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November open thread [2012]

7 November 2012 Elgin Illinois 67 Comments

The Fox River The Fox River (Photo by Elgin Town).

November open thread. Discuss.

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67 Responses to “November open thread [2012]”

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  1. RS says:

    As I said on FB, holy cow! they’re going to blow $400K on a dam feasibility study!

    “Staff expects to used $400,000 for a hydroelectric dam feasibility study, which could provide the city with its own source of renewable energy.”

    http://elgin.bocajump.com/Articles/elgin-council-begins-budget-deliberations-extra-revenues-to-be-returned-through-lower-property-tax

    • Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

      RS,

      I share your concern regarding $400,000 for a dam study.

      I was at the 5-7pm budget meeting last night and I did not hear any discussion about the $400,000 dam feasibility. I believe we will hear more in one of the future budget presentations. I emailed City Manager Steagall just now asking him to expand on that in future budget meetings.

      Common Sense Clarence Hayward

      “A conservative voice in the Elgin community since 1971″

    • paul says:

      Who knew your trees are actually public property! They are.

      ” Elgin’s proposed ordinance would require people to get a free permit before cutting down trees, submit a tree preservation plan and replace trees based on a formula specific to the type of tree being cut.’”

      “That’s part of what government does,” Kaptain said. “It protects the rights of individuals, but it also has to protect the rights of the entire community.”

      The government is protecting individual rights by denying individual rights!!!

      “We’re targeting protecting a natural resource here in the community that is threatened,” Moeller said.

  2. Elgin Patriot says:

    Any Elginite who has wants to see another Elgin City Council member elected in April who won’t vote to raise taxes and fight for every tax payer dollar should check out Cody Holt. As an Elginite for all 65 years of my life I can’t wait to see this young man represent us. I was skeptical at first but I contacted him to see what he is about and WOW oh WOW what a young, smart and knowledgable young man. ELGIN NEEDS MORE CONSERVATIVES ON THE COUNCIL! Here is his website.

    http://www.codyholt.com

    • One Vote says:

      He’s 20 years old. Are you sure about this guy?

      • Elgin Patriot says:

        Well you will get 4 votes for a the 4 year term this year but I do suggest you look into him. I think he will surprise you at the debates and throughout this upcoming election I messaged him and we met for lunch and he was very knowledgeable. Thats at least my take on Cody.

        • michael says:

          I agree. He’s 20 years old. I understand that he may have some great ideas, and most likely is very smart. But, at 20 years old…his lack of experience and age will show when the other council members start talking to him and help sway him their way. It’s a great idealistic age, but…for me, I’d rather vote for someone with more years under their belt, and with more life experience.

          I tried to visit the website, but it was simply a 2 color page with nothing else.

          • Elgin Patriot says:

            Well thats all I asked Micahel. I was impressed he had a website. Which other council members have one? Though I don’t agree with everything he has my vote already.

      • Craig says:

        Is a guy with MORE experience in POLITICS what you really want?? =D

        And I’m not saying I know, like, dislike, or have any opinion of Cody (because I don’t), I’m just saying, experience doesn’t mean anything if you have experience in the wrong things. Or if you don’t learn from it.

    • paul says:

      I suggest Cody rethink his convoluted thinking on ILLEGAL immigration.
      He is clearly Okay with illegal immigrants saying they shouldn’t live in fear of facing consequences for their ILLEGAL activity. Saying illegals fly American flags and sing the “national anthems” (in Spanish?).
      BUT, anyone who hires them should be fined!!!!
      Kind of like the Obama policy - it is okay that they are here but make it illegal for them to work here!!!! Maybe not illegal - the fine really being a business tax.
      P.S. Cody, reform is (liberal) code for amnesty. Stop speaking in code.

  3. Bob says:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/suburbs/gurnee/ct-met-patricia-fix-wins-20121108,0,3238859.story

    In Gurnee and Lake County they prosecute for stealing campaign signs. In Elgin they just think it’s a humorous shenanigan. When is somebody going to go to the city council and ask them why police won’t enforce the law when it comes to State Senator Michael Noland?

  4. SIE says:

    I’ll repost this. As a follow up Councilwoman Powell said she would look in to this.

    I just think it’s funny that Stegall says our property taxes have been lowered and will again be lower this year. I think he is talking about total taxes collected or some other convulated way of thinking to validate his quote.

    FWIW my property tax rates, and they certainly have not been reduced:

    2009 1.826
    2010 1.914 (a 4.8% increase)
    2011 2.060 (a 7.6% increase)

    From the Daily Herald regarding Elgin lowering property taxes:

    “City Manager Sean Stegall said the third consecutive year of property tax reduction is consistent with city council policy. The goal laid out in the 2012-2016 financial plan was for a 25-percent reduction in the property tax levy by the fifth year.”

    Huh? I’m pretty sure the tax rate for Elgin on my property tax bill increased last year, not to mention the previous two.

    Can this guy just blatantly lie and nothing is done about it?

    I’d email him to ask for clarification but he doesn’t respond. And you can’t call him, you get his secreretary.

  5. Chuck Keysor says:

    Hello Sie. Tish did ask about property tax rates at last night’s council session. The reply was that the rates are not what is the issue. It is how many dollars the City collects from you. Because of falling valuations, the levy did float, in the upwards direction, so that the budgeted sum of about $32million for property tax could be obtained.

    So you will be asked, how many dollars did you pay to Elgin for 2009, 2010 and 2011? The assertion was the amount of dollars out of your pockets to the City should have gone down. Can you post your dollars paid for those years? That will allow the fundamental question you have to be answered based upon last night’s discussion between Tish and Sean. Chuck

  6. Chuck Keysor says:

    Now this is the important part of this “property tax relief” deception. By the 2012 budget, the City did in fact lower their income from property taxes by $1million. However, in the 2012 budget the City created the following NEW taxes: Natural gas, Electrical Utility, Trash, alcoholic beverage and the leaf rake-out tax. And they increased the Elgin sales tax from .75% to 1.25%.

    All in all, for the year 2012, the City decreased property taxes by $1million, but at the same time those new taxes they created raked in about $10million! The NET increase to Elgin taxpayers under this council’s 2012 budget is about $9million!!!! YIKES!

    So if someone wants to get your vote by saying they got you property tax relief, they are playing you as a fool. Their claim is a classic political whopper of a 1/2 truth. Actually if you look at the percentages, it is only a 1/10th truth!

    AND more important, is that the City created a $7 million surplus in the 2012 budget. When I complained last April to the council that we had gone from an imagined/fabricated deficit, to an on the books surplus of $7million, I was told, don’t worry, that will balance out in future years, there is just an adjustment period. But in the new 2013 budget that is currently under discussion, there is a $10million surplus!!!! And that is ADDED to the $7 million from 2012!

    At last night’s council/budget session, Sean discussed the surplus, and said it isn’t really a surplus. It is “working capital”. The working capital is kept on hand to provide for the relief of cash flow issues. When asked about this by Tish Powell, Sean said this surplus is nothing new. When Tish followed up, and wanted to know how big this was compared to previous year’s surpluses, Sean hemmed and hawed a bit, and then said, well maybe the surplus has been $5million before. But if you look back to 2006 anyway, you will find that is not true. Doing a line by line comparison of those budgets you will see the “Excess of Revenues” line to be:
    2013: +$9.95million
    2012: +$7million
    2011: +$652,000
    2010: +$918,448
    2009: -$1.22million
    2008: -$1.66million
    2007: +$2.22 million
    2006: +$554,099

    Those numbers directly contradict what Sean told the council last night. Now, in his defense, if there is a big hidden pot of gold that is hidden off of the budget, which may be the fabled “rainy day” fund, that may be what he had in mind. In the March 2009 Near West Neighbors Candidate Forum, which is on You Tube, Bob Gilliam stated that the City had a $15million rainy day fund. And, you can see that in 2009, we finished the year with a deficit of $1.22million. But that rainy day fund could have been dipped into to cover that year’s deficit. However the City accumulated so much extra cash is another matter. But in terms of operating on a year to year budgetary basis, going back through 2006, it is NOT standard practice for the City to suck in surpluses of $7million and almost $10million. Everyone should be outraged!

    Lastly, while what Sean said last night about having a surplus to provide “working capital” to cover for months when the City may have only $20million of cash on hand, but $23million in obligations, that on first pass sounds nice and tidy. But the reality, the City does NOT have to pay its bills in 10 or 30 days. Ninety day payment terms are pretty common, if not typical. And for businesses, when they have “receivables” on the books, those can be used to establish a revolving line of credit with local banks to cover “cash-flow” issues. Certainly with Elgin’s highly vaunted AAA bond rating, and the ability to levy all the taxes they need, they can get a line of credit, without having to be sitting on top of an extra $17million taxpayer’s cash! (That is combining the $7million surplus of 2012 and the $10million surplus of 2013.)

    Chuck

    • Terry Gavin says:

      I was also at the budget meeting last night & heard the continued
      “praising” of the city’s reducing of our property taxes but avoiding the truth that they’ve also raised & created new taxes that far exceed
      ANY property tax reduction. I’d also add that the council’s new taxes by their very nature will force other governmental units, such as U-46
      ECC & Gail Borden Library, to raise our property taxes to cover Elgin’s new garbage tax, utility taxes & proposed Stormwater Utility Tax (Rainwater Tax). So much for the city’s effort to lower our city property tax while forcing other local governments to raise theirs.

      Right now I don’t need a campaign web site I’ve got hundreds of signatures of citizens supporting my effort to get back on the council as a representative of the taxpayers/citizens.

      I’ve also posted on here some of the planks of my platform, including
      repealing of the Garbage Tax, Utility Taxes & stopping the “Rainwater Tax”, along with repeal of the EBL. I’m the only prospective candidate out of the many who’ve picked up petitions to make these positions public here on this blog site.

      All of Chuck’s #’s above are accurate & truthful but yet when we questioned the city council last year about these inequities we were
      told simply our #’s were wrong but you see we’re using their own #’s, so who’s wrong here. It’s not just Sean saying our property taxes have been reduced, the Mayor has said it & other members of the council have said it also.

      Since the council is Sean’s boss, they should tell him to stop saying that if it’s not true! Unless of course 2 of the 3 incumbents are going to try to win re-election by telling us that they lowered our property taxes.

      • SIE says:

        Terry; for the vast majority of Cook County Elgin homeowners there has been no reduction in property taxes on a dollar basis over the last three years. From ‘09 to ‘10 assessed values did drop but based on my own situation I have to think most still paid more in actual dollars. I know I did.

        From ‘10 to ‘11 assessed values stayed the same for probably 99% of homeowners as it was not a reassessment year. Couple that with the tax rate increase and most everyone paid more in actual dollars.

        So please make sure the council knows this. Of course as you say additional taxes and fees also hurt Elgin residents but property taxes did not even go down as Stegall keeps saying to make them more palatable.

  7. SIE says:

    Of course the dollar amounts of my property taxes went up each of the last three years. Assessed values did go down from ‘09 to ‘10 but they stayed the same ‘10 to ‘11.

    And I challenged my assessment to get it lowered in ‘10 and it was about the lowest of anyones in the neighborhood. Most did not have it lowered nearly as much in ‘10 and practically no ones changed from ‘10 to ‘11.

    Stegall is a true politician. He twists the facts to meet his agenda.

  8. Chuck Keysor says:

    Hello SIE. I hope you can make the effort to watch last night’s council session on-line (or on cable). You will see that all Tish new about was your tax rate. From the discussion it appears as though she did not know that your dollar out-lay had in fact gone up.

    That discussion concluded with the observation that the City was the victim of its long-term touting of the tax rate staying fixed at $1.92/$100 assessed valuation for so many years. They agreed that the City needed to work to educate the citizens that the tax rate is not the same as the $$$$ paid.

    I know that sounds crazy, but we have heard council people and a former mayor claim taxes hadn’t gone up for 19 (or whatever) years when that was not true at all, only the rate had been unchanged. Even some posters here on the Elginite have yelled at other posters insisting that taxes had stayed flat, because the rate was unchanged. Hey, that is crazy I know, but because there has been so much idiocy on that matter for so many years, it was easy for Tish and Sean to end that discussion based on the assumption your concern was only over the rate.

    Please reconnect with Tish and tell her that your $$$$ outlays over time have increased. I am sure she will follow up on your behalf at next week’s council meeting. Or better still, it would be great if you went to the council yourself, and made your point to the council during the recognition of person’s present!

    Chuck

  9. SIE says:

    I just watched and I couldn’t even hear Colleen Lavery who did most of the explaining. Steffen mentioned his taxes going down but he lives in Kane county, correct?

    Hanover Township in Cook County was reassessed for 2010. My homes value went down 19%, but because of multipliers and whatever other magic they do my equalized assessed value (EAV) did not go down any where close to that and with the cities increased tax rate I paid more in actual dollars to the city than I did in 2009. And with the value staying the same from ‘10 to ‘11 and with the cities rate increasing I paid more in 2011 than I did in 2010.

    I know Cook County is a small portion of Elgin so perhaps the Kane County residents somehow managed to pay less in actual dollars and that negated the additional amounts Cook County residents paid. Good for them, bad fr us,

    I let Ms. Powell know about my situation but I doubt it will make any difference to what Elgin will do with its budget.

    This city has gone over the deep end when it comes to taxes and fees and even if the entire council is replaced I doubt very much will change in these regards. Once the train has left the station it is difficult to stop it.

    • bennie says:

      Time to unseat EVERY BODY on the council who are drinking the city koolaid this is a sad commentary that the city manager can either lie or mis-state the truth and continue to hold his high paying job!!!. Time for ALL of the GODS to be dethroned this city is going no where fast. I would like to see some honesty and genuine effort on behalf of the leadership for the greater good of it’s citizens.

  10. Chuck Keysor says:

    Hello SIE. Hmm, yes, I do recall that Colleen’s microphone seemed to be turned off for much of the evening.

    Terry Gavin has had the same situation as you, and he too is in Cook County.

    As to trying to change how the City handles taxes, what you say is a common train of thought. And maybe you are right. I have been called many things in my life, but one that comes up with troubling regularity is that I am a foolish optimist, or a Don Quihotee (sorry, I have no clue how to spell it…. One friend addresses his emails to me as “Don Q.”) And perhaps that is true.

    But there are times when people are able to make positive change, and I will perhaps foolishly press on, and encourage you to do the same. (I have not surprisingly, made up my favorite old sayings, which is “it is better to have false hope, than no hope……”) Speaking to the entire council directly is still the best thing you can do in the short term, and then in the medium term to work to change the council.

    Your point about even a complete change of council making no difference, COULD also be true. That is because the liberal outlooks, and greed (as manifested in upper management SKY HIGH pay and stupendous pensions) are institutionalized within the management structure of the City. And with so many council members who simply want to rubber-stamp the proposals of management, there is no force present that even imagines there is even a need for change. And many on the council truly do believe the present operation of the City management IS wonderful. These fundamental issues can only change with a new council, which would ultimately lead to changing out the management of the City. Not changing for the sake of change alone, but with the mind of trying to reconfigure the spirit of city hall. But that is another topic, though it would be key to have the right objective in redesigning the make-up of City Hall. But without an intentional and correct redesign, which can not happen without first changing the council, you are right, nothing will change.

    Chuck

  11. Terry Gavin says:

    Great comments by all of you. Chuck is right SIE I not only have lived in Cook Cty., Hanover Twp, City of Elgin for 21 years & our taxes to the city, U-46, etc., have gone up almost every year. Last year during the budget process I dug up 17 years of my property tax
    statements & found 15 of those years my taxes went up by different amounts & the other 2 were level. This also occured while I was on the city council for 4 years but we paid much less in property tax per $1,000 then Kane Cty. residents because they had a higher rate for residential then commercial while Cook Cty. was the opposite.

    Last year SIE we all got hit with a massive increase of 20+% & I argued with the Mayor & council that we were paying more to the city then ever but they ignored me & others. The main reason our taxes have been jumping up so much is that Cook Cty. is cutting the Homeowner Exemption deduction by substanial amounts so even with the smaller EAV we pay more.

    I also agree with Bennie & Chuck that we MUST replace 2 of the 3 incumbents as well as take the 2 open seats to reach the majority of 5 out of 9 total council seats. This is a daunting task because you need strong candidates who know the issues but the field looks like it will be very large next Spring. When Mayor Kelly & I won in 1995 along with Councilwoman Yearman we were only 3 of 7 but we did slow down the “liberal” tax & spenders by battling over every big issue.
    We can do that again but we need voter turnout to defeat the big taxing incumbents. If we accomplish this task we’ll be in a strong position to finish the job in 2015 during the next Mayoral race. If we fail it will be more of this same extreme tax & spend garbage we’ve got today. Never give up or else you become a “slave” to the government. I will NOT comply & will stand up to resist till I can no longer resist! Please join us in our effort to take back our city government because “Enough is Enough”!

    Terry G

  12. SIE says:

    OK for complete disclosure I have to say us saps…err residents of Cook County have been the victim of the stupid property tax system. Over the past few years they have overhauled it to make the residential bare more of the brunt and give businesses a break.

    So coupled with Elgin’s tax rate going up that is why many Cook County resident have paid more on a dollar basis.

    Tish Powell told me her Kane County property taxes went down 7% and 10% in terms of dollars paid. So good for Kane County residents.

    I still want Stegall to stop saying all Elgin taxpayers saw their taxes go down. We may only be 20% of the cities population but we still should count.

    And maybe the city should specifcally look at its Cook County tax rate. I know it is one of the highest in the entire county. Going by memory it is much larger than nearby towns such as Hoffman and Streamwood and about twice as large as Schaumburg.

  13. Gibster says:

    Would the public be interested in supporting a Kickster campaign to raise funds to automate one elevator and restore the clock on the corner of the Elgin Tower Building? (Read the C-N article below)

    Thoughts Welcome! We need all the ideas we can get to save this landmark. The City shouldn’t be held responsible to save it if the foundation can’t meet their safety commitments for 2015, or entrust it to the DNA to manage, etc.

    http://couriernews.suntimes.com/16173580-417/tower-building-more-tenants-but-some-improvement-projects-linger.html

    • Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

      Gibster,

      My family has big college tuition bills to fund so I would not be interested unless it was for very a minimal amount such as $5 to Kickster. If you multiply $5 by every adult in Elgin that would probably equal more than they need.

      I would also urge the Stickling Foundation to start charging at least some amount of rent to everyone in the building they are giving free rent to so that could then go to the elevator repairs.

      There are so many clocks in Elgin with all the cell phones we have that I can’t see spending what I believe would be $10,000 for the clock repairs. Sorry if I am off on that figure. When I was at the historical presentation meeting I did not write the figure down.

      Perhaps selling Tower buttons similar to what the Elgin Veterans Memorial did for the second phase of the Veterans Memorial by the library could go towards the elevators?

      Common Sense Clarence Hayward

      “A conservative voice in the Elgin community since 1971″

    • RS says:

      The foundation needs to open its books.

      • paul says:

        “The foundation needs to open its books.”

        Are they closed?
        Sell the building to the city of Elgin. The city of Elgin could turn it into a multi-unit ROPE housing. The renovation might be too pricey though so after the city buys it they can board up all the windows just like they did with the Stegall cobblestone on W. Chicago St.
        OR the city could give the building to Art Space along with many millions of dollars and it can be a low income Art Space Tower residence like the former Sears building!

        Sell buttons??? Think big or go home.

      • Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

        RS,

        I agree the foundation needs to open it’s books.

        Here is an address for a Courier News article from December, 2010 that makes reference to Councilman Steffen resigning his position on the Stickling Foundation.

        http://couriernews.suntimes.com/news/2972705-418/building-foundation-downtown-elgin-rady.html

        An excerpt is below from the article.

        “I resigned on Friday, as there were some discussions between the foundation and the city of Elgin regarding the Tower Building, and I was at that point in a conflict situation,” Steffen stated in an e-mail.

        Common Sense Clarence Hayward

        “A conservative voice in the Elgin community since 1971″

        • Chuck Keysor says:

          I am curious as to why they should open their books, when they are not a taxpayer supported organization. I do know that 990 forms for not-for-profits (or at least some are)are available on-line. But I have no clue as to the rules, and possibly someone can provide some knowledge based background.

          I do see it as a clear consequence of our regulatory mania, that forcing the Tower Building to have state-mandated automatic elevators and City mandated sprinklers could push the Stickling Foundation to have to sell the building. As Paul has noted, to fix and then make the governmentally ordered mandates could well make the building not worth anyone’s bother. If one asks, is it worth knocking down such a landmark because they have manual elevators? Is the remote chance that someone would die in a fire in that building because of no sprinklers worth demolishing such an iconic building? I say it isn’t.

          We as individuals and as a society do dangerous and crazy things all the time for no benefit to anybody, because we think they are fun (white water rafting, sky diving, rock climbing, unprotected sex, etc) or meet some supposedly great need (going into outer space, invading other countries when we weren’t attacked, etc). So here is a low low risk building, and we have to demand that we increase is level of safety by some tiny fraction beyond any possible justifiable rate of return, it makes no sense.

          Chuck

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            PS: I just got done reading the Courier article that Clarence linked to, and the matter of opening the books for the Stickling Trust, was to have been required by the City in exchange for getting help from the City. That is reasonable. But since the Trust told the City to get lost, I don’t know why anyone should demand that they open their books. Chuck

          • RS says:

            It was suggested that they use Kickstarter to solicit funds from the public. Of course it is up to the people giving them money whether they want to see the books or not. Personally I would never give money to any organization if I cannot see their financial statements.

            But aside from that, I don’t see why they can’t finance the upgrade to the new elevators. Just the savings from no longer having to employ elevator operators should cover the payments.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            Rick, the cost of operating the elevator is beans (unless they must now provide healthcare coverage for the operator)! It is a very low wage job. If I recall properly, there was a young man who had been given free office space that was running the operator at one time. I assumed he was doing it in exchange for his office space, though I may be wrong. Chuck

    • One Vote says:

      Speaking of restoration projects, I am so pleased with the authentic restoration of the currency exchange/cut rate car insurance office at Grove and Kimball. The place has been restored to its 1990 splendor.
      And I’m so glad they kept the pylon sign.
      It’s a symbol of Elgin’s true beauty right in the heart of the public palace district.

  14. wilson says:

    My question is WHY the foundation has no money to maintain the building? If the foundations endowment has been drained then it sounds like mismanagement to me and the director should be fired.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Or maybe the foundation invested money in CDs at the bank, and now with the bail out of the banks, and mismanagement of our nation’s fiscal policy by pumping billions of dollars into the economy through Quantitative Easing 1, 2 and the now open-ended 3, that will hold interest rates at near zero for at least through 2015, resulting in the foundation being brought to its knees. But don’t cry mismanagement when there are so many possible problems beyond the fault of the trust. (They already sold the Professional Building to raise cash.)

      Or to add to Paul’s suggestions, maybe the tower building management should tell the Fed’s they want to research solar powered clocks, and a wind powered elevators, and the Feds will cough up $500 million to bail them out. Chuck

    • paul says:

      ” If the foundations endowment has been drained then it sounds like mismanagement ”

      Millions of real-estate ventures have gone bust in the past few years.
      The Tower building is 80 years old. It has single pane windows, steam heat, no air-conditioning, antiquated elevator and imagine the expense of doing exterior work. Next time you walk by there look up and imagine the damage any of the exterior facade would do if it became detached with age and fell off the building. It is my understanding they sold the Professional building to specifically fund exterior maintenance on the Tower.
      Modernizing 80 year old buildings is often so cost prohibitive that building new is cheaper. There are vacancies there now. Allowing a few charitable rent free occupants costs little to nothing in otherwise unoccupied space.
      The foundation might be worthy of some commendation for doing what it has done so far and NOT yet having walked away from this building forcing the city’s hand in providing taxpayer funded maintenance in the name of public safety or taxpayer funded necessary demolition.
      The foundation is subject to same economic forces the rest of us in the private sector are - limited funds and no taxpayers to fund extravagant public socialist buildings. When the well runs dry, the well is dry. The foundation can’t go get a second job.

      I am grateful I the taxpayer haven’t been stuck with any bills yet on that building. But I’m seeing some writing on the wall were I will be stuck in the future. Where do you see it going with cost prohibitive State mandated elevator upgrades and cost prohibitive city mandated sprinkler system among myriad other mandated rules and regulations?

      Is Atlas shrugging?

      • wilson says:

        Again…. the director should be fired. We are asking the same question the city is wanting to know. WHERE is the money going? Everything rises and falls on leadership. I for one dont want to be in a building with shady elevators and no sprikler systems. I love how people complain about the gov regulations but if someone dies they want to hold the city responsible.

        • paul says:

          “Again…. the director should be fired.”

          The director is none of your business.

          “WHERE is the money going?”

          WHAT money? The money they get from rent goes to pay property taxes, water bills and standard maintenance. There is NO MONEY beyond that. The elevator works fine and is State inspected regularly. In the past 80 years they didn’t have a “spikler” system. Now it’s a death trap!!!
          Mr. Wilson, tear that building down.

          Actually I prefer boarding it up. It would fit right in with the rest of downtown. Get some tumbleweeds to blow up and down Grove and rent the entire downtown out to Hollywood as a movie prop for apocalyptic future about sustainability.

          • One Vote says:

            It can do zombie night without makeup.

          • bennie says:

            This is wonderful who can get the hollywood ball a rollingI’ll bring the tumble weed,that’s about as good as it gets. The city of Elgin’s goose is cooked done stick a fork in it. This town is completely out of controy we have gone in the tank in every way the seventies were better in many ways than what we have now. It’s about time someone can C how poorly the city leaders are running this town into the ground while wildly spending OUR money on the sillist things. Just take a look at the Randall Road corridor north and south when you get to Elgin there is a black hole go figure it’s Elgin. We are always spending money for studies to tell the people paid to make these decisions what to think. In my opinion there are too many top heavy mouth pieces making dumb decisions for the rest of us. Time to unload these fat cats and replace them with common sense thinkers and lower salaries.

          • paul says:

            One needs to sit back and contemplate all the opportunities squandered. Elgin didn’t build Randall rd. Randall developed despite (in spite!) of Elgin. Look at Geneva, Batavia, St.Charles, Algonquin, even S. Elgin. That Home Depot is hanging on is amazing while the only store open in the old Walmart complex is a Liquor store (hope they have good security).
            Look at the casino - no hotel or convention center yet they put up the biggest tent I’d ever seen to hold televised boxing events! Like a vein of gold Elgin skimmed the surface of while leaving the mother lode buried.
            You have to walk downtown to fully appreciate the empty store fronts.

  15. One Vote says:

    According to The Courier the U-46 lawsuit costs are at $16.8 million and still rising. You could build a couple of elementary schools for that kind of money.
    Clarence can fill you in on the case.

    • Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

      When I read back in 2004 that U46 wanted to send more students to their LOCAL schools and not have to bus so many I thought that made common sense.

      Our Mayor Schock was opposed to the new boundary plan and had an informal majority vote lined up to hire the Futterman Law Firm at a cost of 44,000 for a possible lawsuit against OUR OWN SCHOOL DISTRICT.

      The Mayor sent a letter to one of the local papers explaining why he had this position. My letter explaining why it was a bad idea was under his letter. Shortly after, the informal majority lost a member and so it did not go to a vote.

      The parents group took up with Futterman and the sparks of litigation are roaring like a California forest fire out of control with no water in sight to put it out and a current price tag of almost 16.8 million dollars to the tax payers.

      Why would the mayor want to do this when he could google Futterman Law Firm and see the millions and millions they cost the Rockford school district and their taxpayers a number of years earlier?

      In the future council elections as I watched millions and millions of OUR tax payer dollars go up in smoke to the lawyers I made it my mission to post under council election articles a reminder of this once informal majority and their FOOLISH idea to consider hiring Futterman for a possible law suit against OUR OWN SCHOOL DISTRICT led by Mayor Schock.

      Despite those four who were an informal majority having a total of some 40 cumulative years between them serving on the council not one of them got reelected except Mayor Schock when he ran unopposed on the ballot.

      When he ran against Councilman Kaptain I reminded voters in the blogs of Mayor Schock’s FOOLISH idea in 2004 and with the help of myself and many, many others we had a new Mayor Kaptain.

      The almost 16.8 million dollars cost to U46 could educate a lot of kids of all races in U46.

      Can you imagine what the costs to the city would have been if the city had gotten involved in this FOOLISH law suit?

      You can read in a July, 2004 Daily Herald article - Elgin Wont Sue U46

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

      I think we need more people with common sense on the city council.

      Common Sense Clarence Hayward
      “A conservative voice in the Elgin community since 1971”

  16. RS says:

    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20121112/news/711129717/

    The Central Area TIF district is the city’s most successful one, though it has suffered in recent years because of falling property values, according to Assistant City Manager Rick Kozal. Revenues in the Central Area TIF are expected to be $19.27 million.

    That’s a lot of tax dollars being diverted from the school system. I hope they use it wisely (or hand it over to U-46) instead of blowing it on a hydro dam when the country is facing a glut of natural gas and hence cheap electricity for decades to come.

    Even if electricity costs do go up, the city certainly has no competence to operate and maintain a hydropower dam. This is going to suck money out of the city every year just to operate and maintain. It will never break even and certainly will never pay for itself.

    If there was any chance that it could make electricity economically companies would be coming to ask permission to build a dam there at their expense and asking to pay royalties in exchange for that privilege. Instead this is just somebody’s hobby project and they want taxpayers to shell over millions of dollars to pay for it.

    A hydropower dam will be the absolute worst decision the council has ever made, far worse than the recreation center boondoggle. I’m surprised that our taxpayer watchdogs have not said a thing. Are you guys going to wait until after the city has paid $400,000 for a feasibility study, which no doubt will be conducted by the vendor themselves?

    Talk about a nice unbiased study.

    I mean $400K is a lot of money to waste for a study on somebody’s pet project. I would think there should be higher priorities than that. Especially after they just raised taxes. I don’t get it.

    • Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

      RS,

      I was at the last budget council meeting and after that meeting I emailed City Manager Stegall to confirm we get some interest on the working cash fund. I was sure we did but I did not want to assume.

      I then asked in my email if the $400,000 dam study was coming up in one of the future meetings. He said it is coming up.

      I have big reservations about this so I am anxious to have it presented.

      Common Sense Clarence Hayward
      “A conservative voice in the Elgin community since 1971″

    • Terry Gavin says:

      RS many of us have spoken out about this hydroelectric dam study but maybe not on here. Of course it’s a bad decision like so many others but how many battles can we fight at once? We’ve had massive new & increased taxes thrown at us this year more proposed (rain water tax)
      for next year, etc. Plus a couple million dollars of “study’s” thrown in & you’ve got a massive growth of city government.

      I’ve spoken to 3 council people about this issue 2 wouldn’t commit & 1
      who’s opposed, let’s guess who opposes this idea. The majority on this council will not listen to us so our ONLY option is to vote out those who won’t listen! I for one am convinced the voters will speak loud & clear on Election Day.

      Back to the “dam”, any proposal to build this monstrosity will be bogged down in the permitting process from agencies like the Army Corp
      of Engineers, EPA, & IEPA. According to a conversation I had with Mayor Kaptain months ago about this issue he even said it would take upwards of 6-7 years to even begin such a project. So I say why even bother with a study when there’s no real need or benefit?

  17. paul says:

    “The Central Area TIF district is the city’s most successful one”

    If a public employee said it, it must be true.

    Successful compared to what? City of Elgin has been pouring money into that area for decades. Take a way the lawyers and public (taxpayer) services in that area and it really would be a ghost town.

  18. Terry Gavin says:

    Here’s an interesting tweet from our Mayor’s wife sent to me yesterday. Any wonder why we’ve got such a extreme agenda coming from this city council? Folks beware of Agenda21 & it’s little brother “sustainability”!

    @couriernews: Today’s most clicked comes from you: Sandra Kaptain of #Elgin writes it’s hard to ignore climate change after #Sandy. http://t.co/YdfyKxak

    100’s of thousands of people suffering still from Hurricane Sandy but we must all give up our standard of life to “save” the planet.

    • paul says:

      Yeah, now every time there is a hurricane or tornado it is due to global warming. The MERE fact that Katrina (Cat 3) and Sandy (Cat 1)pale in comparison to pre-’global warming’ hurricanes does nothing to dissuade Kaptain from her hysteria. Galveston hurricane (Cat 4) of 1900 killed 12000 people. I’m guessing 112 years ago was significantly less populated.
      Global warming has been happening for at least 20000 years, thankfully.
      Thankfully because 20000 years ago Elgin was covered by thick sheets of ice - year around! 20000 years was mere minutes ago in geologic terms relative to the age of the earth versus a 60 year old man.
      Global warming is good because it increases agricultural area production necessary for human sustainability.

  19. Cruex says:

    I’m making a prediction here. You heard it here first. There are too many green libs to not have this dam study pass through. Prigge will vote no and embarrass the rest of the council with his reasons but they will still do it. Anyone want to bet a cigar on it?

  20. harmony says:

    We have received millions from the boat and we wasted it. We were told that the riverboat money would not be used to run the City, the City manager has violated that and still has his job. The City manager told us last year that the City was broke and we needed to find new funds in ‘user fees” we end up with a surplus and the City manager still has his job. This year he tells us our property taxes went down, which he lied and still has his job! I think every candidate for the council answer the question yes or no, the question should the City manager be fired? Why not a voter mandate that he be fired?

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      At the 11/7/12 council session, Tish Powell asked Sean Stegal to provide an estimate of what the NET effect of all the new taxes would be on the typical Elgin homeowner/taxpayer. At last night’s session (11/14/12) Sean reported that for a typical family in a typical $155,000 house that there will be a net tax increase of $58.68. Here is the break-down he provided:
      Property tax: -$144
      Natural Gas tax: +$29.50
      Electrical tax: +$33.50
      Trash tax: +$160
      Liquor tax: $10
      ———————————
      Net TAX INCREASE: $58.58 (without leaf rake-out)
      Net TAX INCREASE: $106.58 (WITH leaf rake-out of $4/month x 12months)

      Sean did not include the leaf rake-out fee, which I pay every month, so I added that line. That little fee is an increase of 82% above the figure Sean provided.

      And of course the increase in trash sticker cost and sales tax were also not included.

      And lets not forget that in the 2012 budget the City has created a $7million surplus. And for the 2013 budget, the surplus is $10million!!!

      Are you mad yet???? April 9th, 2013 is coming soon…… Chuck

      • SIE says:

        I sure hope he included the 20% of property owners that live in Cook County. As I and Terry Gavin has posted we have paid more in actual dollars to the city pretty much every year for 21 years straight, including the last three when Stegall claimed “all” city property owners paid less.

        It really shouldn’t matter that partof the reason we paid more is due to Cook County changing how it assessed residential vs. business, bottom line is Elgin has one of the highest tax rates in ALL of Cook County.

        Stegall should make the effort to specifically reduce the Cook County rate but Cook County residents have been an afterthought to Elgin for at least the last 10 years.

  21. harmony says:

    And he still has his job?? Wake up Council or you are history.

  22. What were they thinking says:

    Hard to believe the Courier News outlasted what was supposed to be the next generation of on-line publishing. No more Boca Jump after the new year.

    http://elgin.bocajump.com/Articles/bocajump-goes-on-hiatus-jan-1

  23. Cruex says:

    Whoa! Lots of candidates for city council and that’s good.

    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20121126/news/711269734/

    I have no respect for any candidate who can’t decide what race they want to be in. I also have no respect for someone who is a clone of the mayor when it comes to sewers. Gilliam running again is an insult.

    • RS says:

      ok let’s try to sort this out.

      2-year seat candidates (1 open seat):
      Jason Dusenberry
      Larry Wegman
      Chindavanh Keomuongchanh
      Craig Dresang
      Roy Chapman III
      Daniel Schultz
      Thomas McCarthy
      Michael DeBrocke

      4-year seat candidates (4 open seats):
      John Prigge
      Richard Dunne
      Robert Gilliam
      Andrew Cuming
      Jason Dusenberry
      Thomas Armstrong
      Cody Holt
      Jerri McCue
      Grace Richard
      Anthony Nance
      Carol Rauschenberger
      Mitchell Esterino
      Terry Gavin
      Rosemarie Kahn

      2 or 4-year candidates (undecided):
      Stephen Knight
      Toby Shaw

      A few surprises here. Also surprised not to see Common Sense Clarence on the list.

  24. Chuck Keysor says:

    Yes, this is quite a field of players! Now, to help everyone figure out who is who, the Elgin OCTAVE will be holding two candidate forums. The first one will be held on January 12th, 2013 at the New Covenant Church, 865 Parkway Avenue.

    Because there are so many candidates, we plan to create a questionaire that will cover all significant issues, and some potential future issues, and we will send that to all candidates as soon as we can. We will then create a summary spread sheet, so that all candidate’s responses can be compared side by side. This summary will be handed out at our January 12th forum IF we can pull this all together. And the individual survey results and the summary will also hopefully be posted on our website.

    We are also planning to hold a forum in the second half of March, but those details have not yet been ironed out. While we are in discussions with one church over the use of their sanctuary, it would not hurt if we had some other options. So if anyone knows of a church sanctuary that seats 150 people that we could use for free to hold the March forum please let me know. (We have no money, otherwise we could rent the Heritage Ball Room…..)

    Lest any church have qualms, we are trying our best to conduct an honest, fair forum with the only objective being to give the voters the best chance possible to try and figure out which candidates best fit their own philosophies and who seems best equipped to deliver what they promise. That is a tall order, but that is our objective.

    Chuck

  25. Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20121130/news/711309923/

    For all the Cook County Elgin property tax payers at the address above is yesterday’s Daily Herald article that explains why some had higher taxes while the city lowered taxes.

    I would have put this in the December thread but I don’t see one yet.

    • paul says:

      The property taxes paid in 2012 were for year 2011 tax assessments.

      The property tax rate paid in 2012 for ELGIN Kane county residents went UP. Not DOWN.

      That many of us paid lower property taxes in 2012 than we paid in 2011 was due solely to declining assessed value.

      It may not be entirely inappropriate to give credit to Elgin city council for losing tens of thousands of dollars in property value, but mostly that was a nation wide event only merely exasperated by unsustainable build out west of Randall and continuous bungling from government oversite of inner city Elgin.

      That anyone would remotely give praise or credit to Elgin city government or council members for reduced property tax burden due to massive destruction of equity in your home is NUTS.

      These same government and council have been cashing in for years on your rising property values and hence rising property taxes by claiming they haven’t raised your tax rates. They didn’t need to raise rates when your property taxes and hence their revenues kept increasing every year; plus casino revenues falling into their lap.

      • One Vote says:

        Well said, paul.
        On paper our home values look pretty good from the mid-90s to about 2006. And the tax collector did very well.
        When the market dropped there was a three year lag in reducing our home values on paper, which would have automatically lowered our property taxes.
        There are (within limits) stop-gaps built in to the assessment process to make sure we pay more anyway…up to a point.
        When government reaches their limits and maxes out their scheme, they cry poor and want to boost the limits.
        Or, as we’ve seen with the city of Elgin, shift the revenue by applying fees OUTSIDE of the tax structure, such a leaf collection and garbage pick-up fees…and, of course, new taxes on other things.
        The strangest part of all is that they claim to be our heroes and guardians by telling us they are trying to be less dependent on property taxes. The truth is they have milked that puppy dry and are sucking money out of our wallets in other ways. Of course, the PERCENTAGE of revenue from prop taxes will go down as new fees and taxes are collected. DUH!

        • paul says:

          “our heroes and guardians by telling us they are trying to be less dependent on property taxes”

          Exactly, one vote. They pumped that well dry. By law they can only tax raise rates so much. By law they couldn’t raise rates high enough fast enough to compensate for declining assessed values. So our Elgin overlords glommed on to the politically correct word of diversification of the tax base to cover their massive tax increase. Every good liberal knows diversity is a good thing ignoring its close relation to the word adversity and being an antonym of the word community. Which leads to the oxymoron of ‘diverse community’. Kind of like anti-community community.

          “Of course, the PERCENTAGE of revenue from prop taxes will go down as new fees and taxes are collected. DUH!”

          Exactly. The very fine art of liberal government is the ability of deception. And Stegall is a Master at it. He foisted a massive overall tax increase upon the citizens of Elgin and the media, the liberals, and the ignorant are patting him on the back for lowering property taxes (except he didn’t). Give the guy his due - he played it brilliantly.

    • SIE says:

      My blood continues to boil over this.

      Lavery can spin it any way she wants but the bottom line is the cities tax rate went up each of the last three years.

      And more importantly Elgin’s Cook County tax rate is one of the highest in the county. Double and triple the rate of neighboring towns such as Hoffman, Streamwood(!) and Schaumburg.

      They should lower the tax rate to a more reasonable level. Instead they blame Cook County for the fact we are paying more to the city.