives and in taxation on everyone to pay for the incentives. And since most people aren’t even aware of “economic development”, what it is and isn’t, it is useful to bring these matters before the public so that they too can begin to wonder about the wisdom of our City government and the ways that they choose to spend our money, and the ways they choose to take our money.

        So thank you for providing a valuable forum, where issues of concern can be freely discussed.

        Chuck

  14. TP says:

    It would be good to see a big poster presented at City Council showing last years taxes compared to this years taxes. Show both the bill from your county as well as the water bills(anyone else notice they come every month now instead of every other month) Summarize the last years total and compare it to this years projected total. This will demonstrate to the average person the TOTAL increase in taxes.

    Next time show a proposed budget. Remeber there were only two options presented to council “armogedon” or “new taxes” show a third blended option.

    On a closing note. Check out the Bocca Jump article. The business license tax still isn’t being enforced. Remember compliance is implied acceptance of a rule/tax. All businesses in Elgin should just ignore the bill they receive in January because the city doesn’t know how to enforce the law.

  15. Cruex says:

    RS-

    I share your objection to a dam but that is what you get when you have green liberals on the city council. The mayor is all for it so that means Moeller will automatically support it without a thought. Steffen and Powell will think about it for a day and then say yes. Gilliam doesn’t care about Elgin any longer so he will vote yes. Dunne will be afraid to vote against it. Who knows how Prigge feels. I count 6 votes for sure.

  16. Grimm says:

    Before the next election cycle, it will be of the utmost importance to figure out the best ways possible to get a true reading of each candidate’s core political philosophy. If someone is liberal, fine, the voters should know so if they want a liberal, they can vote correctly. And if a conservative voter wants a conservative in office, they need to know reliably that is what they are voting for and will get after the election. But when the candidates are vague and possibly even deceptive, that is where everyone gets short-changed. ———— Well said Mr. Keysor, this must be addressed and will be the next election, which will come fast.

  17. Cruex says:

    So now that it has been established (sort of) that we have an out of touch mayor and city council who have raised taxes, created fees, lied to the public, and had one councilman get angry because he has been criticized, what do we voters do? Aren’t we stuck with the worst spenders until 2015?

  18. Chuck Keysor says:

    Cruex, speaking of raising taxes…… There is a great new story in the Daily Herald, http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20120716/news/707169737/

    Here are two quotes from that article:
    “A 3-percent tax on alcoholic beverages is expected to generate $500,000 in the second half of 2012 and $1 million each year after that. The tax took effect July 1.”

    “The alcoholic beverage tax was implemented as a way to close the city’s structural deficit, which required a long-term solution rather than a one-time influx of cash.”

    So if we needed this NEW tax to close the structural deficit, how could we possibly spend it on anything other than closing the “budget deficit”?

    Well, IF WE DIDN’T HAVE A STRUCTURAL DEFICIT, maybe Mayor Kaptain could propose that we use this new found cash (that is burning a hole in the City Council’s pocket)to pay for some new program, like maybe a drug abuse prevention program, and some added roadside safety checks….

    Oh wait, I just re-read the article, and guess what???? The mayor wants to spend this new tax money for a drug intervention program and extra road side safety checks!!!! Yikes, but if we spend the new tax cash like that, how oh ever will we close the budget deficit?????

    What does this suggest to the average reader about our budget deficit?

    What does that suggest we should do to the incumbents who voted for the new liquor taxes? And if we have to wait for 2015 to vote against the rest of the tax and spenders, who created about $10 million in new taxes for 2012 and which goes up to $13 million in 2013, and who knows how much after that, when we get our rain-water run-off tax,,, well we will just have to wait and keep everyone aware of the tax hikes that were supposed to close the questionable “budget gap”.

    Now, the papers failed to report this, but at the February Council Retreat, the City Manager said very plainly, that the City has all the money it needs to address whatever the council sets as a priority…. Does that sound like what someone would say who is on the precipice of a gigantic budget deficit? Instead, it sounds like a green light to spend money on new programs. Oh wait, one councilman said he wasn’t aware of the City government growing or adding any new programs. That was right after Mr. Gilliam challenged the “critics” to come forward and show their budgets. Hmmmmmmmm Chuck

    Chuck

    • paul says:

      True cynic that I am, I had to laugh. Kaptain dreaming up ways to spend his structural budget deficit fixing tax increase!!!

      “A 3-percent tax on alcoholic beverages is expected to generate $500,000 in the second half of 2012 and $1 million each year after that. The tax took effect July 1.”

      Manna from heaven??? Taking $1 million right out of citizen’s pockets and PISSING it away on some BS feel good political project because… er… well, just because Kaptain thinks he can!!!!

      P.S. To all Elgin businesses in the business of trying to make money serving alcoholic beverages, I will NO LONGER be patronizing your establishments if I want alcoholic beverages.

      P.P.S. See my post last week predicting there won’t be a surplus available to reduce property taxes. Kaptain, Steffan, Gilliam and Stegall will make damn sure no possible tax reducing surplus EVER occurs.

  19. Cruex says:

    Chuck Keysor-

    I am in complete shock after reading that article. The gall of this man to even suggest this! How much more out of touch can he be? Here comes another 6-1 vote, you wait and see.

    • Terry Gavin says:

      The biggest out of touch person on the council has to be Councilman Gilliam who thinks it’s perfectly fine to attack citizen’s who object to their massive tax increase’s using street lingo & thrash talk while doing it.

      Finishing second in on the out of touch contest has to be Councilman Steffen who claimed that simply raising taxes & taking more money from the people wasn’t growing the size of city government. So Mr. Steffen if the city starting a “new” city drug abuse program isn’t growing the role of government, what is it?

      Of course the consolation award goes to the rest of the council & Mayor Kaptain minus Councilman Prigge. Another 6-1 vote indeed We the People need to elect new council members who actually get it & are in touch with reality, and soon!

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Hello Cruex. Concerning Mayor Kaptain being out of touch, here are two inter-related THEORIES I have. If they come to pass, remember you heard them here first…….. And they explain why it may be extra hard to get the council to listen to the people concerning our roughly $9million net tax/fee increase this year.

      Theory #1: Dave Kaptain has no intention of running for a second term as mayor. He wanted to come in and make his mark on City Hall (ie become open and green), and then leave. This gives him an unusual position, in that the thing that motivates most politicians, is their burning desire to get re-elected. They can change their minds under pressure if they believe a position they have taken will harm their chances of getting re-elected. This is the basic understanding the Elgin OCTAVE wanted to leverage to work on the council. But if Dave does not want to run again, he can be as obstinant as he wants and stick to his own personal agenda.

      Theory #2: Rich Dunne has signed on to be Dave Kaptain’s next in-line for the mayorship. And as such, he will back Dave on any important issue. He will only vote against something that Kaptain backs if he thinks his vote is only symbolic. (That happened in the March 21st Council session on the dog park vote, where Dunne was quoted in the Courier’s March 23rd story saying he was surprised the measure failed when he voted against it.)

      Supporting point 1: Last year Dunne had been looking at higher office. But last fall he backed away from this and said he wanted to focus his time on serving Elgin. My guess, he decided to double down and go for his long-time dream of becoming Elgin’s mayor.

      Supporting point 2: While running for council in 2009 Dunne told me he wanted to become Elgin’s mayor. But he said at that time he would probably support Kaptain in 2011. So Dunne said he would probably have to wait until 2015. So on this part, I am not theorizing.

      Supporting point 3: When Dunne was first on the council, he did try to speak out and oppose the machinery of the Council. He was quoted in the papers as saying things that were negative about the council. And the rest of the council saw him pretty much as the bad boy. But Gilliam, in a famous public thrashing, kicked Dunne’s behind around the block, and said he didn’t ever want to read comments from Dunne in the papers questioning the council, because HE/Dunne is part of the council. After that, Dunne completely collapsed as a voice of negatively questioning the council/mayor/manager. Because being on the council probably provides the strongest public position to run for Mayor, Dunne decided to “go along to get along” and thus became just part of the herd that is called Elgin City Council. Being seen as a nice guy who gets along would probably minimize his chances of loosing re-election in 2013, and thus maintain his strong position from which to run for mayor in 2015.

      Theory Summary: Dunne will do what he can to strengthen his own chances of becoming Elgin’s mayor in 2015. Since Kaptain will not want to run for re-election, Dunne sees an alliance between himself and Kaptain as the surest path to the Mayorship. So Dunne will support Kaptain however he can so that Kaptain will help him step into the mayor’s chair in 2015.

      Chuck

  20. Terry Gavin says:

    Hey I’m missing One Votes insightful posts lately. Hope he comes back soon!

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m here. I just lost the automatic sign-in for some unknown reason so I’m one of the anonymous posters.

      • RS says:

        Probably your cookies got cleared and you just need to log in again.

        • Chuck Keysor says:

          Or One Vote, you can still (for whatever reason) use the name anonymous as your display name, and then type in One Vote at the end of your message. Too many anonymous posters makes it confusing. Chuck

          • RS says:

            I agree. From now on, I will delete any anonymous comments.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            Thanks RS! I look forward to comments by various people, even though I don’t know who they really are. A monicker gives at least a sense of connectedness, even if it is with the use of pretend names. Thanks, Chuck

  21. Terry Gavin says:

    Glad you’re out there keeping an eye on city issues O V! Maybe you could put your “moniker” in your posts so we know they’re from you. There seems to be seversl people posting with the moniker Anonymous.

  22. Cruex says:

    Chuck Keysor-

    Dunne as mayor? No, I don’t think so. We have enough scared Liberals now. If Dunne were to become mayor that would be 3 liberals in a row as mayor. God save Elgin.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Anyone (Terry??) remember what the new municipal tax is for utilities? I’d ask Stegall but he doesn’t return calls or emails.

    I thought it wss 3%. On my just received ComEd bill it’s more like 5%. Anyone else want to tell me what it is on their bill?

    Thanks Elgin. Times aren’t tough enough and now I’m paying you the equivalent of almost two days worth of my electric bill.

    • Terry Gavin says:

      The utility tax is suppose to be 3% on supply only. It was to start July 1, so it’s not even been a full month since it started.

      • Anonymous says:

        Well I certainly have a municipal tax that wasn’t there before.

        And it’s $6.32 out of a total bill of $123. If I look at only the “Electrical Supply Charge” portion it’s more than 10% of that charge.

        ComEd had no clue as to what was going on. Something isn’t right.

  24. Terry Gavin says:

    I can’t understand your municipal tax of $6.32 for your service since I’ve not seen my bill for July yet but my guess O V is that we’re experiencing the “Law of unintended consequences” from another government body. Or the city failed to communicate the right info to ComEd so they could calculate the right amount of tax. Contact ComEd & ask them. Either way my call to REPEAL these new taxes needs to be addressed now!

    Secondarily I’m including a copy of my response to City Mgr. Stegall & the council regarding my inquiry about why our property taxes here in Cook Cty., Elgin went up to most of us even though the council “promised” they would go down because of the new garbage fee assessed on our water bill. As of today I’ve gotten no answer.

    City Manager Stegall,

    Thanks for your quick response to my inquiry but I’m afraid you missed my core question. Even though I understand your detailed memorandum regarding the city’s reduction of the general tax levies in both Cook and Kane Counties as well as the corresponding tax rate based on assessed value of all properties, my question is more specific. We the citizens of Cook County, Elgin received our tax bills last week and based on my tax bill along with several of my fellow residents here in Cook County we received an increase in our personal property tax bill including an increase in the city’s rate. Why did our tax bill go up this year along with the separating the garbage fee placed on our water bill? When the city council voted for the budget on 12/21/11 we were told that everybodies tax bill would be reduced by the amount of the separate garbage fee. The fact is that is not true and I asked why.

    I’ve talked to lawyers who specialize in property tax appeals and I’ve filed multiple appeals over the last 20 years so I understand the complexities of our tax bill but this issue is about those of us who are in the majority here in Cook County, Elgin who are paying more in property taxes on an individual basis but still are paying for services that use to be part of our property taxes separately. I’ve spoken with our Township Assessor’s office and know that my assessed value is in line with my neighbors. I’ve also asked why when our assessed valuation has gone down both by the Cook County Treasurer’s report and by my own appeals our property taxes still went up?

    I know that this issue is widespread here on Elgin’s east side because I’ve conducted my own survey of residents and the fact is the majority of residents are paying more taxes to Elgin and receiving fewer services.

    This response was sent on 7/16.

    • Anonymous says:

      At least you get a response, must be your past involvement with the council ;-). My email to Stegall about proeprty taxes went unanswered. To ignore a residents’ email is rude and a bit arrogant if you ask me.

      I did (eventually) talk to Colleen Lavery who after looking it up explained the tax is 6.1 cents per killowatt hour. With my usage my tax should have been $6.14, not sure why it was slightly higher. And even though my usage comprised parts of June and the tax didn’t start until July 1 it appears they charged the tax on the whole amount.

      With this new utilities tax I am paying twice as much in tax to the City of Elgin as I am to the State of Illinois. The whole thing is ridiculous.

  25. paul says:

    Where is the outrage?

    Did you miss yesterday’s Herald, pg 3! http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20120722/business/707229914/
    Kaptain is looking into offering economic incentives to bring fresh food retailers to NE and NW Elgin neighborhoods because they are designated low access communities by the US government!!!

    For evidence the Herald was able to locate a professor from NIU who lives in NW Elgin complaining about having to drive 3 miles to a grocery store (no word about her drive to NIU). She misses walking to the grocery store (no word about how she carried her groceries on her walk home).

    Incredibly there exists a group called Activate Elgin which is a coalition of groups that is pushing for this.
    Evidently, the existing Plaid Pantry in the professor’s neighborhood selling fresh fruits, fresh meats, fresh milk, fresh bread, etc., doesn’t qualify as a vendor of fresh foods!!!

    What we need are government sponsored, government subsidized, government promoted fresh food vendors ONLY.

    On the other hand Portillos is coming to Elgin so any outrage at higher taxes and wasteful spending is absurd.

    • RS says:

      Chicago now allows food trucks in city neighborhoods, presenting the possibility of roving farmers markets. Kaptain said this could be another thing to look into locally.

      While Elgin prohibits sales from motor vehicles, the city council could change the ordinance to provide greater access to food.

      I hope this means Elgin can get a taco truck :)

      • elginkevin says:

        Or maybe the breakfast truck can come back to the train stations! That used to be nice, to be able to grab breakfast at the station.

      • paul says:

        “While Elgin prohibits sales from motor vehicles”

        I saw a food truck (roach coach, lunch wagon) yesterday in Elgin. And I know they sell up on Davis road. Any other part of that report true? Is there actually a coalition of groups demanding taxpayer subsidized fresh food retailers in Elgin?

        You are absolutely right, Terry. Nothing will change until people get outraged. We aren’t even close.
        Economic incentives are great if we get a Portillo’s.
        Economic incentives are great if we get a taco truck.
        Economic incentives are great if they take from my neighbor and give to me.
        When 50.1% are taking from the 49.9% which side will lose on a vote? Aren’t the 50.1% takers (claiming to be the 99%) Obama’s base?

        Takers is the neo-civil word for thieves.

  26. sillyboy says:

    Please, please. Can someone point me in the correct direction where I can find some fresh fruit and vegetables??? I live in Elgin and can’t find anything. I don’t know where to find my fresh fruit and vegetables, anywhere. I’m lost! Help me, please, city of Elgin!! That’s why I elected you. To get me my fresh fruit and vegetables. Whoa is me city of Elgin. I can’t even have a proper bowel movement because I cant find my FRESH FRUIT AND VEGETABLES!! HELP!!!!

  27. Terry Gavin says:

    OK here’s some outrage for everybody! Just got our ComEd bill yesterday & after a quick glimpse it’s obvious that we’ve been lied to again by our city government. All through the budget process we were told that the new tax would be 3% & that it would be on the supply side of everybody’s bill. Well that’s just not true our “new”
    municipal tax is more like 8.65% on supply & on our total bill the rate is right at 5.6%!

    First it was our property tax bill that we were told would go down & now our new utility tax rate is nearly triple what we were told it would be. Is it not time for Elgin citizen’s to become outraged?

    Any council member who voted for this radical tax restructuring needs to reverse themselves & REPEAL the ELGIN utility tax NOW! If not they need to be voted out of office asap.

  28. Terry Gavin says:

    One Vote I saw your post on here last night & now it’s gone, apparently RS is deleting any “anonymous” posts.

    You were right 4 days ago about the city’s electric rate. It appears it’s the same story with the natural gas rates. Citizen’s have to watch what’s going on or at least have people like us tell them what’s happening.

    We’re told one thing by this city government & see we’ve been lied too! Time to clean house & vote for honest representatives.

  29. Gibster says:

    The new and improved http://www.CityofElgin.org is up and live as of 7/26/2012. Take a spin around the new navigation and content, register for a MyElgin login and join in on the community conversations already happening between residents. - LFG

    • Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

      Laurie,

      Way to go! I really like the site especially the How do I? section and FAQ’s in it are extremely helpful in so many ways all on one page.

      The graphics are so much more pleasing to the eye. I just did a quick glance now because I have to work tomorrow but I can see you and your group improved the site quite a bit from what I can see. Well done!

      If I could make one change it would be in the contact us section. When you click on a staff member’s email I wish I could cut and paste their email address into my hotmail without having to have a gmail account. Some of us older users who are not into gmail might appreciate that feature.

  30. Cruex says:

    I thought I would reprint John Prigge’s Facebook comments about the refuse collection tax and the East side Recreation Center. Pretty amazing to me. No wonder Elgin is one messed up town. Does anyone think taxes are not going to go up again next year?

    THE NUMBERS ARE IN: Several weeks ago, I asked for a fiscal report on the Eastside Rec Center for the past three years. I did this in light of a massively expensive and optional structural upgrade to the ERC that I voted against, yet, sadly was approved.

    Barring any more change orders, this enhancement project will cost Elgin taxpayers close to $800,000 this year.

    In 2011, the ERC lost $229,001
    In 2010, the ERC lost $167,364
    In 2009, the ERC lost $176,208

    TOTAL 3-YEAR LOSSES: $572,573.

    The ERC loses an average of $190,858 every year. This begs the question: Should we spend $800,000 to lose $190,858 every year? Is providing a shuttle bus service from the ERC to The Centre a viable alternative to closing the ERC?

    Also, to be accurate, the city is not broke - now. The 2012 budget that was passed saw to that. Not picking up trash was ever in the plans. As I have stated at council meetings, we played a shell game with the garbage costs by shifting them off property tax bills and onto your now monthly water bills, where they cannot be deducted from your income taxes. Doing so was supposed to make you feel happy because now your property tax bill is less due to the transfer. Taxpayers always have paid for garbage one way or another. Now, you just put it in a different city pocket and lose a tax deduction in doing so.

    • SIE says:

      Elgin did not reduce property taxes. Property taxes went up.

      So where does the money that used to go to refuse collection in property taxes now go?

      Seems to me we are double paying (and more) for this service.

      Stegall won’t answer emails about it.

      • Alan says:

        Speaking of refuse collection, I just bought a couple of lawn stickers for the first time in a while and they were $2.42 each. I swear the last time I bought them, which was in the Spring, they were only $2.00 each total. When did this change or did I just forget?

        • Chuck Keysor says:

          Alan, the sticker increase was in fact part of the tax hike/”revenue diversification” package that the City Council approved last December.

          There are many aspects of this tax increase that should have people up in arms. But one aspect that hasn’t gotten any attention is the fact that the City Administration/Stegall/Council/Mayor say that they need to diversify their income sources, so that the City will be on a stable financial footing and can maintain its top bond ratings. But the reality is, even though the City now draws its revenues from a bevy of new taxes (natural gas, garbage, electrical, sticker fees), ALL of these taxes are still paid by US the taxpayers!

          The new taxes and fees aren’t being taken from Russians, Latvians, and South Elginites that go driving by on the tollway! The vast majority of all these these new taxes and fees come from the same place that the property taxes come from, my pocket and your pocket.

          IF the City wanted to be “OPEN” and “Transparent” with how we are being taxed, they could have simply raised the property tax rate and taken all of that money from us. That is done in many cities by simply “floating the levy”. The City takes as much money as they want, and the tax rate is adjusted to they get the money they demand. But they didn’t want to do that, because then it is totally easy for everyone to look at their property tax bills, and see in an instant how much more money they are paying to the City! That approach is OPEN and Transparent. But then everyone would be mad, and would likely react by wanting to “vote the bums out”.

          So, to elude detection and not raise a public outcry, they created this massive shell game that makes it VERY hard to figure out how much we are paying to the City in taxes! Since most people don’t pay enough attention, they won’t notice how much their taxes have gone up. So, if the taxpayers are unaware, then the council can get away with this. Nice trick, this revenue diversification scheme!

          And for those people who have had their Elgin share of the property taxes go down (mine went down from $961 to $871)this is the sort of thing that the City Council will say, SEE, we lowered your property taxes, aren’t we wonderful, RE-ELECT US! But as is so often the case with politicians, they are only telling a partial truth, which is actually a nice way of saying they are telling a lie. In this case, it will be a BIG lie. The reality is that while property taxes for me went down $90, my over-all tax burden to the City went UP!

          Considering the trash tax and leaf rake-out fees alone, I will pay an EXTRA $183 per year, which is a net increase of $93 per year I pay in taxes. And then put in the NEW electrical tax, the NEW natural gas tax, higher sticker fees, increased sales tax, etc etc etc,,,,, Everyone will be paying LOTS more to support the crazy projects supported by this council.

          Remember, the City wants to “diversify” their revenue sources so that it is hard to figure out how much we really pay in taxes to the City! We all need to realize that because of these shell games, the City is hoping no one will realize we have been ripped off by our mayor and City Council. Elections are next April.

          Chuck

          • SIE says:

            “And for those people who have had their Elgin share of the property taxes go down (mine went down from $961 to $871)this is the sort of thing that the City Council will say, SEE, we lowered your property taxes, aren’t we wonderful”

            Chuck: Where do you live that your Elgin City taxes went down? In Cook County Elgin’s property tax rate went UP from 1.914 to 2.060, an 8% increase.

            Assuming you live in Kane county, if Kane residents saw a decrease and Cook did not that is not right.

            On a dollar basis I am paying 23% more to the city than you are and my house value is pretty low.

          • SIE says:

            I found my answer.

            The Elgin City tax for Kane county went from 1.574 to 1.596, a 1.1% increase.

            So any reduction in taxes paid had to be due to assessed values being lower.

            Everyone needs to realize that the city lied to its property owners. They said property taxes would go down and they did not. The city raised it’s tax rate.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            Hello Sie. I live near downtown, on the west side of the river. The corner of W. Chicago and Jackson Street to be precise.

            Now, to get to the heart of your question as to why my taxes would have decreased, on this year’s tax statement (for year 2011), my house’s fair market value was given as $181,766. The City of Elgin tax rate was $1.596472/$100 assessed valuation.

            The fair market value of my house on my 2011 tax statement (for tax year 2010) was $201,189. So the decrease of my valuation drove down my taxes. The City of Elgin tax rate was $1.574202/$100 assessed valuation.

            So you can see that my tax rate did in fact increase for the taxes I paid this year! My taxes dropped only because of my decreased valuation. And my taxes would have gone down more if the city had not INCREASED the tax rate!

            Now, the City did say that they feared lower tax revenues due to falling property values. But, I think the price of my house is pretty average for Elgin. So, as a general sanity check…. My taxes dropped by $90. As I recall, there are 30,000 taxed properties in Elgin. That number may be way off, but that is what I recall, and this is just a sanity check, so someone correct me.

            But if all 30,000 properties in Elgin each fell by $90 (which can not happen all in one year, because I recall, again, maybe incorrectly, that valuations are examined once every 4 years) but 30,000 houses x $90/house = $2.7million decrease in property taxes. Now, considering 4 year reassessment cycles, it should take a full 4 years for that $2.7million to show up on the City’s bottom line.

            Considering that the CRASH of property values was the supposed reason that the City Council passed these huge tax increases, resulting in a net increase of about $9million in new taxes for this year, and it goes up to $13million next year (when the new utility taxes that started on July 1st 2012 have been in place for a full year) the City for 2013, seems poised to take about $10million more cash from the taxpayers than they need to in order to compensate for the near term decrease in house values. Are you surprised?

            (And before anyone discards my ballpark figuring, please remember that the City’s own budget for 2012 projects a positive cash surplus of $7million for the end of this year! So the City knows they are poised to take in TONS more than they have any right to.)

            Remember, elections are coming in April 2013. Let’s make this a referendum on these rip off new taxes, and vote out everyone that is responsible. Chuck

            Chuck

          • SIE says:

            My major problem is with the fact that the Council and Mr. Stegall said that with the refuse tax now being collected monthly and included on the water bill, the refuse collection fees that previously was taken from property taxes would be removed.

            This obviously did not happen. Property taxes were increased when looking at the cities tax rate.

            So the roughly $162 we paid for refuse collection through property taxes is still there, plus everyone would pay more property tax (assessed values being equal, which for most of Cook County Elgin was the case) with the tax rate increase.

            The council and the City Manager lied to the residents. We shouldn’t have to wait until next election, they should be recalled now.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            Hello Sie. While I agree, I wish there would be some way to purge the council right now, that is not a practical option. Instead of a huge short term effort to recall council members, I hope that you will consider harnessing your energy and frustration by engaging in the upcoming budget cycle and the April council election.

            Putting your energy into stirring up as many people as you can in preparation for the April 2013 election will take longer than a recall effort. But it is a surer path and will be more effective in changing the make-up and possibly, the behaviour of the council.

            I hope you can divide your thinking into short-term and long-term actions. In the short term, PLEASE consider speaking out publicly, at the council sessions, by sending emails of complaint to the council/mayor/city mangager and by writing letters to the editor. All these actions will be vital in preparing the way for the masses to express their anger next April. Part of what emboldens the council to take our money, is the fact that almost no one complains, so more people need to complain TO THE COUNCIL! Another important near term activity will be to engage in the upcoming budget cycle.

            The budget cycle will actually begin in late August, when the strategic plan that the council commissioned in February, will be released. That strategic plan is supposed to set the direction for the fall budget planning. Understanding this plan will be the next key step in battling the council and their budget plans.
            Think of things to FOIA from the City that may shine new light on other ways the City has abused its financial responsibilities.

            Consider your long-term mission to understand the budget and taxing issues and figuring ways to engage as many people as you can for the April 2013 council elections.

            Short-term and long-term strategies may not be as immediately gratifying as a recall effort, but they will be more effective and likely to produce the results that so many of us wish to achieve.

            Chuck

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      ATTENTION EVERYONE UPSET OVER INCREASED TAXES IN ELGIN!!!!!!

      You need to get an over-view of the City’s 2012 budget and see all the new taxes and how they fit into the 2012 City budget. To do so, go the the Elgin OCTAVE website http://www.elginoctave.org and go to the FOIA’d Docs page. Open the PDF called “A breakdown of Elgin’s 2011 overstated budget shortfall and subsequent tax increase”. Pay special attention to the last page.

      This shows in the City’s own document, that property tax revenues were lowered by $1million, but that other taxes were raised by almost $10million this year (maybe over $10million if I accounted for all the new fees, see note below). So we got a NET tax increase of close to $9million!

      It is also vital to note, that by the City’s 2012 budget, they expect to have a positive cash balance at the end of this year of $7million! To put this into perspective, look at the next to last page of this PDF, and see the previous year’s end of year bottom lines. This shows a pattern that is desirable, small surpluses, small deficits, with an average of around $200K positive. But $7million SURPLUS! YIKES! The City’s own budget PROVES that they did not need to institute the garbage tax and a few million of the other taxes. YIKES again!

      Note: This document does not provide a breakout of the revenues raised by increased waste stickers. I couldn’t find out how much that was when I was working on this document. And I haven’t gotten back to it.

      Chuck

      • Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

        Chuck,

        I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to keep us all informed on these taxing issues.

      • paul says:

        Chuck, Elgin city property tax rates were RAISED for this past year. Not lowered.
        That anyone’s property taxes went down is the result of lower property values; not Kaptain and Stegall lowering your property taxes. At least they didn’t lower your property value directly, though indirectly, through bad city government policy, you can certainly partially blame Elgin city government for your declining property values.
        As I have stated before, the diabolical genius of Stegall is that many people will actually give him (and Kaptain) credit for lowered poperty taxes without realizing the lowered taxes are the result of declining property values.
        As I have stated before, some otherwise reasonably intelligent people actually thought their water bills went down - not realizing water bills are now sent out monthly instead of bi-monthly!!!
        Outrage! Life is good, we are getting a Portillo’s. Will Portillo’s accept food stamps?

        • Chuck Keysor says:

          Hello Paul. You are very correct. I had understood during last year’s budget discussions that property taxes would be lowered by virtue of the tax rate being reduced. And MISTAKENLY, I thought that accounted for the $1million less in property taxes that the City was counting on in the 2012 budget. But alas I WAS WRONG! It is now obvious that if that $1million dollar drop in the budget for property tax revenues is even going to happen at all, it will only be because of lowered property values.

          Thanks Paul for correcting me on this. This goes to show that the old saying is correct, that you can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time!

          So everyone can now be even madder, because the City actually raised the property tax rates for everyone, in addition to creating roughly $10million in other new taxes and fees!!!

          Torches and pitchforks anyone???? Chuck

          • SIE says:

            According to Kaptain during his online lunch thing, property tax rates will be reduced next year. Supposedly the rates for next year will be decided in October or November. Based on the timing of this years budget it was too late to do anything for this year.

            We will see if they really do reduce them next year.

  31. Cruex says:

    I am becoming more of the belief that we were lied to on many things from this budget. The so called 3% electric tax and the tax reductions that are not here are just the start. My question is who on this city council cares about lying to the people? Who should be held responsible and when?

    • Terry Gavin says:

      Though it’s not unusual for politicians to lie we’ve reached NEW levels of dishonesty with this city council. With the exception of Councilman Prigge the rest bought into the premise that there was a looming budget deficit “crisis”. Using phrases like diversification of tax revenues away from property taxes, restructuring of tax revenues the majority of this council with the help of the Mayor & City Manager passed the LARGEST tax increase in our city’s history.

      Though we were lied to about property tax reductions and the shifting of the garbage fees to our water bills the worst part about what they did has to be the new utility taxes. These taxes are assessed against every building in the entire city except of course the buildings the city owns. Once U-46 sees the hole in their budget caused by the new energy taxes they will have no choice but to raise their tax levy on us to make up the difference. This will cause all of our property taxes to rise to enormous levels in addition to the deficits they were already carrying on the books.

      Cruex the simple answer to your question about who should be held responsible is simply the elected members of this council. During the next election campaign we all need to vote for people who will repeal most if not all the new taxes and fix the damage caused by these massive taxes.

      • Jules says:

        This chart shows that Elgin Township has one of the highest rates in Kane County. http://www.co.kane.il.us/Treasurer/ptax.htm How can we get as much from our taxes as possible? Should we all get more involved with the schools? Good schools help property values.

        • Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

          Jules, I have to celebrate some family birthdays and work tomorrow but in the next few days I want to share some ironic information with you regarding your post and our former Mayor and Council members. Please stay tuned.

          • SIE says:

            We already know it will be about the lawsuit and how the former Mayor and several council members actually encouraged the lawsuit. We get it.

        • Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

          Hi Jules
          I am going to paste a previous posting I wrote in Feb of 2011 showing how sometimes people like our now former Mayor Schock wanting to get involved with our school system can indirectly lead to a class action lawsuit that last I knew has cost our U46 school system at least 9 million dollars. I believe it still has not come to a conclusion. In my opinion this class action law suit is hurting our property values.

          Common Sense Clarence Hayward
          February 6, 2011 at 6:38 pm

          I was a voracious blogger before the last election to remind the voters how the Mayor and his informal majority wanted to hire Futterman at an initial cost of 44,000 to explore suing OUR OWN SCHOOL DISTRICT.

          The mayor sent a letter to the editor of the paper explaining why he had to do this and my letter was below his as to why it was a STUPID idea.

          This informal majority should not have been fanning the flames of litigation talk. They should have taken the role of fire fighters and tried to douse the sparks of litigation before they took hold and roared into a flaming class action lawsuit by the parents who took up where the city left off and hired Futterman and consequently burned up 9 million and counting tax payer dollars up in smoke.

          Common Sense came too late as one of the informal majority withdrew support so the formal vote would have been a tie back then with only six on the council at that time and was tabled.

          Council people Walters, Figueroa, and Rodgers all lost their bid for election despite having a total of about 33 years on the council.

          Now Mayor Schock is left. I believe we have to hold our politicians accountable for the FOOLISH IDEA TO SUE OUR OWN SCHOOL DISTRICT AND THE DAMAGE THAT HAS BEEN DONE.

          Councilman Steffen is now up for reelection and he was NOT on the council back in 2004 when this all went down. However, his lawyer wife Kerry Kelly was supporting the lawsuit. (see her quote below)

          Now I have to wonder if he also should be voted out for not stifling his lawyer wife and her litagation talk as well. I wonder as a lawyer himself, why he could not see what was going to come of this?

          I like all of the people in this story personally (I never met Kerry Kelly, Councilman Steffen’s lawyer wife so I don’t know if I like her) but people who should know better need to be held accountable for what this law suit has done to U46, teachers, students, other staff, and school programs.

          The irony of the situation is it still makes perfect common sense to me to have school boundaries that allow more students to go their neighborhood school and not be bused farther away from their homes especially in bad winter weather that is not bad enough to close the school for the day. After school activities are much more convenient when they are at your neighborhood school as well.

          You can read in a July, 2004 Daily Herald article - Elgin Won’t Sue U46 - the whole story as I have shared it in this blog.

          http://www.isbe.net/news/2004/newsclips/040716.htm#el

          Read the quote by Kerry Kelly (Councilman Steffen’s wife) in the article and you will see why I wish Councilman Steffen would have stifled her so to speak.

          Her quote below -

          “It’s great if the city is on board, but we’re still here if they’re not on board,” said Elgin resident and U-46 parent Kerry Kelly, who is not a potential litigant but supports the parents’ efforts.

          Common Sense research by googling Futterman law firm whould have shown these people that they were dealing with Master Chessman and the locals were merely pawns in their hands.

          Now they go laughing all the way to the bank probably singing “We’re in the money” at the tax payers and U46 expense.

          Mayor Schock needs to go because of this. I am on the fence about Councilman Steffen.

          Have you been Schocked enough lately?

          Postscript: Mayor Schock lost his election to now Mayor Kaptain. The day after the election results Mike Bailey who writes for http://www.bocajump.com emailed myself, Clarence Hayward to inform me I have lost all privileges of posting on bocajump.com for breaking the rules. The rules were never posted and I was never previously informed I broke the rules.

          Could it be that my posts in Elginite.org and Daily Harold and Courier leading up to the Mayor’s election bid could have been the deciding factor to kick me off bocajump when the city pays boca at least $39,000 for advertising and Mayor Schock lost by a few hundred votes?

          I think I helped him lose a few votes reminding the voters of what he did above.

          At the web page address below you will read about some of the above or relatives of the above, Kerry Kelly, and Mayor Schock’s wife, who now are hoping to eventually use our school tax dollars for a charter school.

          http://couriernews.suntimes.com/news/12699875-418/group-takes-initiative-to-bring-charter-school-to-elgin.html

          A few paragraphs from the Sun Times Media article below -

          Launching an idea

          That “handful” of Elgin residents includes Moeller; Schock; Kari White; Kerry Kelly, wife of City Councilman John Steffen; and Laurel Warren, wife of former City Councilman Mike Warren, according to Schock.

          “Our commonality is we all care about education and we all care about Elgin,” Schock said. “We want to look at options for the children of Elgin.”

          Both Schock and her husband, former Elgin Mayor Ed Schock, spent their careers as educators in U46. Moeller also has a background in education, the councilwoman said, and both she and Kelly have young children.

          So Kerry Kelly who was totally behind the parents group suing U46 which last I knew has cost taxpayers 9 million is currently exploring along with the wife of Mayor Schock the possibility to get U46 to go along with a charter school which would entail more tax payer money.

          While Council Woman Moeller was running for council office I tried to find out what her opinion had been regarding the Mayor and parents views of hiring Futterman. I expected she would have had an opinion since her husband is a teacher in another school district and with young children who would someday attend school I thought surely she must have had an opinion.

          Alas, she was totally involved in her young children at the time and had no opinion she told me and yet now she is part of the group wanting a charter school. Looks like going from totally cold to hot on school issues in a period of years.

          There is my response to you Jules. I appreciate if you read it. I imagine over the coming months there is going to be an effort to raise interest in a charter school. I just wish the same group raising the interest could have used common sense back in 2004 and put out sparks of litigation so 9 million dollars of tax payer money could be spent for the kids rather than the lawyers.

          Common Sense Clarence Hayward - A conservative voice in our Elgin Community

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        Jules, two points:

        1) Schools may have some affect upon property values, but I will ask you to consider that our property values have gone way down in the last 4 years, without any changes in the quality of our schools in that same period. These other forces affecting the value of your house are vastly beyond any individual’s control. So I hope you don’t get to eager to expend lots of energy on the schools with the hope of improving your property values…..

        2) Comparing the property taxes collected by Kane County is interesting, but consider all of Elgin’s new taxes that will NOT be connected to the property taxes at all, such as garbage tax, electric tax, natural gas tax, leaf tax, liquor tax, increased sales tax, telecommunications tax, storm water run-off tax, etc….. Without lots of research to see the full tax structure of these other cities, you can’t really get a fair picture for comparing taxes.

        And DON’T think for a second that the City of Elgin will help you compare anything. Last fall, when they brought up the garbage tax, they produced a list of other Fox Valley cities, showing how much they pay for trash fees. They wanted to make Elgin’s new trash tax look like a bargain. But when I looked at these cities, I found the City did not make fair comparisons in all cases. For example, there was one city that the City cited a high tax for garbage, but it turned out that fee was for a huge volume of trash, and that City also allowed you to only put out a little bag, with a sticker on it for a low cost, so you only paid for what you put out. And if you didn’t put out anything, you paid nothing. The point here, it is hard to make comparisions, and you can’t count on the City to make them for you. They are entirely devoted to saying whatever fits their needs.

        Chuck

  32. LFG says:

    What are your thoughts on Anonymous postings in comment sections of articles and on blogs?

    NPR had an interesting story about a newspaper being sued yet is protecting the identify of a user who posted slanderous comments in an Idaho paper. Other newspapers (like the Trib) are forcing commenters to log-in with their facebook account only, so there is a name and accountability behind the words written.

    I’m all too familiar with this issue in 2009 - current via Daily Herald, The Courier-News, TribLocal, BocaJump and of course The Elginite… thankfully some of the vial comments are detered now that the some sites have started a online paid subscription service requirement for users and comment posters. (Hey, that’s a novel idea for ya RS!)

    http://www.npr.org/2012/07/31/157665460/shield-anonymous-commenters-more-papers-say-no

    • Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

      LFG,

      A few days ago I sent a compliment as well as a few thoughtful suggestions to the webmaster at cityofelgin.org website. Would you know if webmaster saw them? I have no indication one way or another.

      I think the Calendar font would be more noticeable in same font as News and Announcement to it’s immediate left. Right now it is white and even though it was right in front of me I didn’t see it for awhile. When going to contact staff and trying to get a staff email address I would prefer to be able to cut and paste into my hotmail a staff email address rather than using that gmail extra step. The third suggestion is irrelevant now because it was a time sensitive, minor typo issue.

      I hope for the $19,000 we can get a quick follow up from the web master. Forgive me if for some reason it did not go through. My hotmail shows I sent it 7-30-12. Sorry if in this digital age I get impatient but at least I compliment fast as well.

      • LFG says:

        Thanks for the comments CSCH ;) The Webmaster account is managed between staff in the IT and City Management departments. So indeed it is read and viewed but to my knowledge there is not an official policy about replies - I’ll be sure to bring that up for feedback. With my company working on this smaller project for 18 months, it’s great to finally get the new host and design out there for the public. Our negations with the vender about a year ago saved the city $17,000 alone and staff has really embraced the new host and technology on the backend. ;) There is already a list of design and content tweaks for August (I’ll add your comments as well) and I’m personally excited that the Licenses and Permits process can get online with ePayments before the end of the year. That alone will save a lot of time and hassle for our residents and businesses. Have you registered for a MyElgin login yet? There is a great app out there called Community Connection that keeps the conversations going between users to promote ideas and suggestions for Elgin.

        • Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

          LFG,

          I just added a comment regarding the street performers in the My/Elgin login. I really like that! Great idea with the ability to have those discussions on a variety of subjects!

  33. RS says:

    There is a very high bar in this country for defamation/slander/libel, which is why such lawsuits are very rare and lawsuits brought by public figures, i.e. politicians, is almost unheard of. If you’re a politician, you should expect to be criticized and accused of eating cats, etc. People have their first amendment rights–including anonymous speech–and the courts have protected it, case after case.