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July open thread

3 July 2013 Elgin Illinois 202 Comments

Fourth of July Parade 2012, Elgin IL Fourth of July Parade 2012, Elgin IL (Photo by The Elginite).

Monthly open thread for July. Have fun!

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202 Responses to “July open thread”

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  1. Margaret Miller says:

    Happy Independence Day!

  2. Gibster says:

    A recent article in the Daily Herald discussed the possible need for borrowing from the General Fund reserve to make temporary loans to projects in the downtown TIF and also increases to Pension contributions in 2014.

    It looks like the pensions NEED to be funded somehow… the questions is where to put priorities in projects remaining for downtown improvements. Does Riverside drive planters WIN over finishing the 7-yr Central Business District streetscape rehab project, more importantly Redoing Route 31 at Highland and Chicago to make a proper entry gate into the rest of rehabbed downtown sidewalks?

    The TIF district has 12 years remaining, so it could repay back any loan from the general fund, she said.

    Based on the city’s latest actuarial report issued in March, the city should increase its contribution to the fire pension fund by about $450,000 and to the police pension fund by about $1.7 million, Lavery said.

    The report was based on changes to employee turnover and retirement rates as calculated by the state, she explained.

    Elgin has been diligent about funding both pension funds appropriately, she said.

    “I’m hoping (the city council) will agree to start funding the increase in 2013 instead of 2014 and just get ahead of the game,” she said.

    TIF revenues this year are at about $2.7 million, down from $3.5 million in 2012, she said. The 2014 budget will be based on 2013 revenues.

    Lavery said three unfunded downtown projects are expected to be on the table for 2014:

    • An estimated $1.5 million in amenities, including landscaping, is estimated to be needed for Riverside Drive. Construction is expected to be done this fall.

    • An additional $1.4 million for the sixth — and final — phase of the Central Business District streetscape project. Initial estimates put the project at $4.1 million, but the latest estimate is $5.5 million, Lavery said.

    A yet-to-be-determined request for financial assistance from a developer interested in buying and rehabbing the Elgin Tower Building, she said.

    Based on preliminary assessments, “We do not have the funding to do all those things unless we find another financing source,” Lavery said.

    The city council is expected to tackle both the pension and unfunded projects issues as it begins discussions about the 2014 budget later this summer.
    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20130703/news/707039937/

    Personally I would like to see the CBD Streetscape completed for Route 31 and let the 12-yrs remaining in the TIF replenish the 5m into the general fund reserve. The current state of the street and sidewalks in this area effect the overall image of Elgin for those crossing thru from St. Charles to Dundee. It would also increase potential to businesses and buildings along this route that are apart of the Downtown TIF for additional funds.

    More information about phase 6 of the CBD Streetscapes as presented on 6/8/2013: http://www.downtownelgin.info/presentation.html

    What priorities would you set for the Budget discussion for 2014 funding? Riverside Drive? Route 31? Tower Building Redevelopment? Something else?

    • Thomas Jackson says:

      I have no doubt that continuing to improve downtown will continue. It’s vital for us. The Tower building is a massive project and it needs a vision to guide it, but personally I think the people working in the Elgin Technology Center ARE working on a forward-looking vision. They need more help, and I think that will come when a developer understands the true potential of that building.
      The other projects you mention are on track, but we can’t remake the whole city overnight. Elgin has charted a steady, responsible course, and that is about to reap us incredible rewards.
      Pensions: The City’s hands are tied. We are being forced to spend more than we really need to on pensions, because the State is requiring it of everyone.
      It’s not fair to us, but we are still in a better competitive position than other communities. What has been proposed, is that we put that money in the pension fund upfront, since we have to anyway, and we will get a larger return on that money if we invest it for more years.
      That makes sense since the investment income will be there for us later.

    • ElginPatriot says:

      Gibster - It looks like the City Council voted to fund the final phase of CBD. Link to the map is above.

    • Thomas Jackson says:

      Tower Redevelopment is, in my view, an absolute necessity.

      The Tower should not just be developed, it should be restored to it’s art deco motif.

      I have a dream. It’s called “techspace” and it is a joint public/private venture to create affordable loft space for technology developers. I am not the originator of this dream. There are 250 members of the Elgin Technology Center, not all of them residents of the Tower, but all of them have a passion for restoring Elgin to it’s rightful, historical place of technological innovation.

      I also dream of a new building, right across the street from the Tower, which has a three story interactive science museum for all ages. The top floors could be more affordable housing for the techs.

      Within that new Science Museum, we could have labs on the top floors to create new technological applications, and one of those should be adaptive technologies for people with special needs. We have not even begun to tap the human potential of people with special needs who use adaptive technologies to overcome their physical and mental challenges. This dream hearkens back to Elgin’s history as a pioneer in compassion and mental health therapy.

      Yes, this will cost money. Yes, we need investors to come and share with us the wonder of building the 21st Century, right here in Elgin. I believe our leadership in the City Government is the right leadership for the right time. Our public institutions can and should assist entrepreneurs and artists working together. It is the future, and it is our bright young generation who will take up these challenges, all of them, from all of our diverse heritages.

  3. Danise Habun says:

    Interesting article in Today’s Courier News: http://couriernews.suntimes.com/21152100-417/councilman-prigge-blows-smoke-about-well-received-fourth-fest-fireworks.html

    Councilman Prigge blows smoke about well-received Fourth-Fest

    By Mike Danahey mdanahey@stmedianetwork.com Updated: July 5, 2013 1:40PM

    The fireworks at the Northwest Fourth-Fest Thursday in Hoffman Estates went off smoothly — except for an Elgin city councilman spreading online what apparently was misinformation about the visit to the event from the delegation visiting Elgin from Chile.

    On his council-related Facebook page, Councilman John Prigge posted a photo not taken in this area showing a fleet of five squad cars, all with their lights on, with a caption that read, “Do not be alarmed if you see Elgin police cars with sirens blaring and lights flashing going into and out of the Sears Centre for the fireworks tonight. It will be the Cauquenes, Chile entourage. They are getting a police escort in and out of the Sears Centre for the fireworks.”

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    According to Fire Lt. Bob Bedard and Councilman Richard Dunne — who accompanied the delegation to the event — there was no police escort. They said the traveling group included just two vehicles — Dunne’s and the city van being used during the trip to transport the guests.

    When questioned about the photo, Prigge wrote on the post, “Those are not EPD cars and the Sears Centre does not appear, either. This photo, like some of the other photos and graphics I and others use on Facebook, are not ‘on scene’ photos. They are used to illustrate my corresponding text with the photo or graphic image.”

    Bedard told Prigge on the page post that there was no police escort. When called out on his posts, Prigge said he wants independent confirmation that there was no escort and claimed that a memo sent to the city council said there was to be an escort.

    Sources besides Prigge confirmed there was a memo sent July 2 from Assistant to the City Manager Cherie Murphy to City Manager Sean Stegall that Stegall forwarded to council members about having a police escort for the delegation to Hoffman Estates on the Fourth. But in actuality, these sources said, there was no escort provided.

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    As for why he did not see for himself, Prigge wrote, “I would had to have spent this holiday playing paparazzi following the entourage around to get an on-scene photo and that was not going to happen.”

    Laughs or politics?

    “Skewing photos of celebrities for laughs is one thing. Making up stuff for political reasons is another thing. If Bob said there was no police escort, and he’s been with the delegation since they got here, I believe him. Where’s your proof, John? Tell me and your constituents,” Linda Poppen Knight wrote to Prigge on the post.

    Friday morning Elgin Police Commander Dan O’Shea said that as far as he knew there was no police escort for the Chileans Thursday. He said Elgin police did sent four officers who were not scheduled to work in Elgin on the Fourth and were on overtime duty, to work at the fireworks, as the department had done last year per the city council deciding to send them.

    “I have not heard anything from them, so I am assuming it went well,” O’Shea said.

    Knight attended Thursday’s Fourth-Fest. In an email she stated, “It was absolutely the best I’ve ever attended, and I had the pleasure some years ago of being in D.C. for a great show on the Fourth, but tonight was the best. The fireworks were stunning and, with the ESO playing Williams, Copeland, Sousa, in the background … well, it was great.”

    Shorter waits

    Knight and her husband, Steve, who unsuccessfully ran for city council this year, rode in with Mayor Dave Kaptain, who was supposed to have a special permit parking. Confusion about that was settled in about five minutes, Knight said. She said the group was “pretty much thrown in with everybody on the way out, and it took about 20 minutes to get out of the complex. We were back home in about 35 or 40 minutes. It was a lot better than last year.”

    Dunne said it took the Chileans less than a half hour to get from the Sears Centre to their hotel, using Routes 72 and 31 for the journey.

    Last year, for the first Fourth-Fest, there were complaints of waits of more than two or three hours to leave the area in and around the Sears Centre where a crowd estimated at 30,000 gathered to watch the display. And the fireworks show went less than the 30 scheduled minutes.

    Friday morning Hoffman Estates Village President Bill McLeod noted that event planners learned from last year, they made adjustments, and things went smoothly Thursday night.

    McLeod said with about 10,000 parking spots in the Sears Centre and nearby lots that crowd this time is being estimated at 40,000. Despite that figure, McLeod said he heard the lines out cleared this year in about a half hour or so.

    Longer fireworks

    McLeod said the fireworks were among the best he has seen and lasted 32 minutes — 10 minutes more than in 2012. And he complimented the Elgin Symphony Orchestra for its performance during the display.

    Elgin, Hanover Park and Hanover Park contributed funding to the evening, which is part of a festival that continues through the weekend.

    “I’d like for this arrangement to continue. Such arrangements are the wave of the future for local governments, and we wouldn’t have had the quality of event we are having without the help of other communities. We’re very proud of how things went and look forward to further partnerships,” McLeod said.

    Kaptain said he would like the Fourth-Fest to remain an option for 2014 as a committee headed by Councilman Toby Shaw explores options for bringing a fireworks show back to Elgin. That report is due by the city’s fall budget season.

    As for the event Thursday, “It was great,” the mayor said. He added that the ESO performance went over well and it took significantly less time to get back to his northwest side home than in did last year.

    “They took a lot of the bumps out,” Kaptain said.

    60 tickets, one fire

    Meanwhile, back in Elgin, O’Shea said that it was a typically busy Fourth for Elgin public safety departments, with a truck fire behind Danny’s on Douglas Pizza in downtown Elgin being the only call of note he had seen before 8:30 a.m. Friday. A call to Elgin Fire Station One revealed the report on that fire was not yet available.

    O’Shea said that police on Thursday and early Friday did issue 60 of the 88 citations they have written so far this year for fireworks use. He said the 2:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. shift Thursday handled about 100 fireworks-related complaints.

    • One Vote says:

      So Danise, what is your official city position that gives you the inside scoop? As I recall you work for Hanover Township with Mrs. Mike Noland. (Or at least you did.)
      I think you’re on the Elgin Human Rights Commission. I didn’t realize you had a job with Elgin Liberals Attack Watch.
      Prigge reported what he was told by the city (Murphy). Perhaps they changed their mind knowing they were being watched.
      Kudos to Prigge for making them act a bit more responsibly with OUR money.
      I don’t get the apologist treatment about the parking. Another attempt to slam the conservatives on the council I suppose.
      So, since you know all the details, how much of MY money did Elgin spend last night, including the entry fee and the OT?
      And what’s the running tab on the Chileans?

      • Danise Habun says:

        What inside scoop? All I did was post an article that appeared in the Courier News. Not a liberal issue. Not a conservative issue. Rather an issue related to veracity. That’s all.

        • One Vote says:

          Sorry, I didn’t realize you were channeling Danahey.
          So, Murphy was wrong, sending out erroneous information to council members?
          Or did the city change their minds about the police escort? And how does that make Prigge wrong?
          As for using stock photos, the Trib does it all the time. The photos that accompany crime stories are of handcuffs or lights on the top of a police car.

          • RS says:

            Yeah the Tribune has pretty ugly stock photos/art.

            I think Councilman Prigge made the honest mistake of not making a good choice for a stock photo. He should have used a picture of the president’s motorcade or something like that, where it would be clear that it was not a literal depiction of what was happening (or what he thought was happening) in Elgin. Otherwise, as we saw here, it can lead to confusion.

            Also these days you have to be careful about using photos taken by other people. If you are not linking back to their site or the original story, it may not be considered fair use under copyright laws and in any case is generally not good Internet etiquette.

          • Danise Habun says:

            RS and One Vote,
            You’re missing the bigger picture. The picture choice was unfortunate AND misleading. The bigger issue is the inaccurate information that went along with the picture. Fact checking is important. A simple phone call to verify whether or not a police escort was actually provided would seem to have been in order. I don’t know the intention behind posting this particular piece of “information”. I do know that the impact was misleading and inaccurate which is harmful to the public.

          • RS says:

            Let’s be fair to Prigge. His Facebook post is all in the future tense (”if you see”, “it will be”, “they are getting”), so how could he verify that something actually happened (past tense)? He was talking about the future not the past, and his post was based on official city communications. If they are not accurate, blame the city not the blogger. It’s unreasonable to ask bloggers to all call and verify every piece of information and ask if the plans have changed since last published. Who does that? Nobody does that. Not even the national news media.

            I don’t agree with the spirit of his post. For a councilman to continue this line of criticism while the visitors are still in town to me seems a little indecorous. I think it’s understandable if people want to criticize Prigge for doing that, but to come out with long knives because he made an inaccurate post based on an inaccurate city memo?

            I think we can be a little more generous, even to our enemies.

          • One Vote says:

            So, why is Danahey blaming Prigge? He ought to be going after Murphy for telling the council there was a escort.
            Unless Danahey is carrying the torch for Kaptain and the progressive movement. And Danise is helping spread the word.
            Calling to confirm is a laughable notion. What’s Prigge going to do? Call Stegall and ask, “Did Cherie lie to us in the memo or will there be a police escort?” Get real!
            The next interesting part is the Danahey considers Bedard a primary source in city matter. That ought to tell you that he’s selling the narrative rather than reporting.

      • Thomas Jackson says:

        Were you at the working City Council Meeting at Hawthorne Woods?

        There’s no inside scoop.

    • Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

      Kaptain said he would like the Fourth-Fest to remain an option for 2014 as a committee headed by Councilman Toby Shaw explores options for bringing a fireworks show back to Elgin. That report is due by the city’s fall budget season.

      I have been wondering if the Hoffman fireworks ever had a tragedy and hurt someone, since Elgin contributed $15,000 to them would our city also be named in a lawsuit?

      If so, that is another reason to not fund another town’s fireworks.

      Regarding the tower building no need to fund it as it will stand as a monument whether we have people in it or not.

      The planters with black fencing all over Elgin in my opinion are not attractive and do not bring out the beauty of nature so if not enough money for everything just leave those off the list for the Riverside project.

      Don’t get too excited about TIF saving the downtown. Elgin has been trying to save the downtown for about 40 years. It is what it is.

      • Thomas Jackson says:

        Get your tickets now for the Jackson-Hayward debate.

        Really Clarence? I suppose if I had contributed to GW Bush’s campaign, I could be sued for all the people that got hurt all over the world? We have this thing called insurance.

        Your remarks about the Tower building are just laughable. Hey, just let everything crumble! It will stand as a monument. We’ll call it the Clarence Hayward Tea Party Memorial.

        Clarence, since you are such a pessimist, we need to have a coffee together at Ravenheart sometime. Many people tried to build planes for a long time.

  4. doobie says:

    Where do I get one of those special parking passes?

  5. Harmony says:

    The parade was a train wreck. 40 minutes to get to the Police station. Stopping for some stupid interview. Hope the South Elgin band got back home in time for their parade.Better than half the people sitting from Kimball and Division left after 2 hours of stopping and going parade. Traffic control was a lesson in incompetency, turn lanes on RT31 at Kimball shut down at 8:00 am. No officers to help traffic that was lining up on North Grove. Closing off Douglas after the parade so no one parked the the parking deck could get out a Douglas. I loved watching the high price commanders of the Police department driving their little 4 wheelers up and down Douglas. Then the lack of any police presence in my neighborhood with the illegal fireworks, The police department couldn’t see the commercial grade fireworks lighting up the sky? These were not cherry bombs.And in a recent article O’ Shea says if you don’t like the noise move! I think it is time the City Manager moves O’Shea out of any management position. That will be the last time I attend Elgin’s parade and will try to be out of Elgin before next year.

    • One Vote says:

      I too noticed all the police hardware at the parade.
      I can accept the Smith and Wesson tactical bicycles as long as they are used all the time.
      I don’t get the motorized garden carts. I saw three of them, all painted up with EPD markings. Those units cost over $15K each. What does EPD use them for besides the parades? Couldn’t they borrow them from Parks for a couple of events a year?
      What we didn’t see at the parade was the other expensive hardware, like the urban assault vehicle. (BATT something or other.) $200K of begged grant money, to make it sound like it was free. Drug cash, if I recall.
      The County has a tricked out RV bus for a command center, just like several other jurisdictions. They didn’t put that in the parade.
      Truth be told there has been a vast amount of hardware given away to police and sheriff that is expensive and not very useful, all in the name of FEMA, DOJ and Community Policing.
      And the interagency radios that no one knows how to use.
      Homeland Security wasn’t much of a bargain, but it has supplied a bunch of toys to the police departments and made them dependent on Washington. Entitlements aren’t just for poor people; they are for agencies as well.

    • One Vote says:

      And another thing, I don’t mind the fireworks. It’s the sound of people thumbing their noses at authority.

    • Thomas Jackson says:

      You’ll be missed.

  6. Thomas Jackson says:

    If we didn’t spend money on public safety, people would gripe that we aren’t spending money on public safety. Some folks just like to complain. I can imagine what those golf carts are used for, but if you can’t, then ASK, rather than accuse, OK?

    Those of you with “Stop the Rain Tax” signs on your lawn: You might want to vote for $36 in your pocket and a basement full of sewage, but most of us aren’t that foolish. Lucky for you, eh? Now take the foolish sign down and start asking intelligent questions about policy.

  7. Chuck Keysor says:

    Thomas, sorry you have fallen for the City’s line that makes you want to pay even more in taxes. You have fallen for more hype and spin from the City. You probably wanted your taxes raised in December of 2011 because you believed the City when they said we were going to have a $13million budget shortfall. The rain tax is just more of the same, and amazingly, some people just keep falling for the same tricks over and over again.

    1) You failed to grasp that the rain tax was not even assured of being applied to sewer work. Kaptain last fall in budget discussions spent more time talking about how this money could go into the general fund. The Rain Tax is just another money grab. And don’t forget that we already have a $10million surplus, so why do you want to give the City even MORE $$$$?

    2)And IF the City decided to put the added rain tax revenue into sewer work, some important points must be understood, which I was told by Public Works/Engineering:
    a)Separating the sewers will not guarantee anyone that they will not still have sewage backing up in their basements.
    b)The City is spending $4million in this year’s budget already on sewer work without having a “Rain Tax”.
    c)According to Public Works/Engineering, it is not really possible, or desirable to do any more sewer work in a single year than we are doing right now. (Talk to Engineering yourself to find out why if you really care.)

    As to the yard signs, they deliver a useful and important message, reminding people that we do not want to be taxed even more. And the fact that these signs that are still up got you to talk about the issue PROVES that these signs are working to keep people from forgetting about this important issue.

    Thanks, Chuck

    • Thomas Jackson says:

      Chuck,

      I’d like to see you at more meetings.

      The “Rain Tax” campaign was a campaign gimmick that intentionally mislead people about the facts. I don’t know if you just fell for that nonsense or if you are one of it’s inventors.

      The City Council is NOT trying to figure out how to tax people according to how much rain falls on their property. What they are trying to find out, is how much do we need to spend on engineering projects that are mandated by the state and the federal government to protect our drinking water and preserve public health.

      This is not about keeping an extra $36 in your pocket, Chuck. It’s not just about Elgin, either. Our neighbors need us to help with this very serious public policy question.

      If it wasn’t such a farce, I’d say the “Rain Tax” campaign is a disinformation campaign with no other purpose but to gain political support for a backward-looking ideology. But, it’s just too ridiculous to even be considered that seriously.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        Thomas, I usually attend the council sessions. And more often than not, I am the only citizen, non-reporter in attendance at council retreats. I was however, down in Texas, helping to pack up my mother so she could move off to a retirement community. And for the last few years I have had a habit of addressing the council too often. Since I use my real name here, you would know how often I go to council if you also attended or watched regularly. Chuck

        • Thomas Jackson says:

          It was a bit unfair of me to rib you for not understanding the issue about which you are speaking publicly. You didn’t understand because you missed the meetings at which the issues were explained.

          I wish I had the time to knock on the door of every house where they still have one of those silly “Stop the Rain Tax!” signs in their yard.

  8. Jules says:

    Another point about the sewer separation project/ rain tax. It wasn’t proposed to be a tax, but rather a fee. Like the other fees on our water bills, if passed, we can’t write this fee off on our income taxes. I would like to learn more about how the city is diversifying revenue streams and how this impacts the retired and those just starting out as adults on their own. Fees seem to be regressive. Anyone trying to rent an apartment in Elgin should try to get the water bill included in rent and anyone buying a house should budget for the fees, which they’ll have to find out about from somewhere other than the tax bill, which is all they’d normally see.

    • Thomas Jackson says:

      If you’re saying we could all benefit from more pro-active communication, then that’s fine. Let’s try harder. But first, let’s try to agree on facts, OK?

  9. Tim Palmer says:

    Hey Shanice is back!! Carrying the anti-conservative message for the Kaptainites on the Chile handout. Spending tax money good. Saving tax money bad.

    • Danise Habun says:

      Hi Mr. Palmer,
      Two questions:
      1) How is posting an article about a distortion of events “anti conservative”?

      2) Is there a point to your misspelling my first name?

      Just wondering.

  10. Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

    Good news! After I called to attention that the Daily Herald’s Elgin Edition home page still had the old census figure they just updated it for me and everyone else who was counted in the recent census.

    Slogan: A City in the Suburbs
    Population: 109,104
    Year Incorporated:1854
    Zip Codes:60120, 60123
    Town Geo-center: 42.039426, -88.288627

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Clarence, I always found it odd that Elgin chooses to promote its year of incorporation, which is 1854. That seems like an arbitrary date of only legal significance. Elgin was founded in 1835 when James T. Gifford came to our fair spot on the river, and he declared that he would start his new city right here.

      If you look at city signs up and down the Fox Valley, they list their founding dates. They are all pretty much in the 1830s. Somehow, this makes Elgin seem less historic to the all too common casual observer.

      Chuck

      • Clarence Hayward says:

        Chuck,

        I think it is a Daily Herald choice of using incorporation as Schaumburg and St. Charles both also have incorporated date.

        I wish I would have mentioned that Elgin has a 60124 zip code. I don’t know how much trouble it is to change things like that.

        • Chuck Keysor says:

          Actually, my quandry is why the City chooses to promote the incorporation date, instead of the founding date. I would only assume the Daily Herald uses what the City uses, hence their use of 1854.

          I hope to see you at council tomorrow night. It has been awhile since I have met you there. Best wishes to Brenda, Chuck

  11. RS says:

    If anybody is curious about current city salaries and benefits, I found a link to this from the Daily Herald:

    The following compensation information for IMRF employees provided in accordance with 5 ILCS 120/7.3.

    http://www.cityofelgin.org/DocumentCenter/View/43073 (pdf)

  12. Cruex says:

    Valid comments RS. I have no issues with what Prigge posted and the photo he used. It seemed more like a public service posting than anything else. At first I did find it unusual for the Courier to run such a large piece on this but then I looked at the reporter’s name and that explained everything. I can’t wait to see what the total cost for this will be. We may never see or hear from these people again unless they want something from us.

    • Thomas Jackson says:

      Do you find it to be a public service to post photos that have nothing to do with captioned content?

      I wonder how you yourself, would like that kind of treatment.

      I am reminded of Tim Robbins’ satirical movie “Bob Roberts” in which the rightwing Senatorial candidates’ supporters were saying what a disgraceful philanderer the Democratic incumbent was, after the rightwingers posted a photo of a young girl exiting the Senator’s car, which we later learn is a friend of the Senator’s niece, who was cut out of the photo.

      This kind of “altered reality” seems to be a favorite topic of Tea Party politics.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        Thomas, since you are worried about “altered reality”, I bet you got really upset when the City in its February Neighbors newsletter loudly proclaimed that property taxes had been reduced, while failing to mention in that same newsletter that with all the new taxes and fees.

        The City was intentionally working to alter the citizen’s perception of our actual tax burden. They did NOT want the taxpayers before an election to realize that actual tax burdens to the City had gone up as a direct consequence of the December 2011 budget vote. This is a much more offensive case of “altered reality”, especially since it was leading up to a City Council election.

        On February 13th, 2013, I told the council that in fact the Elgin portion of my 2012 property tax payment had dropped by $90. However, with my paying: $24.94 for the leaf rake out fee, $165.14 for the trash fee, $7.19 for the gas tax, and $11.75 for my electrical tax (electrical and gas fees were only in effect for the last half of the year, so they are bigger now), which all add up to $209.02, I actually experienced a net increase of payments to the City of $119.02! That represents a 12.38% increase over the previous year.

        When I presented this information, I was challenged by the City Manager who publicly stated that I was not an accountant and that my figures were probably wrong. Prigge asked me to meet with City Manager Stegall to iron out this matter.

        I met with Sean Stegall on 2/28/13 where we reviewed all of my figures. I brought my actual utility bills and tax bill to Sean. I left those with him, and then in our follow-up meeting on 3/11/13, he confirmed that all of my figures were in fact correct, thus verifying the fact that despite my property taxes going down, my total tax burden to the City went UP by 12.38%.

        So not only did the City work to alter the reality of our actual tax burden, they also worked to alter the reality of my honesty and the value of my information.

        If you are worried about altered reality, I suggest you look for these abuses in more important places (like Mayor Kaptain and his statement that the council voted on a sister city relationship……)

        Chuck

        • Chuck Keysor says:

          Sorry, the first paragraph should have read:

          Thomas, since you are worried about “altered reality”, I’ll bet you got really upset when the City in its February Neighbors newsletter loudly proclaimed that property taxes had been reduced, while failing to mention in that same newsletter that with all the new taxes and fees that tax burdens actually increased.

          Chuck

        • Thomas Jackson says:

          Chuck,

          Leaf Rake out. Trash fee. Gas tax. Electrical Tax. Are these things that you need, Chuck?

          These were the areas that needed more funding, so that’s why the fees were raised.

          Have you heard of capitalism? When there is a need for a good or a service that rises, say because of an increase in population, the cost of providing the good or service rises, because it is in shorter supply relative to the demand.

          The purpose of lowering property taxes and increasing fees was not to pull the wool over your eyes. It was to charge directly for the things that directly need funding.

          The biggest ticket item on the list you provide is trash collection. Maybe there is a way we can reduce that, Chuck?

  13. Cruex says:

    IMHO Mike Danahey is not a bonafide news reporter. I find him to be more of a gossip writer. Quoting Bedard as a news source in a city matter is rather amusing. I bet Bedard always buys last round so maybe that’s what this is all about.

    • One Vote says:

      It does make Danahey look like a stenographer, doesn’t it?
      He went easy on Stegall and Murphy (the causes of the confusion) and laid it on Prigge.
      On the upside, circulation is down. Folks like Danise have to post it here or I wouldn’t have read it.

  14. Gibster says:

    After reading the Courier News article re-capping the Chilean Delegations visit to Elgin (http://couriernews.suntimes.com/21229977-417/organizer-of-chilean-delegations-visit-to-elgin-touts-the-benefits-of-their-trip.html) — I was curious to see if I could find the Chilean articles from the reporter that traveled with them to Elgin. Instead I found indxed when you look for notable news about Cauquenes in the Maule region, there are direct links to all the negative articles in the Daily Herald about how Elgin doesn’t want them.
    http://www.allvoices.com/Chile/Maule/Cauquenes

    I’m hoping to see some more positive news from their own reporter this week, the delegation certainly learned a lot about city services, healthcare, education and industry on their stay in Elgin. It would make be feel better about “Elgin’s international image” to see some positives written about the visit from their own press, instead of the negatives out there about our lengthy council discussions. Just my 2-cents, seeing the negativity from our own press to their constituents looking for US news really just irked me this morning.

    • One Vote says:

      “Elgin’s international image.”
      Sorry dear, that ship has sailed.
      We are well-known as an ethnic enclave, and not for the better.

  15. Margaret Miller says:

    The minutes from the City Council Meeting from 06/26/13 were amended by Councilman Prigge to reflect that NO VOTE was ever taken by Council to reflect Cauquenes, Chile as an Elgin sister city.

    There was NEVER a unanimous vote taken on this issue as loudly declared.

    Links of this will be provided shortly.

  16. Margaret Miller says:

    ESO is on the agenda currently and boy, the people better start paying attention.

    As it looks now, apparently ESO is TOO BIG TO FAIL and will again cost the taxpayers.

    ESO has not offer us any payments in good faith on the over $300,000 they all ready owe Elgin!

    More to follow!

    • One Vote says:

      After destroying our once-great city, the Fathers will continue to apply copious amounts of lipstick. But hey, it’s only OUR money they are throwing at the problem.

  17. One Vote says:

    A local connection:
    Sanford, FL, home of the George Zimmerman trial.
    It’s police chief (since April 2013) is none other than our own Cecil Smith.

  18. Cruex says:

    Yes gibster a pox upon the reporters at the Daily Herald for not fluffing up their Chile coverage in Elgin by daring to report the truth. What ungratefuls! When will they learn the meaning of straight news that needs to have a spin?

  19. Margaret Miller says:

    Last evening at Council, it was reiterated by Mayor Kaptain that Councilman Shaw would lead a committee to investigate bringing back fireworks to Elgin in 2014.

    http://www.cityofelgin.org/index.aspx?NID=141
    Classic viewing in support of the taxpayer starts with Councilman Prigge at 00:6:18
    Unwavering reinforcement from Councilman Gavin at 00:12:26 and 00:21:00.

    Let’s be clear with this issue, per the Fire Chief, Elgin no longer has a location for fireworks so why has a committee been formed to investigate something that has already been determined a no go by the Fire Chief?

    Remember Mr. Mayor, as you said at video mark 00:26:34 regarding fireworks in Elgin “all of the other events that we do have an opportunity to bring revenue back to the City of Elgin. Fireworks do not do that. They’re a total expenditure of $65,000-$75,000.” Kaptain continued by adding that he put out a challenge when he was a Councilman for Elgin fireworks and “In five years there was not one viable response,” he said. What does that tell you Mr. Mayor? People have found the alternative.

    Well there you go Elgin, The Mayor admits there is no revenue advantage to Elgin fireworks, the Fire Chief say no location available, we don’t have the $65-75,000 in petty cash, so if you want to Ohhh and Ahhh in 2014, I suggest you find a welcoming community that offers fireworks and subsidize them if you feel so inclined.

    The only question that remains is who made the promise to Hoffman Estates for funding and Police staff without full council discussion and approval? Hmmmmm

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Margaret, all good points on the fireworks. But I’d like to add another facet.

      It is not a good thing that the Mayor asked Toby to handle the fireworks location committee because either:
      a) Toby will be so tied up on this project, that he will not be able to give his full focus to other council activities (especially the intensive budget), his wife, his children and church. In other words, Toby will effectively be sidelined by this busywork project.

      b) Maybe the Mayor is trying to get brownie points with Toby, to help pull him into the mayor’s orbit.

      Either possibility is not good. Especially since I agree with Margaret that we don’t need our own fireworks. Let people go to Hoffman Estates.

      I went to HE’s fireworks last week, and it was far better than any I had ever seen at Elgin (and I even remember watching them at Wing Park back in the 1960s!) And the access in and out of the event was wonderfully easy!!!!

      Chuck

      PS: Margaret, another strike against Elgin having their own fireworks, is that since there was concern with tying up 5 of our policemen in Hoffman Estates, potentially allowing mayhem to erupt in our unguarded city,,,,, just think of what can happen if we have our own fireworks,,,, the entire police department will be tied up trying to direct traffic and manage crowds.

      • Margaret Miller says:

        Chuck all good points. My feeling is that Kaptain purposefully chose Toby in order to tie up his time, distracting him from his real tasks as a Councilman.

        Kaptain will offer the Committeeship as a token of good faith and as a welcoming gesture but I thing he had an ulterior motive.

  20. Margaret Miller says:

    For the Record!

    At last nights COW meeting (07-10-13) http://www.cityofelgin.org/index.aspx?NID=141

    Video mark 00:00:38 Councilman Prigge amended the minutes of Council meeting 06-26-13 to reflect that there was NEVER A VOTE TAKEN, much less an unanimous vote as Mayor Kaptain, Anna Moeller and others claimed, stating that Cauquenes, Chile is an Elgin sister city.

    Further investigation on the SisterCities Internationalal website http://www.sister-cities.org/ does not even show Elgin, IL USA in the listing of cities participating in the program.

    Let’s review some facts:
    At City Council Meeting of 06-26-13, it was loudly declared by Mayor Kaptain, Anna Moeller and acknowledged by other council members, that the Elgin City Council had voted (unanimously) that Cauquenes, Chile was an Elgin sister city.
    06-26-13-Video marked at 01:03:08 http://cityofelgin.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=6&clip_id=1054
    06-26-13-Video marked at 01:17:56 http://cityofelgin.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=6&clip_id=1054

    SO WHAT HAPPENED? Well, it looks like Mayor Kaptain ___________ (fill in the blank) when he stated that a vote was taken, along with other council members corroborating his statement.

    At the 06-26-13 meeting (at video mark 01:05:58), Councilman Gavin stated that he was told directly by Bob Bedard, (the ringleader of the independent “sister city committee”, the architect of the Chilean visit, the creator of three different stories about their visit on or around 06-18-13 and the apparent spokesperson for Rich Dunne), “that it wouldn’t cost the tax payers a dime.”

    Well it did cost taxpayers. I filed a daily itemized FOIA request regarding taxpayer funding for this visit. I would also like to obtain the records of any business trade agreement discussions, which several people stated was another reason for the visit. What trade business was discussed? What is the follow up? What can Elgin expect next?

    There have been many published articles and social media postings recently regarding this Chilean visit. Whether the media and supporters of the visit were ignorant of the facts, to lazy to investigate or question, perhaps he/she trusted the word of specific council member/s or their friend, or it was just a plain cover up to get what certain persons desired is anyone’s guess but the credibility of the reporters and supporters is now questionable.

    I would have hoped for a public apology from Mayor Kaptain and others was made directly to Councilman Prigge, Gavin and the Elgin Taxpayer’s but I’m not holding my breathe with this group to admit any possible wrong doings or misleadings.

    One additional item: Regarding Mayor Kaptain’s proclamation of 10-10-12, that Cauquenes, Chile is an Elgin sister city: It has been confirmed that this proclamation is non binding. Councilman Prigge set that record straight at video mark 02:52:30.

    Since the behavior of our Mayor, some members of council, media personnel, and perhaps a small group of citizens with an agenda, appear not to exercise the highest level of integrity for elected or city officials, it sure makes one wonder what other unethical and secretive deals have been made under Mayor Kaptain’s reign at the tax payer’s expense?

    All of this from the Mayor who claimed transparency in his Mayoral election bid and, as a reminder, also promised he would only serve 1 term.

    Hopefully Elgin citizens will demand more from their elected officials. I do!
    The next Elgin Elections are held in 2015.

  21. Michael says:

    Just as an FYI…there is a Facebook page dedicated to the sister city relationship with Elgin and Cauquenes, Chile.

  22. Margaret Miller says:

    Hi Michael:

    And we all know, Facebook is the end all and be all of truth…right?
    Read my earlier post and there you will find the truth. A page on Facebook can just means a second coat of lipstick was added for better coverage.

    Thanks One Vote!

    • Michael says:

      Yeah, I know that Facebook does not report anything that is actual news. It’s what people want to post. I just thought it was intersting that there is an actual Facebook page for this. Oddly interesting.

  23. Robert Bedard says:

    Sister Cities International is not an exclusive club reserved for “official” sister cities. Anyone can be listed on their website if they are willing to pay. States, Counties, municipalities and individuals can all pay to have their name listed in the directory. I researched listing with them and found the cost to benefit ratio to be too high. They charge municipalities annually based upon their population size. It would cost $880 for a city with Elgin’s population count to register with Sister Cities International. For this price you are given a chance to compete for grant money they hold. Their representative told me that the competition is quite keen for these grants. I chose to wait to see if the citizens working to create a sister city with Greece might want to split the cost since once the city is registered it can have multiple sisters for the same price. Sister Cities International is a 501-C3 resource that is all. I was assured that they would extend their informational resources to me even if I didn’t pay. So I chose, for now, to not pay.

    • One Vote says:

      It appears that Mr. Bedard is calling the shots on the entire sister city program. He uses the pronoun “I” rather frequently. Then again, unilateral decisions seem to be the MO of the entire program.

    • Margaret Miller says:

      Thanks for saving us $880.00 Bob.

  24. Margaret Miller says:

    Good Morning:
    Has anyone had a chance to investigate my earlier question regarding the Hoffman Estates fireworks? Thank you

    The only question that remains is who made the promise to Hoffman Estates for funding and Police staff without full council discussion and approval?

  25. Chuck Keysor says:

    Margaret, I do hope someone will shine light on your request to find out how the City could be committed to something so far in advance without a vote by the council. (Of course, someone clearly assumed the council would approve this, and in fact they were right, so maybe there is no issue if viewed from a point of expediency instead of legality.)

    As to the fireworks, I have a couple of points:

    1) From the viewpoint of the taxpayer wanting to minimize our expenditures, simply contributing nothing to Hoffman Estates, and letting Elginites go to Hoffman Estates is totally legitimate and fair.

    Elginites are free to go to Chicago or St. Charles, or where ever they want to watch fireworks. Hoffman Estates is just another option for our residents, and Elgin doesn’t need to pay a penny. The fact that the Mayor feels guilty for attending without paying is irrelevant. He can make his own donation if that is how he feels.

    BUT, if it becomes a discussion of having a fireworks display in Elgin or not, well in that context, EVEN paying $15,000 to Hoffman Estates looks like a great bargain (but not as good as paying nothing).

    The access to the HE fireworks was great this year, and it was easy to get out. EVERY YEAR Elgin’s access to fireworks was horrendous! The traffic jams on McLean were terrible to get into and out of the Sports Complex.

    Even if the City can open up access to the Elgin Sports Complex from Rt. 31, I ask you to compare the size of Elgin vs. Hoffman Estates to realize how many more people Elgin’s display COULD attract. Then compare the access into and out of the Hoffman Estates business park to Rt. 31 and McLean………. Elgin will have to be a nightmare in comparison.

    Costs, well, we can say we will get corporate sponsors. Maybe that can cut the costs, but it will not bring it down to the options of either $0 or even the present relative bargain arrangement of $15,000.

    And for those who were worried about the costs of 5 Elgin Policemen going to Hoffman Estates, AND reducing the number of policemen on our streets,,,, well think about the costs of tying up our ENTIRE police department on holiday pay scales for our own fireworks display. And no doubt we will have to toss in a lot of fire fighters into the big holiday payroll as well.

    2)My other concern over the fireworks is that I find it most unfortunate that Toby Shaw is going to be tied up in finding a location for an Elgin fireworks display.

    Toby was in large part elected by a base of people who wanted to combat excessive taxing and spending by the City of Elgin. So now he has been compromised on one of his core running principals, AND he will be so tied up and over-extended on this project, trying his best to give it his all, that he won’t be available to fight the much more important budget fight this fall.

    While I don’t credit Dave Kaptain with being politically crafty, maybe he is, and this is a brilliant stroke on his part to damage and neutralize Toby. Or maybe it was a simple move on Dave’s part to try and pull Toby into the Mayor’s orbit, by giving Toby a high profile (but make work) assignment. But in either scenario, the potential for negative consequences are high.

    Chuck

  26. SIE says:

    The amount of money the council spends with barely a blink of an eye (new computer systems, phone systems, etc.) makes the amount spent on Northwest Fourth Fest inconsequential. I’m tired of hearing million dollar plus resolutions come and go with no discussion.

    Those still complaining about the fireworks, focus your efforts on those.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      SIE, I agree with you totally. The most disappointing part of the recent council session was the vote to spend $421,000 (or somewhere near that) to complete the brick work across the Chicago St and Kimball St bridges, and the east side of Rt. 31. A total waste of money.

      This huge expense was justified as being needed to complete the Hitchcock Design plan, so that the bridges and a slice of Rt. 31 will match the rest of down town. Just fix the sidewalks that are broken. Who cares if that part of downtown doesn’t match the bricked part?

      If matching anything is important, it is a worse mismatch to have one side of 31 be bricks, and one side not, than it is to have the east side of 31 not match the other side of the river…. Duh! At least Toby voted against this total waste of precious taxpayer’s money………. Thank you Toby.

      At some point, I will ask RS if I can write a blog about how I personally witnessed the scam of city planning and public input that was used to falsely justify the entire brick scheme in the first place. Bottom line is the City cooks up their plans, and then manipulates the public input as required to later defend their grandiose and wasteful plans.

      Chuck

      • One Vote says:

        Streetscaping is more than just a waste of money we don’t have; it is also a maintenance nightmare. Those pavers cannot take the freeze-thaw cycle in our part of the country. Repairs and relaying the pavers is a constant battle.
        Those NENA crosswalks are NOT speed bumps.
        But I guess it creates more government jobs and contracts.

      • ElginPatriot says:

        The original plan to complete the Central Business District streetscapes included the Route 31 corridor on both sides, stretching west to the railroad underpass on W. Chicago.

        What changed in the plan for City Council voting for completion of the final phase?

        My opinion is this is the Entry way to Downtown via Chicago Street bridge for those crossing north/south from St. Charles to Algonquin - this is a critical image improvement that requires completing to unify the entire multi-year CBD resurfacing project.

  27. Margaret Miller says:

    Hello from Elgin City Councilman Terry Gavin:

    I am writing to give all Elgin Businesses and citizens an important Elgin Business License status update. Due to the recent election changes to the Elgin City Council, it is now conceivable, that with your help, we can eliminate the Elgin Business License.

    The Elgin Business Licence issue will come up before the Council in September so we need to mobilize our forces now. From our point of view, these are the principle shortcomings of the Elgin Business Licence:

    1) There is no need for an Elgin Business license. The city operated for 150 years without it.
    2) It is UNFAIRLY ENFORCED
    3) It is ANOTHER TAX on Elgin Businesses in a worsening economy
    4) This regulation is NOT Business friendly. It is more government bureaucracy.

    Contact the Elgin City Council and let your voice be heard.

    Copy & Paste the below e-mail addresses in your NEW e-mail “Send To” add your “Subject Line” write your message and press “Send Now”.
    mayor@cityofelgin.org,
    prigge_j@cityofelgin.org,
    gavin_t@cityofelgin.org,
    shaw_t@cityofelgin.org,
    rauschenberger_c@cityofelgin.org,
    moeller_a@cityofelgin.org,
    powell_t@cityofelgin.org,
    steffen_j@cityofelgin.org,
    rdunne@cityofelgin.com
    stegall_s@cityofelgin.org

    Thank you,

    Terry Gavin
    Elgin City Councilman - 847-857-0266
    https://www.facebook.com/TerryGavinElginCityCouncilCandidate
    Elgin Citizens Against Waste

    • bw says:

      Mr. Gavin:

      From our point of view, these are the principle shortcomings of the Elgin Business License:

      1) There is no need for an Elgin Business license. The city operated for 150 years without it.
      Why is there no need for a Business license? Give me some examples.

      2) It is UNFAIRLY ENFORCED
      How is it unfairly enforced?

      3) It is ANOTHER TAX on Elgin Businesses in a worsening economy
      How many other taxes do Elgin Businesses pay each year?

      4) This regulation is NOT Business friendly. It is more government bureaucracy.

      Are many regulations business friendly? Regulations are met to protect the community.

      The Illinois Department of Profession Regulations requires many Professional People to be license for good reason. Having Elgin Businesses licensed tell me, a resident, that the business is a responsible established entity on record with the city government. The business is ligament.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        BW, your reply clearly shows that you have no background or understanding of the history of the Elgin Business License. I will in a few days post a complete reply. After you learn the background, then you can try to explain why we need the Elgin Business License. Until then, I bid you farewell!, Chuck

      • Thomas Jackson says:

        I think you mean “legitimate” and not ligament.

        http://www.cityofelgin.org/index.aspx?NID=1077

        This page explains exactly what the business tax is for, and who is exempt from it, and how it is enforced.

        I don’t see anything wrong with it at all.

  28. Cruex says:

    The ESO bailout looks like a done deal. If it is 2013 will go down as the worst fiscally managed year in Elgin’s history. One can blame the liberal majority on the city council but I prefer to point at Mayor Kaptain first. He intentionally misled the public with the Chilean visit and had plenty of chances to do so.If the mayor is not strong enough to speak the truth how can he expect the other liberals to do so?

    • Thomas Jackson says:

      Were you at the Working City Council Meeting at Hawthorne Woods?

      I confess there were two other people in the room that I didn’t know.

      If you were there, then I wonder how you came away with the impression that “2013 will go down as the worst fiscally managed year in Elgin’s history.” because quite the opposite is true, according to the detailed presentation given at that meeting.

      During recessions, people cut back on expenses. The City cut 100 jobs over the last few years. Elgin experienced the pain along with the rest of the country. But we came through it stronger. Yes attendance at the Symphony Orchestra fell during the recession and they are still in the red. This surprises you?

      Should we have a Symphony Orchestra? OF COURSE. WE ARE ELGIN!

      I’m delighted that the City has rescued the orchestra. I’m delighted that we could be nationally known for our association with the “Napa Valley” of Chile.

      Your silly opinions that the City Council and the Mayor are “liberals” because they support the arts and business and international connections just aren’t serious. The strategic plan is NOT a “liberal” plan. It is a very pragmatic and prudent and fiscally responsible plan, and it has brought us through the wilderness.

      Elgin has a FABULOUS DECADE before it. We are at the very beginning of our Garden flowering. We are the envy of 95% of the rest of the country. We are one of the best 100 places to live on Earth.

      I like the conservative skeptics who ask intelligent questions. Please, ask more intelligent questions. It helps keep things in perspective.

      Those of you who are part of the Tea Party crazytalk faction, please keep giving us reasons to laugh.

  29. Tim Palmer says:

    Hey cruex I agree with you. I call it lying. We are the party city for Chileans!

  30. Cruex says:

    From the Courier News today.

    No doubt, hard times have affected each and every one of us — especially in our individual pocketbooks — yet the city of Elgin needs to step it up and support the Elgin Symphony Orchestra.

    It is, after all, called the Elgin Symphony Orchestra for good reason. It is based here in Elgin and proudly plays for anyone willing and able to purchase a ticket for performances at the city’s Hemmens Cultural Center.

    If the orchestra has to pack up its instruments and float down the Fox River, the loss to the city would be insurmountable. The quality of musical entertainment that the symphony provides is one of the best in the state.
    Robert Hanson, the ESO’s longtime music director and conductor, packed up his baton in 2011 after 37 years with the orchestra. After more than a yearlong search, 35-year-old Andrew Grams was selected last month from a field of 12 candidates be the newest music director and conductor, signing a three-year contract with the ESO. He previously had served as assistant conductor for the Cleveland Orchestra from 2004 to 2007. With all of the hard work that went into this selection process, why would the city of Elgin not want to help to save the ESO?

    Grams is aware of the financial problems besetting the orchestra. Presently, the ESO is operating at a $700,000 loss annually. His youth and talent are inspiring and much-needed to bring the orchestra back to financial security through fundraising and community relationships. He is more than willing to take on the challenge, but he needs the support of the city.

    If the city council and the symphony can get on the same page, a viable solution to the financial problems of the ESO with city support can no doubt be drawn up to ensure that the music continues to flow out of the Hemmens.

    Even though the season’s tickets that my husband and I have purchased for over 10 years have shrunk from four yearly concerts to two, we and our guests are still ready and willing to stick with the ESO. The entertainment is worth every listening moment of breathtaking music that flows from the instruments of the many talented musicians featured by the ESO, as well as the many guest performers who grace the Hemmens stage.
    When hard financial times hit the arts, unfortunately the continuation of such pursuits does not always make the cut. The Elgin Symphony Orchestra definitely deserves the support of the city and patrons alike to keep this fine organization afloat. The loss of this wonderful organization would be a disgrace to the city of Elgin and surrounding communities.
    How about it — can the city of Elgin and the ESO work together to retain this outstanding asset?

    Linda McDaniel-Hale is a Sleepy Hollow resident.

    It must be nice to live in a lily white hamlet and tell others what to do. The writer is the typical patron of the ESO who lives in another ‘burb and leaves the cleanup to Elgin.

    On a 2nd point this has been a bad ten days for the Courier. The customary low level of journalism standards from Mike Denehey and now this editorial shows me the Courier deserves its reputation.

    • One Vote says:

      ESO needs to pay up (and pay for itself) or move on!
      This is nonsense having a decaying town pay so the highbrows can have subsidized concerts.

  31. Todd Martin says:

    My property taxes have really dropped! I just received a big check from my Mortgage Lender (Bank of America) for overpaying the Escrot in 2012 and was notified that my mortgage payment will drop by $85 a month due to lower Escrot set-aside. This is on my Elgin home which I paid $120K for.

    I know it is popular here to complain about higher taxes. I thought I’d say THANK YOU for my new lower taxes.

    • SIE says:

      Woohoo, my city taxes went down by $91 compared to last year. The additional taxes and fees I pay more than made up for it. More out of pocket to the city, but as long as the Mayor can say the city is lessening it’s dependence on property taxes I should be happy, right?

  32. Cruex says:

    How nice Todd Martin! Now how about telling all of us what just the city of Elgin portion of your super low tax bill is compared to the same line entry last year?
    Then tell us how your water bill increased by $185.40 in the same year for refuse and leaf rake out fee. Did you forget to mention the 5% increase in your electric and gas bills? I think you did you rascal.

    • Thomas Jackson says:

      Just some questions for clarification.

      Haven’t the water bill and the wastewater treatment bill been combined?

      Paying a larger bill for two services than you were paying for one service?

      If I pay 25 cents for an apple and 25 cents for an orange, but next week the grocer charges me 50 cents for an apple and an orange, does that mean, in your mind, that I’m paying twice as much for an apple?

      I don’t doubt that even with bill consolidation, water by itself might cost more. Or maybe it’s wastewater that costs more, or maybe it’s both.

      But what do you think would be the reason for that?

      • One Vote says:

        If you paid 25 cents for an apple and the grocer GAVE you an orange for free, that would be the old way of paying for garbage collection (a core government service).
        But now you pay 24 cents for the apple and the orange is another 25 cents that you didn’t pay before. Not such a great deal, is it.
        And the bananas are a new charge as well (utility taxes). And did I mention that you are paying for grapes now as well (the booze tax).
        When you add it all up you ARE paying more than before, it just looks like a good deal on your property tax bill.
        But if you are an apologist for the city, this will not compute with you.

        • Thomas Jackson says:

          My argument is pretty simple: you need to pay more for services that have increased. The City decided to break those increased service fees out and separate them from tax revenue.

          It’s just pragmatic. Nothing shifty about it. It’s an incentive for the citizens to get together and figure out how to reduce those fees, which I’m all for.

          How do we reduce the fees for garbage collection? Do we make the effort to recycle more? Separate garbage better? Re-use compost for gardening?

          If you just want the City to haul everything away, then pay for it.

          I’d love to hear some conservative ideas and intelligent questions on these issues.

          Including the water issue. Do you think wastewater treatment is free? Or should be? Who does the work? How is it paid for?

          • elginkevin says:

            It is absolutely “shifty” to start charging separately for services that used to be paid for with tax dollars, and then say that taxes have been reduced, while the new fees are more than the amount of the tax reduction. This is the same sort of thing that airlines have been doing to allow them to advertise “new low prices” (baggage fees, fees for pillows, etc).

            Even if what the City is saying is literally correct, it is wrong in spirit.

  33. Cruex says:

    There have been two pro-Elgin Symphony Orchestra articles written by the Courier in the last two days. The Courier and the ESO are both near extinction. Maybe they can merge and with city help stay around for another few months.
    Now that the Chilean charity tour is over what will Elgin do to make themselves feel good about being such an affluent city?

  34. Tim Palmer says:

    Hey Todd Martin, MY Elgin tax bill went down $140 for the year but my water bill went up the same $185.40 as cruuex did plus my gas and electric bills went up an average of about $120 for the Elgin utility taxes. That means I got a $165.00 screw job for a family of three for one friggin’ year. BTW, what you paid for your house means squat, it’s what it’s worth. Tell your happy happy story to the city council.

  35. Todd Martin says:

    2 points that were missed (or ignored):

    1) I have a mortgage on my house, which means that property taxes are taken out of the payment in escrot. I did not see a penny of savings from property tax reductions until today. Now, my mortgage payment is being reduced and I have a refund check for last year’s overpayment of escrot. I’m guessing I’m not the only one. If anyone else reading Elginite got a refund check for escrot, I’d like to know.

    2) The new Utility tax on electricity is more than offset by the savings in your elecvtric rates thanks to electrical aggregagation which the Elgin City Council approved. Elgin resident’s electric rates went down 35%. Your net utility bills should be LOWER than before.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Todd, here are four points for your consideration:

      1) Citizens were free to find lower cost electrical providers on their own, without aggregation brought about by the City. For those people, the City’s tax increase was a total increase as the City’s aggregation provided no benefit to those individuals.

      2) When the City chose its electrical provider, they did NOT choose the lowest cost provider! They instead opted to go to a “green” provider and not make cost the top priority. I looked at the flier supplied by the new electrical supplier, and they list coal as one of their primary sources. Isn’t that supposed to be the worst way to get electricity for “greenies”?

      3) I keep detailed, TOTAL living expense spread sheets. My total electrical cost, with all taxes and fees considered were:
      2009 $567.92
      2010 $570.28
      2011 $598.86
      2012 $641.86
      I realize that there may be plenty of issues going on here, but for whatever reason, my total electrical bill went up in 2012! In other words, I don’t see any savings based upon my historic usage patterns, only a huge increase. You may argue that without agregation, my electrical bill may have been even more, maybe, I don’t know. But clearly, I don’t have MORE money to pay the City even MORE taxes! That is a total red herring!

      4) Note, the electrical tax did not go into effect until mid 2012, so the new taxes didn’t even enter into the equation in the first half of the year. So in 2013, the dollars I pay to Elgin’s natural gas and electrical taxes will be greater.

      Chuck

      • Thomas Jackson says:

        Chuck I don’t know what kinds of machinery you operate in your home, but I think you need an assessment to make your home more energy efficient. Your costs seem astronomical.

        Frankly, if your are someone who uses or waste a whole lot of electricity, I don’t have much sympathy.

        But if you are unaware of cost-saving steps, I am more than glad to help you find some info. Bring down the costs and you bring down the taxes.

        • Chuck Keysor says:

          Thomas, before the electrical tax went into effect, Sandy Kaptain sent out a mass emailing, asking people to report how many kilowatts of electricity they used. And she reported the usage she and Dave have. My usage was lower than hers. IF I recall correctly, she noted my readings were the lowest of anyone reporting back. Hardly scientific, but I economize on everything.

          Two of my neighbors tell me I need to have lights on at night, as my house, they say, looks abandoned!

          Chuck

    • SIE says:

      Elgin did a poor job in negotiating the aggregation rate. Rates many other cities negotiated both before and after Elgin did theirs were lower. You can see what other cities pay on Com Ed’s site.

      • Anna Claire says:

        I’m glad I didn’t “Opt in” on that program.

        • SIE says:

          It’s still better than Com Ed’s rate. Not sure about if you do it yourself with one of the other suppliers. Most do have a contract period, at least we can switch without a penalty. I should look in to what else is available. For sure you should not pay Com Ed’s rate.

  36. MS says:

    Toddster

    Look at your tax bill from Mr David J. Rickert, the Kane County Treasurer for the year 2012 that you must have received in the mail. Next, take out your tax bill you received from the same gentleman the year before for 2011. Then COMPARE THE TOTAL AMOUNTS. Did your taxes go down $1020 as you stated?

    Your bank changing the amount they want from you for escrow payments is usually not the same as your taxes going down. you need to look at the actual tax bills.

  37. One Vote says:

    There is a play in town at ECC.
    Urinetown.
    It’s about a municipality that charges by the flush.
    I have not seen it, but Elginites might find the premise amusing.

  38. doobie says:

    Todd, your tax bill really has nothing to with Elgin. It has to do with higher appraised value for commercial real estate in U46.

    Property taxes are deceptive by design.

  39. Margaret Miller says:

    As of this posting, Sunday - July 21, 2013 at 10:30 PM, the bailout for the “Too Big To Fail” ESO will be up for discussion at Wednesday’s (July 24, 2013 - 6:00 PM) Council meeting.

    Below is and immediate “Call to Action” along with the transcript of the Council meeting portion from the January 2013 discussion on the ESO’s request for $150,000 for the next three years. Keep in mind, at that meeting there was no repayment plan offered for the current Hemmens back rent exceeding $303,000 and the back rent for the office space they currently occupy.

    Now there is a plan. That plan is for a 15 year repayment schedule along with deep rental discounts on the Hemmens and most likely continued taxpayer’s support ad infinitum.

    The only way this bailout can possibly be stopped is if this Council hears from proactive taxpayers.

    1) Do NOT consider giving any money to the ESO until a structural study of the Hemmens has been completed. Why would we bailout the ESO when the Hemmens not structurally sound and brought up to all State & Federal codes. These improvement costs will be on the taxpayer’s back and may run into the millions of dollars for 2013 improvements. This is a money pit of ultimate perportions.

    2) No future plans should even be discussed, reviewed or made until a substantial payment of what is due Elgin has been made as well as confirmed payment means on the remaining debt and the means for future payments have been met and approved.

    3) Ask the Council why they allowed the city’s largest debtor to continue non payment of their debt for so long, throwing our hard earned money to an organization who has a proven track record of being a delinquent financially mismanaged organization?

    4) Remind your Council member of their words from the January discussion (below) and demand their reason of their change of opinion. (Transcribed below)

    For 63 years the ESO has been treated like a fair haired child but reality set in and this taxpaying parent says enough. Every parent needs to cut the cord and allow their dependant to fly on their own. As the new ESO Director, Mr. Bearden responded to the City Manager’s question in January…City Manager: “So that may indicate that you feel the symphony will continue to be viable without financial support from the city?”
    Mr. Bearden: “Yes, I think it just it makes it easier if we do have support, as I said that building block approach. Sean, it makes it easier but we intend to go forward?”

    This is an elitist group of wealthy Elgin citizens who want the lesser earning Elgin citizens to subsidize they hobby.

    Contact the Elgin City Council and let your outrage be heard.
    mayor@cityofelgin.org,
    prigge_j@cityofelgin.org,
    gavin_t@cityofelgin.org,
    shaw_t@cityofelgin.org,
    rauschenberger_c@cityofelgin.org,
    moeller_a@cityofelgin.org,
    powell_t@cityofelgin.org,
    steffen_j@cityofelgin.org,
    dunne_r@cityofelgin.org
    stegall_s@cityofelgin.org
    ______________________________________________________________________

    Below are excerpts of the finer points on the ESO debt issue. As you read, you will find out that the majority has changed their minds from “no support” to “all in” support.

    COW 01-23-13 - Video Mark 00:28:16 Item “C” on the agenda.

    http://cityofelgin.granicus.com/mediaplayer.php?View_id=6&clip_id=986

    ESO Financial & Operational Update - ESO Volunteer CEO David Bearden - 2008-2011

    Video Mark 00:52:07 - Councilman Prigge: Video Mark: “I read a published report a few weeks ago that the rent due to the Hemmens, those payments had stopped a year and a half ago when it was announced that we were not going to possibly fund you. Is that true and if so why?”

    Mr. Bearden - “Yes, and I don’t know. I know it is true. I know it is true.”

    Video Mark: 0056:25 - Councilman Prigge - “My final thing is that I am very concerned about the size of the amount of money that is owed to us.”

    Mr. Bearden: “So are we.”

    Councilman Prigge - “We’re looking at, from what I checked with the City Manager, you are the largest debtor to the city has had at least decades for this amount of money.”

    Video mark 00:57:03 - Mr. Bearden addressing Councilman Prigge - “…When I talked to Mayor Kaptain in December (2012), we had talked about a conversation about starting to pay immediately going forward and starting to quibble around with the back rent. So, we understand the obligation there and we want to address that. We want to address that.”

    Video mark 00:57:22 - Councilwomen Moeller - “…You’re asking for 3 years of support from the city to stabilize the symphony. What happens in year 4? What guarantees do we have that the symphony will be on a sure footing then and will not need such financial support from the city?”

    Video mark 00:59:07 - Councilwomen Moeller - “If the city were to provide the support its safe to say that we’d be one of the larger donors to the symphony, correct?”

    Mr. Bearden responding to Councilwomen Moeller - “Among the larger donors. Among”

    Video mark 01:00:06 - Councilwomen Moeller - “And then finally, Councilman Prigge eluded to it. In terms of future plans for fundraising, community outreach, letting the community kind of understand the importance of the symphony and generating more community support outside of the concerts and ticket sales. Does the symphony have some solid ideas on how to do that so that the financial future is more stable and the community is more invested in the symphony?”

    Mr. Bearden responding to Councilwomen Moeller - “You know, unfortunately we have kind of been on a pause for the last 2 years because of this lack of a music director…”

    Video mark 01:01:32 - Councilman Dunne - “…but I do have concerns for the citizens of Elgin. What collateral do you have to offer us if we were to extend this loan payment system to you?”

    Mr. Bearden responding to Councilman Dunne - “Practically, there really are no assets of the organization. So the collateral is the promise and you have to monitor what we’re doing. That’s the only possible collateral we have.”

    Video Mark 01:03:55 - Councilwomen Powell: …addressing Mr. Bearden “…We’ve gone through obviously some very difficult times here….since 2007-2008 and I’m just a little disappointed that the ESO didn’t stop their bleeding a whole lot sooner than based on your presentation it sounds like you guys just really used a lot of your foundation money up until about last spring when you actually really started to make cuts. Is that an accurate statement?” Response “Yes, that’s true.”

    Video Mark 01:06:13 Councilwomen Powell: “It’s very difficult for me to consider giving you additional money right now and we really don’t see concrete plans for your ability to (a) pay back the money that’s currently owed to us but for you to actually even be financially solvent in the next few years. You’re looking for a music director, how do you intended to pay this person?”

    Councilwomen Powell: “With all due respect, you thought you had a viable business plan and financial plan a few years ago and obviously that hasn’t panned out.”

    Councilwomen Powell: “City Manager Stegall, what is the value of the rent that we provide to the ESO right now for their office space?

    City Manager: “Oh, ah, office space is somewhere probably right now around, in that building $10-$12 a square foot. $20,000-$30,000 a year…the Chamber of Commerce is also there rent free… Its value exceeds what we’re presently receiving. I do know that.”

    Video mark 01:09:59 - Councilwomen Powell:”…but I’m just not comfortable with what I’ve seen in terms of financial management from the organization and a solid plan for generating income. You mentioned that you have two donors, well you’ve got the large gift that you’ve received part of right now and I think two board members that have donated $100,000, which is wonderful but I would have to believe that with a little work you could probably find several donors that could come up with the $150,000 a year that you asking us for right now.”

    Video mark 01:10:48 - Councilman Gilliam - “…I think before we try to give you additional money we need to work out a way to pay back what you owe us. I think that’s important first. Because if you can’t do that it means that you are not solvent and that you can’t go on. So I think that the first thing we have to do is work out some type of payment plan that would show the community that you are paying back your largest debtor. That you’re paying us back. And I think that’s important before we move on.”

    Video mark 01:11:26 - Councilwoman Moeller: “… I don’t dispute that the symphony needs to pay back what they owe us. They have to honor their previous agreements…I’m not suggesting that we subsidize…”

    Video mark 01:15:54 - City Manager: “…We’ve had, as you are aware, several studies over the past several years have looked at the Hemmens and what you just raised is a point that the experts in this area pointed out. The Hemmens is not a modern enough facility or a large enough facility to garner the type of acts that would allow us to compete in an increasingly competitive environment with newer facilities such as the Sears Center, what happens in Rosemont, etc. At this same time, this is the quandary, it is too expensive of a facility, it’s too large and maybe too nice for community theater groups, for other types of non for profits and ESO may fall into that situation. So you are left with a facility that because of the age and the functional obsolesces of it that it’s not nice enough to compete and demand that type of market and is too elaborate for most community based groups and that in a nutshell is the problem with the Hemmens. That will continue to exist until that even larger policy discussion is had by either this council or future city councils and that’s the facts.”

    Video Mark 01:16:20 - Councilman Gilliam: “Sean, if the symphony failed and went out of business would there be a need to keep the Hemmens going? Aren’t they the biggest user of the Hemmens?”

    City Manager: “It all depends on the policy goal of what the council is and what you want to accomplish in the area of performing arts. Certainly that goal can, it depends Bob…the city council does not have to be in the performing arts business. So if we’re going to be in the performing arts business and we continue to have a building that is as outdated as the Hemmens is, although it appears great and it looks nice, they do a great job maintaining it, you will continue to have these types of challenges.”

    Video mark 01:22:39 - Mayor Kaptain: “…There were assumptions, this is from Bob Hanson, there were assumptions of 50% more pledges, 100% more sponsors but there was no plan in place to make those number a reality.”

    Mayor Kaptain: “…One of the numbers that you gave us when we talked about your future plan was the increase in sale of tickets of what I believe it was almost 25% or 20%. How would you justify being able to increase your ticket sales, if you could do it this year why didn’t you do it last year? And the year before?”

    Video mark 01:25:06 - Mayor Kaptain: “One last thing as a comment, you know I’ve been a subscriber for a number of time as a resident and a Mayor and I’m really deeply disappointed in the symphony orchestra. One of the things I’ve tried to do in 2 years here is to be transparent and I don’t think you’ve been that to us. And that disappoints me a lot. I think anything that we do that moves forward you guys are going to have to be as crystal clear as can be. And the water has been pretty murky. I have been having meetings with symphony board members and Mr. Linus for almost a year and it’s been moving target for me.”

    Video mark 01:26:05 - City Manager: “I think one important question…I don’t think it’s been asked cistinctly. I know both you and I have a shared goal to making sure the city council understands exactly what you’re requesting and what that could mean. You’ve indicated that you believe you have a viable business plan. Without support from the city, financial support, would you still believe you would have a viable business plan?”

    Mr. Bearden: “Absolutely”

    City Manager: “So that may indicate that you feel the symphony will continue to be viable without financial support from the city?”

    Mr. Bearden: “Yes, I think it just it makes it easier if we do have support, as I said that building block approach. Sean, it makes it easier but we intend to go forward?”

    City Manager: “What would then be the bases of the request for support then?”

    Mr. Bearden: “The bases of support is that we’ve had historically a joint partnership and the return on investment that this community received, I believe, from $150,000 over 11 years, the last 11 years I’ve looked at more than exceeds those dollars….”

  40. SIE says:

    $150,000?? The Council spends more than that on Kleenex. Focus your efforts on something meaningful.

  41. Margaret Miller says:

    Morning,

    I will offer bits of the COW 01-23-13 - Video Mark 00:28:16 Item “C” on the agenda for your response regarding The Elgin Symphony Orchestra.

    Http://cityofelgin.granicus.com/mediaplayer.php?View_id=6&clip_id=986
    ESO Financial & Operational Update - ESO Volunteer CEO David Bearden  - 2008-2011 Management Results

    Council portion starting at Video Mark -00:41:29 ESO Path to Financial Stability:
     
    Video Mark - 00:52:07 -
    Councilman Prigge: “I read a published report a few weeks ago that the rent due to the Hemmens, those payments had stopped a year and a half ago when it was announced that we were not going to possibly fund you. Is that true and if so why?”

    Mr. Bearden - “Yes, and I don’t know. I know it is true. I know it is true.”

    Video Mark: 0056:25 - Councilman Prigge - “My final thing is that I am very concerned about the size of the amount of money that is owed to us.”

    Mr. Bearden: “So are we.”

    Councilman Prigge - “We’re looking at, what I checked with the City Manager, you are the largest debtor to the city has had at least decades for this amount of money.”

    • SIE says:

      If we cared enough to watch we would and most did…in JANUARY. Enough with the play by play.

      Like I said focus your efforts on the million dollar plus contracts the city doles out or spends on a new floor or whatever.

      Your diatribe against the ESO is getting old. I wonder what is the real reason behind your agenda?

      • What were they thinking? says:

        Agreed - the ESO has been one of the only positive things to come out of Elgin in a long time. You can’t buy that kind of good PR. $150,000 is a lot of money for us, not for the city.

        • Margaret Miller says:

          If you think that the largest debtor to the city is positive, I wonder what you would consider a negative?

          But let’s take a look at what the ESO Council Grandfather said about them in January 2013.

          Video mark 01:10:48 - Councilman Gilliam - “…I think before we try to give you additional money we need to work out a way to pay back what you owe us. I think that’s important first. Because if you can’t do that it means that you are not solvent and that you can’t go on. So I think that the first thing we have to do is work out some type of payment plan that would show the community that you are paying back your largest debtor. That you’re paying us back. And I think that’s important before we move on.”

      • Margaret Miller says:

        SIE & bw:

        Putting the important issue of the ESO debt and future bailouts aside for a moment, ESO’s so called “home” (The Hemmens) has been reported by many to have structural issues and is not up to current State & Federal code standards. 

        If we are looking at doing anything with ESO, let’s at least process the issue in order of importance. 
        First, we need a current Hemmens structural and code study completed so that EVERYONE will know what is truly in front of them.  

        Costs could run into the millions of dollars that the taxpayers are on the hook for. (Can you say “The Old Elgin Public Library?)

        On the other hand, the structure may be in such bad shape that it will not be standing in 5 years. So, then what? 

        We have a relationship with the ESO, joined at the hip by the Hemmens. What if the Hemmens will not be standing in 5 years? Do we now have to build the ESO a new home that could cost upwards of $50 million dollars? A new facility was talked about back in 2007-2009.

        Let’s start using some common sense here and look at this problem in the proper fiscal order, shall we?

        ESO currently owes the City of Elgin over $303,000 for back rent on the Hemmens and office space.
        In January 2013, the ESO volunteer director came before the then city council asking for an additional $150,000 per year for the next 3 years with no pledge for repayment of their current debt. So now the taxpayers are looking at a total over $750,000 to these deadbeats. 

        Keeping in mind that the director stated the ESO could and would move forward without the financial assistance of Elgin.

        The ESO has made NO GOOD FAITH PAYMENT to Elgin in 2 years, they only seem to have their hand out for a check all while showing no incentive to help themselves out of the self-imposed financial mismanagement.

        Elgin MUST also require repayment of their current debt immediately and I don’t mean subsidised by the taxpayer’s. 

        I strongly suggest this debt be paid in full by either their contributors and board members. 

        It is my understanding from the ESO presentation in January that the second half of a $600,000 estate gift is scheduled to be issued in the second half of 2013. That would be $300,000 and that money should be immediately directed to the City of Elgin for payment on their current debt. I wonder if Elgin will receive any of that money or for that matter, did we receive any portion of the first gift payment received in the first half of 2013?

        Now, I sure hope neither of you come back and tell me I need to focus my efforts on something meaningful. Perhaps you need to be paying closer attention to the Council members who have just recently changed their tune from January’s meeting.

      • Margaret Miller says:

        At the same January 2013 council meeting, let’s take a look at what Mayor Kaptain told the ESO.

        Video mark 01:22:39 - Mayor Kaptain: “…There were assumptions, this is from Bob Hanson, there were assumptions of 50% more pledges, 100% more sponsors but there was no plan in place to make those number a reality.”

        Mayor Kaptain: “…One of the numbers that you gave us when we talked about your future plan was the increase in sale of tickets of what I believe it was almost 25% or 20%. How would you justify being able to increase your ticket sales, if you could do it this year why didn’t you do it last year? And the year before?”

        Video mark 01:25:06 - Mayor Kaptain: “One last thing as a comment, you know I’ve been a subscriber for a number of time as a resident and a Mayor and I’m really deeply disappointed in the symphony orchestra. One of the things I’ve tried to do in 2 years here is to be transparent and I don’t think you’ve been that to us. And that disappoints me a lot. I think anything that we do that moves forward you guys are going to have to be as crystal clear as can be. And the water has been pretty murky. I have been having meetings with symphony board members and Mr. Linus for almost a year and it’s been moving target for me.”

        • RS says:

          Would you happen to have the financial statements of the ESO? I’d like to take a quick look…

          • Margaret Miller says:

            RS, I think there a many people who want to review their financial statement. I don’t have anything concrete to offer at this time.

            My best guess is that they are flat broke and any possible money would be earmarked to the union musicians and the recent contract negotiations. I believe their contract expired in June. I would like to see the financial contract for the new director.

            This organization has no collateral or assets. I do know they were suppose to receive the second half of a gift trust in the second half of 2013 in the amount of $300,000. I wonder if they received and I wonder how much of the entire $600,000 gift trust Elgin will receive.

      • Margaret Miller says:

        SIE
        You posted to me back on July 13, 2013 at 11:40 am the following.
        The amount of money the council spends with barely a blink of an eye (new computer systems, phone systems, etc.) makes the amount spent on Northwest Fourth Fest inconsequential. I’m tired of hearing million dollar plus resolutions come and go with no discussion. Those still complaining about the fireworks, focus your efforts on those.

        So SIE, per your request, I have stopped posting on the issue of the fireworks and have moved on to the Hemmens & ESO. This is what you asked me to focus on, million dollar deals that have not been discussed. Correct?

  42. Cruex says:

    Tell me SIE, how long have you been a season ticket holder with the ESO? Speaking of the ESO, yesterday it was mentioned to me that someone on the council has a sister-in-law who is in the ESO? Can anyone confirm that?

    • Margaret Miller says:

      I believe that is Anna Moeller’s sister in law who is a cellist.

    • SIE says:

      Tell me Cruex, what does your question and my potential answer have to do with anything I posted?

      Margaret Miller is on a crusade regarding the ESO. Good for her. Bad for the rest of us who come to elginite.org who might like to see some other issues discussed rather than seeing her post play by play of a 6 month old council meeting.

      Like I said several times there are many issues facing the city. This one is fairly minor in terms of a city with a multi multi multi million dollar budget. Sure the Hemmens’ fate is worth talking about but it seems secondary in her agenda.

  43. bw says:

    MM: Focus your efforts on something meaningful, Best advice of the month.

    • Margaret Miller says:

      Let’s see what Councilwomen Powell says on Wednesday regarding giving more money to the ESO after she said the following in January 2013, shall we?

      COW 01-23-13 - Video Mark 00:28:16 Item “C” on the agenda.
      http://cityofelgin.granicus.com/mediaplayer.php?View_id=6&clip_id=986

      ESO Financial & Operational Update - ESO Volunteer CEO David Bearden - 2008-2011

      Video Mark 01:03:55 - Councilwomen Powell: …addressing Mr. Bearden “…We’ve gone through obviously some very difficult times here….since 2007-2008 and I’m just a little disappointed that the ESO didn’t stop their bleeding a whole lot sooner than based on your presentation it sounds like you guys just really used a lot of your foundation money up until about last spring when you actually really started to make cuts. Is that an accurate statement?” Response “Yes, that’s true.”

      Video Mark 01:06:13 Councilwomen Powell: “It’s very difficult for me to consider giving you additional money right now and we really don’t see concrete plans for your ability to (a) pay back the money that’s currently owed to us but for you to actually even be financially solvent in the next few years. You’re looking for a music director, how do you intended to pay this person?”

      Councilwomen Powell: “With all due respect, you thought you had a viable business plan and financial plan a few years ago and obviously that hasn’t panned out.”

      Councilwomen Powell: “City Manager Stegall, what is the value of the rent that we provide to the ESO right now for their office space?

      City Manager: “Oh, ah, office space is somewhere probably right now around, in that building $10-$12 a square foot. $20,000-$30,000 a year…the Chamber of Commerce is also there rent free… Its value exceeds what we’re presently receiving. I do know that.”

      Video mark 01:09:59 - Councilwomen Powell:”…but I’m just not comfortable with what I’ve seen in terms of financial management from the organization and a solid plan for generating income.  You mentioned that you have two donors, well you’ve got the large gift that you’ve received part of right now and I think two board members that have donated $100,000, which is wonderful but I would have to believe that with a little work you could probably find several donors that could come up with the $150,000 a year that you asking us for right now.”

  44. SIE says:

    If Powell and the rest of the Council gave as much attention to everything else they rubber stamp as they now seem to be giving the ESO we’d all be better off. But they don’t. Practically every meeting it’s a million dollars here, a million dollars there with nary a discussion. Focus on that.

  45. Harmony says:

    Is Elginite now Margarete Miller news? Come on these posts are way to long.

    • Margaret Miller says:

      No one is twisting your arm to read long posts.
      I didn’t realize that a persons reading attention span was the sum of three sentences.

      Perhaps if we had better local government and a more informed citizenry, everyone would know the truths, facts and deceptions and there would be no point of Elginite.

  46. One Vote says:

    I for one appreciate Margaret’s effort to show us what’s happening with ESO. Turn your back on those liberals and we’ll have another Centre, bleeding cash year-after-year while ignoring core services and creating new “revenue streams” that are nothing more than new taxes and fees.
    It is totally unfair for the city fathers to kill the reputation of this city, turn it into an ethnic enclave, drive business away and then put the property owners on the hook in an effort to restore the image.
    We’re not Sleepy Hollow or St Charles. A symphony is a status symbol we cannot afford and do not deserve.
    If ESO’s financials don’t make that point then you are blind.

    • Margaret Miller says:

      Thank you One Vote! My true feelings are that this issue has more to do with the future of the Hemmens than the ESO. Where will the ESO play if there is no Hemmens?

      We are entangling ourselves with the ESO for 15 years (due to the debt which now the Courier reports a new plan of debt forgivness. See link below.) when we don’t know the future of the Hemmens or the costs involved to bring it up to code repair structurally.

      If future repairs turn out to be so bad that in 5 years the Hemmens is no longer inhabitable, then what? We’re faced with needing to provide the ESO a new home? Want to make a guess how much that will cost Elgin taxpayers? My guess upwards of $50 million plus. That’s not Kleenex to me!

      My research shows that back in 2007 there were obvious talks about Elgin building a new facility for ESO. Coincidently, this new facility was mentioned in Mr. Bearden’s presentation in January 2013 to the Council although no further comment from either side was offered.

      How’s that for information no one is reporting?

      http://www.polyphonic.org/orchestra_spotlight/elgin-symphony-orchestra/

      ESO Committee Chair Charles Schuchat - “We currently play in the Hemmens Theater, a multi-purpose hall – the acoustics are not terrific and it is also not ideal for patrons or musicians. There are plans to build a new hall, which will almost certainly involve the city of Elgin. The new hall will hopefully be a concert hall with us as the principal tenant, which should let the ESO expand our season more easily. We have seed money for it and the city seems really interested,

      AD: Tell me about the proposed new hall.
      Bob Hanson: There’s a huge probability that it’s going to happen. The big issue remaining is whether it will be a multi-purpose hall or a concert hall. There is a movement afoot to try to bring Broadway to Elgin. The symphony feels that, while Broadway could be a nice thing to bring more folks to the downtown, it is difficult to mount and sell – especially since Elgin has no history of producing Broadway at any level. Elgin already has a wonderful orchestra. Why not capitalize on the orchestra by building a world-class concert hall?

      http://couriernews.suntimes.com/21468357-417/elgin-council-to-consider-resident-survey-funding-plan-for-elgin-symphony-orchestra.html

      Originally, Stegall had suggested a 15-year repayment plan for that back rent with a 3 percent interest rate. Any city contribution would not be made until the payment was received, Stegall said at a June council retreat.

      Under the new suggested plan, “we would forgive the debt, then give them a reduced amount of funding every year … in lieu of paying us back,” Stegall said.

      Write your Council.
      mayor@cityofelgin.org,
      prigge_j@cityofelgin.org,
      gavin_t@cityofelgin.org,
      shaw_t@cityofelgin.org,
      rauschenberger_c@cityofelgin.org,
      moeller_a@cityofelgin.org,
      powell_t@cityofelgin.org,
      steffen_j@cityofelgin.org,
      dunne_r@cityofelgin.org
      stegall_s@cityofelgin.org

  47. Anna Claire says:

    BREAKING NEWS for the taxpaying citizens. Elgin is now in the business of debt forgivness. Who thought of this bright idea?

    http://couriernews.suntimes.com/21468357-417/elgin-council-to-consider-resident-survey-funding-plan-for-elgin-symphony-orchestra.html

    Elgin council to consider resident survey, funding plan for Elgin Symphony Orchestra

    By Janelle Walker For The Courier-News July 22, 2013 3:58PM
    ELGIN — Surveying residents is the most effective way of determining their opinions on issues, says City Manager Sean Stegall.

    “For the last several decades, a standard best practice for cities is to do public opinion surveys,” Stegall said.

    During Wednesday night’s city council meeting, Stegall and city staff will again ask the council to consider spending $39,750 for a resident survey, conducted by the ETC Institute.

    The council also is set to have another discussion regarding future city funding for the Elgin Symphony Orchestra. At the last council meeting, members voted 8-1 to consider some funding for the symphony.

    Elgin has surveyed its residents before to determine what they think of their community — as recently as 2007 and in 2001.

    The 2001 survey, according to Courier-News stories at the time, indicated that loud-pounding stereos was one of their top issues — leading the city to pass an ordinance banning the booming bass from cars.

    Stegall recalls that in the 2007 survey, residents said they were fearful of being in downtown Elgin at night. However, surveys done in other communities stated similar opinions, Stegall said.

    “That is a near-universal phenomenon — they don’t feel safe anywhere at night,” Stegall said. That led to the city promoting that, statistically speaking, Elgin’s downtown is as safe as any downtown, he noted.

    In addition to calling landline and cellphone customers in Elgin, the survey will use focus-group data to determine the validity of the final survey, Stegall said.

    The survey will not directly ask opinions on complex matters but instead get a range of how residents feel on specific topics, he said.

    “What we don’t want to do is ask questions that are so specific that they need an insightful or educated view” of the issue, Stegall said. “Everybody has opinions and perceptions. This gives valuable information to the city council, to modify views or bring up topics that need additional discourse,” he said.

    For example, Stegall said, the survey can ask, “How important is the Elgin Symphony Orchestra to Elgin’s art community?” with answers ranging from “very important” to “not important at all,” Stegall said.

    Based on a suggestion from Councilman John Steffen at the last discussion of ESO funding, Stegall will present a plan Wednesday that forgives ESO’s outstanding rent debt to the city but would provide the symphony with less funding than previously requested.

    The ESO currently owes the city $303,786 for back rent at the Hemmens Cultural Center. Elgin support of the ESO stopped in 2011, when the city made its last direct financial allocation to the symphony. The last rental payment from the ESO to the Hemmens was in May 2011.

    Originally, Stegall had suggested a 15-year repayment plan for that back rent with a 3 percent interest rate. Any city contribution would not be made until the payment was received, Stegall said at a June council retreat.

    Under the new suggested plan, “we would forgive the debt, then give them a reduced amount of funding every year … in lieu of paying us back,” Stegall said.

    The council needs to weigh “the cons and pros of that,” he said.

  48. Cruex says:

    The reason I ask about a potential relationship between you and the ESO is that your dismissive response solely based on the amount of money involved is typical of those with a special interest. People like that like to justify anything for themselves solely based on money and not on the issue.

    But to the point of Moeller’s conflict of interest with her sister-in-law if that is true, where will the 5 needed votes come from on the support issue? Rauschenberger, Steffen, Kaptain, Powell, Dunne yes?, Moeller abstain, Shaw. Prigge and Gavin, no?

  49. One Vote says:

    This whole ESO thing is disgusting. How long has the city known this is a problem? Gilliam had the inside track, being tied to ESO. Surely Kaptain knew when he was running against Schock.
    We hired an expensive number cruncher so Eddie could claim 10,000 new jobs.
    Look around, people. The reason ESO can’t make it is because the companies in Elgin are gone. Retail won’t invest here. Manufacturing is gone. The Chamber is made up of government agencies. U46 is the biggest employer.
    The city ought to be working hard to figure out what to do about unsustainable pensions and city worker wages. Instead we’re studying fireworks and hiding the numbers on the Chile party.

    • RS says:

      http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=204711684

      “The government has spent about $52 million for Francis’ visit, but he does not appear to be a focus of protesters’ rage.”

      We got the Chileans for a comparative bargain.

      • Margaret Miller says:

        RS,

        If this was your attempt at humor, it was about as funny as a flat tire.

        I don’t care what another government spends, I care what is spent that I have to pick up the tab for.

        What a shame, I expected more for you.

        • bw says:

          We expected more of you. You’re not happy with unless you have the spotligt like all I and me people. The small amount of the tab that you’re picking up is like a drop of water in the ocean. Your post have a lot to be desired. If you can’t post something productive, don’t post at all.

          • Margaret Miller says:

            bw,
            If you only understood the truth from the other side and not the whitewash you have been served up as gruel, perhaps we could work together.

            I believe that the reason my post irritate you is because you are realizing that you have been under a misconception of the facts and truth and now are in conflict. Just a thought for you to ponder. Its not about personal gain, it’s about educating. Have a great day. I will be at council this evening if you would like to speak further.

  50. Rich L. Jacobs says:

    KIWANIS CLUB OF ELGIN ANNOUNCES NEW LOCATION FOR
    54th ANNUAL BARBEQUE FUND RAISER

    Sponsors: Advocate Sherman Hospital, Lamp Inc., Mueller, &
    Golden Law Offices

    Featuring: Famous Fay’s BBQ Pork Chop and Chicken Dinner
    at Advocate Sherman Hospital — Carry Out Drive thru available!

    WHAT: KIWANIS CLUB OF ELGIN’S 54th ANNUAL BBQ FUND RAISER

    SPONSORS: Advocate Sherman Hospital, Lamp Inc., Mueller, Golden Law Offices

    WHEN: SATURDAY, AUGUST 17, 2013

    TIME: 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

    WHERE: ADVOCATE SHERMAN HOSPITAL
    (Randall Road near I-90)
    1425 N Randall Road, Elgin, IL 60123

    COST: $13.00 PER PERSON – CARRY OUT DRIVE THRU AVAILABLE

    TICKETS AVAILABLE AT EVENT & FROM KIWANIS MEMBERS OR BY CALLING 847-695-0250

    WHY: PROCEEDS TO BENEFIT LOCAL CHILDREN’S CHARITIES

    The Kiwanis Club of Elgin has raised well over $500,000 in the 53 years of hosting it’s BBQ fund raiser. The Kiwanis Club of Elgin meets at 12:00 p.m. Noon each Tuesday at The Hickory Stick Bar & Grille Restaurant, 875 Sports Way, Elgin, IL 60123, located at the Highlands of Elgin’s Golf Course. Meetings are open to the public. There is a $11 charge for lunch. Membership information is available by calling (847) 909-8173. The Kiwanis Club of Elgin received its charter on March 9, 1920. The Club has been donating funds to more than 30 deserving organizations in Elgin and South Elgin, primarily those serving children.

  51. Tim Palmer says:

    Hey BW don’t be sad. You are much funnier when you start talking about Carol Rauschenberger as the next mayor! Where did that talk go? Do you know if your future mayor knows that the pledge of allegiance is supposed to be said and not sung out loud?

  52. TP says:

    A couple things from last nights COW and Council Meetings….

    Item H. Consideration of Agreement with Texzon Utilities to Solicit Qualified Retail Electric Providers to Provide Retail Electric Service and Natural Gas
    to the City and its Municipal Facilities (No Cost to the City)
    Objective: Realize electricity and natural gas savings for municipal buildings

    My Comment: If the electrical aggregation foisted upon the citizens this year dosen’t save the city enough money why was the current plan choosen? Why dosen’t the city participate in the same plans as it’s citizens? Seems like a case of “Do what we say, not as we do”. While I appreciate that the city is looking to save money, I don’t like they way the city encouraged the citizens to choose a new electrical provider to hide the additional USE TAX they placed on our electrical bill.

    Last night during the COW council comments section (you can tell who is running soon during this portion of the meeting) Council Woman Powell correctly identified the the Business Licesning Fee as a Tax. Thanks for admitting that you are charging SOME businesses a tax (if you sell food you are now except from this fee). So since it is a tax AND since it is only levied on SOME businesses, it is time to get rid of it entirely. All businesses can still regiter, but you don’t need to collect a TAX to do so.

  53. Chuck Keysor says:

    Excellent comments TP!

    We need to work to encourage Terry and/or Toby to bring the Elgin Business License up for a vote before the next election. This will hopefully provide a clear dividing line between conservative candidates such as Toby (who opposes the EBL) and the liberal candidates Steffen/Powell/Moeller (who all voted in favor of the EBL in January 2012 and would presumably do so again).

    Chuck

  54. MMathieu says:

    Good afternoon!
    My name is Michelle Mathieu, and I am the Outdoor Discovery Schools Department Manager at the South Barrington, LL Bean. I administrate the kayaking and snowshoeing programming for our store, as well as the community outreach and community service. I am reaching out to the local newspapers and event organizations in an effort to increase the local awareness of our Discovery Schools programming that we do from our store. I have relied mostly on grassroots marketing for our free clinics, free outings, and even our paid programming, and figured it couldn’t hurt to reach out to those who have a wider audience, specifically local newspapers and editorials.
    The majority of our programming is entirely free of charge, and is directed to anyone who has interest in participating in outdoor adventure, in learning about outdoor skills, or looking for like-minded people to enjoy the outdoors with. With our outdoor heritage always in mind, we look to connect with all levels of expertise, yet also look forward to introducing new people to new outdoor activities. Aside from our twice-a-week free clinics and free weekly outings, we also perform what we call Discovery Kayaking Courses, a $20 course designed for anyone interested in trying out kayaking, beginners not only welcome, but encouraged.
    We have paddled the Fox River, launching from Voyagers Landing in Elgin, for 4 years now. Each year brings more excitement and stewardship awareness to our customers, and we hope to continue our effect on our community’s outdoor appreciation and engagement. For the first time this year we paddled with a group of summer camp kids from the South Barrington Park District, and brought our Fly Fishing Course to Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation. We have worked with the Northern Illinois Special Recreation Association, the Citizens For Conservation, and various other groups on community service and outreach.
    I am hopeful that your newspaper would be interested in including our programming in one of your “events this weekend” or “things to do” articles. More information about our programming can be found at our website, or by calling me personally at 888-552-5548. Thank you for your time, and I hope you have a great day!

    • Thomas Jackson says:

      I hope you have a great day, too. And a great summer!

      How refreshing to hear, from our neighbors in South Barrington, how much they enjoy their relationship with the good people of Elgin!

      Come on out on August 3rd, Michelle, to Downtown Elgin, and share the summer Blossoming of our City. Enjoy the Theatrical Acting Walkabout, the Art & Soul Fair, The Kaleidoscope Music Festival, and the Downtown Pub Crawl.

      I haven’t even mentioned everything going on that day. There are events by merchants, art galleries, restaurants, etc

      Can’t make it Saturday? No worries Come Fri, Sat or Sun. All the details for these events are on facebook.

      You’ll also be able to get info on upcoming events that weekend, including the fantastic Elgin International Festival on Aug 31st, and Nightmare on Chicago Street in October.

      I’m delighted that you enjoy our natural beauty sites, and we are working hard to take care of them and preserve them, and keep Elgin great!

      Thank you for your kind words.

      Sincerely,

      Thomas Jackson

  55. Harmony says:

    With the ECO owing Elgin over $300,000 what does it cost to rent the Hemmings for an event? And if I don’t pay my water bill for the month do I get a shut off notice? My question here is how in the world did ECO get by not paying for a couple of events at the Hemmings? Why did “Boy Wonder” Stegall let this get by? Did anyone get fired for incompetence? $300,000 is about 2 years of his salary. Why wait 15 years to get paid,take his salary for the next 2 years and let the ECO pay him back for the next 15 years which would be $20,000 a year.

  56. Jason Dusenberry says:

    My thoughts on the ESO matter is that it is about more than just the ESO’s debt. It’s about the average, working class, tax paying person in Elgin being fed up with a history of excessive taxing and spending sprees and no proper prioritization with spending. The ESO situation is yet another reminder of that.

  57. Ernie says:

    Tell us Jason, exactly what “spending sprees” you are referring to? I think I remember you- you ran in the last Council race and lost because you didn’t have any ideas or much to offer. Please enlighten us. Easy to throw out vague, non-specific “no proper prioritization with spending” BS. Give us concrete examples that actually mean something. Would a Jason Dusenberry on the City City Council let the ESO die? Do you think they add no value to Elgin? Tea Party followers, like you Jason, love to moan about “taxes and spending” yet offer no solutions that improve anyone’s lives or the future of the community. Would cutting “excessive” taxes and spending mean layoffs for fire fighters and police officers? That is where the real money is. Would you take on the unions and their benefits and pensions?

    • Jason Dusenberry says:

      Ernie,
      I can give several examples. Take even some of the “smaller” spending items. A couple of council meetings ago, a vote on Metro West “membership” for one year for $30,000. Essentially, no one on that council, the city manager or the mayor could give a solid reason as to what benefit that membership does for Elgin, yet it passed anyway. Some folks look at a $277 million dollar budget and don’t blink an eye at a $30,000 throw away, but I do because that adds up over time. The centre is bleeding red ink and is subsidized at $750,000 per year, yet nothing seems to be reduced to compensate. In a matter of a few meetings, the ERC subsidy went from $640,000 to $900,000. The city paid $2,500 per month for Boca Jump, which was found to be well over market value. I’m not against the ESO, I’m not against rec centers, or anything that makes our city vibrant, but at some point taxpayers need to be better represented. Ironically, your example of cutting police and firefighters is far from what I suggest. Focusing on keeping the bulk of funding with core services is what I would favor compared to these other questionable spending items.

      • Ernie says:

        Jason, I can see why didn’t win your election. You don’t understand finance and have no real ideas that make a difference. You are fixated on budget items that cost 27 cents a year per person ($30,000 for Metrowest) and completely ignore the real costs that drive budgets- personnel, benefits, pensions. You want to cut taxes? Go ahead and get rid of whatever Metrowest is. Get rid of fireworks, dog parks, you name it. Can’t cut taxes by getting rid of those line items. The only way you would be able to truly cut taxes is by laying off employees. But you would never suggest that because you are too afraid of the unions. Give real solutions-not sound bites. And as for the Centre- a Councilman Dusenberry would do what? Outsource it and lay off the employees who work there or give them a pay cut? Raise fees for programs and memberships, possibly making it unaffordable for residents to use it? Shut it down? Should the library shut down Gail Borden too? When is the last time that facility made a profit?

        • One Vote says:

          So Ernie, are you OK with another white elephant. Not me!

        • Jason Dusenberry says:

          Ernie,
          In my best attempt at self-depreciating humor, I will let you know that I lost for many reasons, but not for a lack of knowledge of basic finance. I don’t claim to be a financial expert, but if I ran my business the way the city does, I wouldn’t have a business. Although with your reasoning, it seems the only good council members would be CPA’s only. I do realize that payroll is one of the biggest expenses. I never stated I’m afraid of unions, but I’m not necessarily anti-union either. I’ve managed union employees and non-union employees and they both have different sets of challenges working and negotiating with them. I don’t paint with a broad brush. My point is that I would be eager to first layoff non-core service employees first as a point of simple common sense, if it came down to it. I used the rec center as an example because to my knowledge there have not been any real reductions in their budget since the inception of it. Again, I’m not against rec centers, not against libraries, not against the ESO. I’m just looking for common sense expense reductions. You would think that with a facility like the rec center that loses so much, there would be ways to make reasonable cuts, but that doesn’t seem to happen. I will go back and fact check myself, but until the most recent council meeting, I don’t think a single spending item has been denied before this council the entire year so far. We could argue all day about what should be spent on and not spent on, but no spending has been reduced on any of the votes. That should concern most people. Want to save $1 million a year? Reduce the sewer separation by 25% per year. Keep the work focused on the worst hit areas and reduce the rest. There is also a program the city offers that features a temporary fix for anyone who owns a home affected by sewer backups that is barely utilized according to FOIA records. I’m not suggesting we cut our way to prosperity, but there should be some type of efforts to cut non-essential items that would show taxpayers that the city leaders are at the very least trying to save and I don’t see that. I’m not the only one that feels that way. Lastly, the study that has already cost the city $200,000 to assess if a “rain tax” is needed is due back next month. Get ready for that.

  58. RS says:

    Somebody posted recently to our Facebook page:

    I’m an investigative reporter for ABC Action news in Tampa. I am looking into former Elgin Police Chief Lisa Womack and what may have led to her departure before she ended up in Lakeland. Anyone with info (you can contact me off the record) please hit me on FB, at adam@abcactionnews.com or call at (813) 352-0612. Thanks!
    Adam Walser

    I guess they’re working on a story down there. Don’t know why. The most recent news I’ve found was this:

    http://www.abcactionnews.com/dpp/news/region_polk/lakeland-police-chief-lisa-womack-says-she-is-disgusted-and-embarrassed-by-a-recent-sex-scandal

    On the heels of a dash cam video showing one of Womack’s male officers directing a female to shake out her bra during a routine traffic stop, which made national headlines, the state attorney released a report that 10 officers were investigated for having forced and consensual sex with a 13-year civilian employee of the department during the last seven years.

    Womack was forced out as Elgin police chief in 2010, but we never did get the story. Apparently it’s a “personnel matter” and residents are not entitled to know why their police chief was fired. But hopefully this story they’re working on can finally shed some light on it if some people are willing to cooperate.

    • elginkevin says:

      I have heard that there was an “inappropriate relationship” between a former police chief and an officer, and between that same officer and a subordinate. My understanding is that everyone agreed to go away in return for not being sent through the ringer.

      But this is all second-hand and I don’t have any specific personal knowledge of the situation. There was a Daily Herald article which may or may not be related:

      https://prev.dailyherald.com/story/print/?id=373573

  59. bw says:

    Leave ESO and the cty administration work the best payment plan that will work for each side. What is the big hurry for collecting the back rent? As long as the back rent is paid and the city can add it to it’s revenue account each year it makes a common sense approach to a proper solution in collecting a large debt. Elgin needs the ESO as a part of the arts formula for the city. Revenue generated from all sources should please all taxpayers.

  60. doobie says:

    ESO is just more welfare to rich elites off of the back of working class families.

    Steffen, Moeller, Powell, and Rauschenberger are NOT for the middle class!

    • Ernie says:

      Really Doobie?

      I am not a “rich elite” and I have attended a performance in the past and think that the ESO does a lot for Elgin, our image and bringing people to our city. I grew up in Elgin and have always been proud of the fact that we have one of the best symphonies in the state, if not the country. If we let Prigge and Gavin let the ESO die, what would that do to our reputation as a city? I say let the ESO take its time in repaying their rent- it’s not money out of any taxpayer’s pocket. What is the rush if it means that the ESO fails and dies?

      • One Vote says:

        Ernie,
        There are all sorts of performing groups in Elgin who have not had the benefits ESO has enjoyed, including the right to bump other groups already scheduled and a rich subsidy.
        The ESO needs to stand on its merits or fold. They are no better than other groups in town.
        They were Gilliam’s baby and got special favors.
        Enough of that. We aren’t in the symphony business. As for your excuse that it won’t cost us, it already has. They are deadbeats who don’t pay their bills. Shame on the city for allowing it.

      • Margaret Miller says:

        Hi Ernie:
        I would like to address two point of your above post and that is…1) “If we let Prigge and Gavin let the ESO die, what would that do to our reputation as a city?” 2) “What is the rush if it means that the ESO fails and dies?”

        If the ESO is reflective of the city’s reputation, we’re in big trouble. Our reputation should be the strength of its citizens, the equal distribution of ordinances, laws, prudent spending and allowing for a business friendly location that is safe to raise a family in.

        What Prigge, Gavin & Shaw are trying to do is bring some assemblance of financial order to this run amok city spending specifically, but not exclusivly, on this issue of the ESO. They are, as a team, faced with the difficult challange of examining and rationalizing the city’s financial expenditures that currently make no kind of right thinking business sense at a time in our economy where the majority is struggling.

        Please remember that the ESO is a non for profit (NFP) organization that has become, with our permission and inattention, the largest debtor the city has. This, in and of itself is unconscionable in a day and age of family budgets and frugality. The Elgin taxpayer’s (likely more blue collar than white collar) are now placed in a position of bailing out a deadbeat organization who has only spoken about their debt but has done nothing to address it even when they admit to receiving sponsorships, donations and estate gifts but offered no fund raising efforts to assist them into solvency.

        The issue is bigger than just the city’s reputation involving the ESO. If it took the ESO 2 years to be in debt over $360,000 and they received $800,000 to date in 2013 by their own admission, where is any good faith money to Elgin in this one sided partnership? No good faith, just another request for $150,000 annually for the next three years. It begs many questions, why would it take an organization 15 years to pay back this size debt? Has anyone requested their financial statement? How much are they paying their new contracted director?

        The issue of the Hemmens is something that these Councilmen are also trying to address as consideration to any additional taxpayer ESO bailout. What is the actual structural integrity of the building and if its faltering, what does the city do next to provide a house for the ESO and at what cost that will again trickle down to the taxpaying citizens?

        Over the course of 63 years, there have been many businesses and NFP’s that have fallen never to rise again. If they did rise from the ashes, its because they took a proactive stance, changed their business model, address their shortcomings, pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps and moved forward with grit. The ESO, again by their own admission have done nothing that could be considered a “second job” to pull themselves out of their self imposed indebtedness.

        Many seemed focused on the reputation of the ESO, well their reputation has been irreparably damaged by their own hand. As a NFP, they admit to no assets nor collateral and as a NFP could not qualify for a loan because their only asset, as I see it, are their union musicians. Hardly worth the investment to even a third tier lending institution.

        The attitude that the ESO is an asset to Elgin is a myth. They are a mill stone around the taxpayer’s necks. What these three Councilmen are attempting is to easing the taxpayer’s burden and stopping the excessive bleeding and fleecing of the taxpayer and they need citizen support.

        I am hopeful that you can see this issue from a different point of view.

  61. SIE says:

    An article regarding the Council rejecting spending $40K on a resident survey.

    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20130725/news/707259677/

    My thoughts: I didn’t like Shaw’s comment, “I feel like we have a good handle on our city being run. I don’t feel like people are hiding under rocks and not telling us their feedback”

    How exactly do they have a “good handle”?. The few times I’ve emailed the council members or even called I never hear back. So do I assume they know about how I feel about services and such?

    I can’t say if a survey of 100 or so residents out of a city of >100K would accomplish much but the city does need to do a better job with their services so I think they do need to somehow get an assessment of where things stand.

    And going back to some of my other comments, $30K out of a budget of over a QUARTER BILLION dollars doesn’t seem outrageous especially if it could benefit the citizens.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      SIE, maybe if you posted under your real name, those councilmen and council women would recognize you and reply to your emails…………

      The council does monitor this website. In some cases the monitor directly, in other cases indirectly. Even Bob Gilliam had given me feedback on posts made here. (Most assuredly Bob had posts of interest passed on to him by others, but such indirect monitoring still counts.)

      In other words SIE, the council does know what you think since you post here.

      Chuck

  62. Cruex says:

    Anytime anyone starts to moan that government waste is only x amount of the entire budget and therefore should just be spent, it’s time to worry. A good elected person will control or cut the fluff first before going to core services. Liberals say the opposite. Less police and fire and more art shows and operas!

    One way to save money at budget time is to tell a certain liberal pro-choice councilwoman that police chiefs are not code officers. That might cut down on non-budgeted legal costs when the city is sued in federal court.

    • SIE says:

      First off I wasn’t moaning.

      Do you see the rubber stamping the council does for hundreds of thousands of dollars every meeting? I do. This was $30K that has the potential to result in better services from this city and my council rejected it.

      And the newly elected council member had the nerve to say that the city already knows enough about what it’s residents think and need. What a ridiculous statement.

      You bring up opera, code enforcement and other nonsense. What does that have to do with this?

  63. Ernie says:

    Cruex-

    Sounds like you need a lesson in finance too. Fake conservatives who don’t have to make real decisions can pontificate all they want about “fluff” without having to deal with the stuff that costs real money. You’re just as bad as Jason. Are you planning to run for Council too?

  64. bw says:

    MM:

    If the ESO is reflective of the city’s reputation, we’re in big trouble.

    Values, beliefs and culture are a big part of any city. If I were going to move my business into any city it’s reputation would depend on how the arts are perceived by the community.

    Our reputation should be the strength of its citizens, the equal distribution of ordinances, laws, prudent spending and allowing for a business friendly location that is safe to raise a family in.

    Dunne, Kaptain, Moeller Powell, Steffen, and Rauschenberger, the six educated members of the council, are following the above just as you suggest. These council members add the strength needed to make Elgin a sustainable community. Prigge and Gavin are working hard to tear down what these six are promoting. They live in the past as their votes show on different issues. Neither of them have any higher education that is needed in a position of leadership. I give Shaw a pass as he is young and new and needs time to figure out the agenda for Elgin’s future.

  65. Cruex says:

    You sound like a taxtaker and not a taxpayer Ernie. You just keep your hand
    extended out waiting for someone elses money to get by with.
    Your idea of a finance lesson is how to fill out forms and wait for checks
    from Springfield and Washington DC. Have you written a check to the ESO yet to
    do your part to save Elgin’s reputation?

  66. Cruex says:

    Holy smokes! This is too easy.

    “If the ESO is reflective of the city’s reputation, we’re in big trouble.”

    Agreed. The ESO’s reputation is now mud in Elgin. Spoiled rich brats thumbing their nose at debt they owe the people who have supported them put them in the position they are in.

    “If I were going to move my business into any city it’s reputation would depend on how the arts are perceived by the community.”

    Forget the demographics, income, location possibilities, property values. Stick with the arts reputation. LOL.

    “Our reputation should be the strength of its citizens, the equal distribution of ordinances, laws, prudent spending and allowing for a business friendly location that is safe to raise a family in.”

    Prudent spending? Where? You must live in subsidized housing or rent your living space and pay no property taxes or water bills. LOL.

    “Dunne, Kaptain, Moeller Powell, Steffen, and Rauschenberger, the six educated members of the council, are following the above just as you suggest. These council members add the strength needed to make Elgin a sustainable community.”

    I am happy you included your endorsed mayor-elect Rauschenberger as educated. While she pursues the big issues of bringing high-priced vegetables to downtown, the city cracks under Kaptain. As Prigge said the same educated people who cut the ESO’s funding now want to restore it? Now there’s some real educated leadership for you!

    “Prigge and Gavin are working hard to tear down what these six are promoting.”

    Thank the good Lord for that.

    “Neither of them have any higher education that is needed in a position of leadership.”

    If your idea of good leadership on this city council is linked to a college education, give me a city council with 8th graders every time.

  67. Margaret Miller says:

    George Washington, along with many signers of the Declaration of Independence, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, Henry Ford, William Shakespeare, Steve Jobs, and John Glenn, just to name a few, didn’t hold a higher degree of education and I think you would agree with me that these men were the all great leaders in their field.

    Some people holding degrees as long as your arm may indicate, to some, that they could not make up their mind in their life pursuit or that they stayed in school as long as they could fearing the cold cruel real world of being out on their own. Being educated doesn’t automatically qualify someone as having any or exercising any common sense and street smarts.

    Prigge, Gavin & Shaw, all educated in their own right and experiences, are working to make sure that the family’s living in Elgin can sustain themselves by surviving higher taxes, higher pension contributions, decreased property values, 11% unemployment in Elgin, higher water, gas and electric and everyone who has their hand out for their money.

    • bw says:

      MM: Prigge, Gavin and Shaw would not be able to carry the jock of George Washington, along with many male signers of the Declaration of Independence, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, Henry Ford, William Shakespeare, Steve Jobs, and John Glenn. You don’t even compare apples to apples. You’re grabbing at straws now at an attempt for an answer to my post. I want educated people representing me and spending my taxes. You are leting your emotions do your thinking. However, common sense will prove that the educated six will lead Elgin in the proper direction. Skill and capacity too function normally is the agenda of the six educated members of the council. Go back to your Tea Party, with Prigge and Gavin and sell your goods to dummies that will buy them. You are posting for other members on this board who follow the Tea Party agenda. I’m here to keep you all in line by providing the true facts.

      • Margaret Miller says:

        bw
        Thank you so much. Never was there a response that proved my point more infactically than your post.

        The analogy was obviously missed by you. Then again, if your highly educated, you figured it out, didn’t like the truth and started throwing out accusations and personal insults. Typical of people on the loosing side of an issue. That is beneath the higher educated or someone who aspired to one, isn’t it?

        The point was that you don’t need nor is it required to have a list of degrees as long as your arm to become great leaders of this world or make an impact in any community. Not back in time and not in the present.

        As for the facts you will be keeping track of, check these out. For the record, I have never belonged to any Tea Party organization and I have not belonged to the RNC since 1996. I didn’t feel the need to affiliate with any organization or party allowing them to do my thinking for me. I can think pretty clearly for myself.

        I would suggest that you worry about yourself rather than trying to keep others “in line” (interesting choice of wording) to your progressively, perhaps highly educated ways. I’m sure Prigge, Gavin & Shaw know the truth associated with that sort of thinking already.

  68. Tim Palmer says:

    There is something sick as hell about people who get dressed up in tuxedos and high priced jewelry to listen to orchestral music and then cry poor to the working class people of this town and try to screw us out of money. I guess that’s how this town works! Squeaky wheel gets the grease.

    • SIE says:

      Don’t those people pay for their tickets? How exactly are the patrons of the ESO the cause of them not paying their bills to the city? Your post makes no sense.

      • One Vote says:

        Follow along here.
        The ESO is not breaking even. They owe Elgin $300K for rent they haven’t paid for the last few years.
        They keep having concerts for the well-heeled.
        So, there are several possibilities here:
        1) Not enough people in tuxedos are buying tickets.
        2) The tickets prices are too low to cover the actual costs.
        3) The ESO is paying their people too much.
        4) The overhead is too high (admin, promotional, exec, fundraisers, grant chasers…)
        Whatever it is, they just keep playing and the taxpayers are subsidizing the actual cost to run the ESO.
        Capiche?

        • SIE says:

          I understand what you are trying to say but I was referring to (like Chuck says) regular folks who buy a tickets to the ESO (and perhaps even want to wear a tuxedo). I felt the post I was responding to was saying that people who attend a concert were somehow responsible for the situation. And based on his next post apparently that is how he feels.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      SIE, Tim Palmer did not say the ordinary ticket buyers who walked in off the street to watch the symphony caused the problem of the ESO not paying its back rent to the City of Elgin.

      I took it that Tim Palmer was alluding to the rich folks who sit on the ESO board and who display their wealth by being pillars of the ESO. They have seats on the board to evidence their worthy patronage, and ultimately, it is the board that is calling the shots about how to treat the City in this matter of the debt to Elgin. So to me, it looks like Tim Palmer’s comments do make sense and should not be so quickly dismissed.

      Chuck

      • SIE says:

        Actually Chuck I think that’s exactly what he meant. He even posted it again. He calls them “tuxedo and jewelry people” and implies they should do more than just purchase a ticket they should bail out the ESO. So many things wrong with that logic.

  69. Ernie says:

    The ESO can take its time in repaying me the $3 it owes me ($300,000 / 100,000 people). I think it is worth saving- even if it is successful in bringing wealthy people to Elgin.

    • Margaret Miller says:

      Ernie:

      We could take numbers to many degrees but I would be remiss by not pointing out that you don’t divide the debt by the number of people, you divide it by the number of households.

      Example: you need to subtract 37% off your population number since they are citizens under the age of 18.

      Housing units, 2010 37,848

      http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/17/1723074.html

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Ernie:

      a)Minor point: The $300,000 debt owed by the symphony to the City of Elgin should be divided among the 30,000 taxed households in Elgin, and not the number of people living in Elgin. This is still a fairly small bill of $10 per taxed household. But since I live all alone in my house, I can expect to be paying the $10 bill, not the $3 bill you cite.

      b)Major point: Consider that the Council adopted a series of small taxes in December of 2011 which were all supposedly small. But guess what, those small added taxes all add up!

      I have noted this before, and though challenged by Sean Stegall when I presented them to the council in February, I met with him two times to carefully review all of my bills and payments to the City. He verified that in fact all these “small” taxes and fees resulted in my paying a bit more than a 12% increase in last year’s tax bill. And that is the net increase AFTER including the DROP in my property tax bill.

      c) And gee, that little “rain tax”, the consultant from Strand said it is “only” $3 to $4 per month for typical homeowners in the typical Illinois communities that have such fees. That is $36 to $48 per year, added on top of everything else. Clearly the City Staff with rubber stamping from the liberal dominated City Council will make it so that no matter how far our property taxes fall, that we will STILL pay more next year than we pay this year. That is the only way they can keep feeding the ever expanding beast!

      So if you want to just look at single expenses, and not look at your entire tax burden, you may be allowing yourself to be duped by the “revenue diversification” scam.

      Chuck

  70. Chuck Keysor says:

    I am not into Facebook, and seldom use it. But yesterday, someone sent me this post from Mayor Kaptain’s Facebook page:

    “Please note the correction made by the City Manager at the meeting on Wednesday regarding our “transparency score” quoted in the Daily Herald and by Mr Keysor. Both were wrong and have failed to offer a correction. The City of Elgin has a passing transparency score that rates with the best of our neighboring communities. Congratulations to staff.”

    Here are some thoughts I have on this post by the Mayor:
    a) Sean announced the “revised/corrected” figures while I was leaving the podium, and I did call out, I think loudly so all could hear, “Thank you for the correction”.

    b) Where should the retractions stop?

    Should someone demand a retraction from Sean Stegall for his statement to the council that the figures I presented in February about my tax bill were “of course wrong”, when in fact in our private meeting, he later confirmed that my figures were correct?

    Should someone demand a retraction when Sean Stegall in June of 2012 stated that if “the critics” would have had their ways, that the Wing Park and Lords Park pools would be closed, when “the critics” never wanted or advocated such budget cuts?

    Should someone demand a retraction from City Staff and the majority of the City Council for stating that we were supposed to have a budget crisis starting in 2011, but instead we closed out that year with a surplus?

    Should someone demand that the Mayor retract his statement that the entire council voted to make the Chilean city our sister city when such a vote never even took place?

    Should someone demand a retraction for the fact that the Mayor said our revised transparency score of the mid 70% range “rates with the best of our neighboring communities” when in fact Lombard got 100%, Huntley got 98.3%,,, (maybe he doesn’t consider Huntley to be our neighbors…..)

    I think the matter of demanding retractions is a slippery hill for the Mayor to stand on.

    Chuck

  71. Tim Palmer says:

    If the tuxedo and jewelry people don’t want to see their symphony fall down they should contribute more than just the ticket price. MAKE A DONATION! If you don’t then you won’t miss them if go. Nick’s Pizza did that and look at them now. They didn’t come to the government, they asked for help from their customers. ESO do the same and shutup about your troubles.

    • bw says:

      I liked the idea presented in the Herald about the Judson student’s project for the Hemmens. It makes a lot of sense to add onto the building and bring it up-to-date along with the recommended suggestions by the group. The council should consut with a professional firm for a final plan. Float some bonds and move Elgin ahead with the plans and make the Hemmens more user friendly by adding to the building. Good job Judson, thanks for your excellent ideas.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        bw:

        Back before the economy collapsed, and the City was looking at making a new $60million to $100million performing arts center, the recommendation was that more seating capacity was required within the auditorium, and therefor it was not possible to modify the Hemmens to correct its primary deficiency.

        Now, while I suspect that much of that logic was carefully crafted hype and spin to further the grandiose visions of the powers that be, there may be some element of truth to that logic. But if one looks at the matter of the Hemmens losing something like $800,000 per year (or whatever it is today), can anyone imagine that if we add bathrooms to the first floor and a few other such minor improvements, that the finances will change one iota? I doubt it……

        And wasn’t it the fact that supposedly everyone was tired of the Hemmens being a money pit for the City, that the City Council rubber-stamped Staff’s brilliant idea to cut back the subsidies to reduce the red ink?

        I was on the budget task force bus tour, when we parked outside the Hemmens and Sean Stegall proclaimed the building as needing a major re-thinking to cut its losses. Since he was the driver of this discussion, it is a fair assumption that it was his idea to cut the rent subsidies for the Hemmens. More importantly, even if it wasn’t Sean’s idea, he certainly championed it and brought it through to the council. And now see where we are following his guidance? We can now see we made no real progress and we are still sitting on top of a gigantic mess.

        Well, at least the City Management didn’t screw up the Hemmens to the extent that they did the 1960’s Gail Borden Library! (Great planning by the City on that one!)

        Thanks, Chuck

        • bw says:

          ck,

          Maybe our post and the Judson student project will open up the eyes of the city administration that will include more study on the Hemmens project and maybe something positive will happen for the good of the community.

          • Todd Martin says:

            Regarding the Hemmens & the ESO, I’ll share a few thoughts:

            1) The ESO is $300,000+ in debt for 3 reasons: the great recession, bad management (failure to reduce expenditures in 2011 & 2012) and the City abruptly dropping all support & discounts in 2011.

            2) The ESO said at the last Elgin City Council meeting that they are now up-to-date on all their bills except for the City of Elgin.

            3) The ESO said at the last Elgin City Council meeting AND was confirmed by our City Manager through a financial review by the City CFO that the ESO cannot pay back $100,000 immediately and still open a 2013 season.

            I think the “Conservatives” on the City Council have succeeded in changing the City’s approach on bill repayment to the ESO. We’re now on “Option 3″ which will involve the ESO paying back the past due balance, getting a volume discount that anyone could qualify for, and now competing for cultural arts grants with the rest of the arts community.

            I also think the “Conservatives” insisting on $100,000 plus immediate repayment, then they either
            A) they want the ESO to close up shop
            B) they rely on the “Liberals” doing the right thing and are trying to score cheap political points, or
            C) they don’t believe Elgin’s CFO & CEO.

            None of these possible reasons are healthy or helpful.

            The Hemmens should not continue operating the way it is now. No one likes the huge operating losses. To fix it, in my opinion the solution should be a combination of reducing overhead costs while increasing revenue:
            1) Remodel the Hemmens to be more energy efficient and get grants to help pay for the upgrades.
            2) Reduce staff costs to the extent possible with union labor contracts. Do a trade study on alternative staffing models. We’re paying for Cadillac level staffing & service, maybe we should get a Chevy.
            3) Remodel the Hemmens to increase utilitization & revenue. I’d like to see an outdoor performance venue (band shell) adjacent to the Hemmens facing the River. That’s a low cost seasonal amenity that could host acts simultaneous to indoor performances while using some of the same infrastructure. Adding a 2nd smaller indoor “black box” can add revenue while again sharing overall costs.

            I don’t think the City should give up on the Symphony, the arts, or the Hemmens. They just need prudent investments.

  72. One Vote says:

    Well, we had better move fast.
    Look at all the surrounding communities ready to step into the breach and save the ESO.
    What? Never mind.
    As for the idea of a band shell by the river, they’d better play something that goes well with train horns.
    Let’s face it, the ESO is not a viable business model. They should be paying the city for renovations, not owing $300K and having their hand out for city subsidies.
    Since they owe us money, I’d be in favor of a moratorium on grants to ESO. What’s the point if they just turn around and have to send it back to pay down their debt?
    And the city ought to pass a resolution about past-due bills to prevent anyone else from milking the city for so long.

  73. Cruex says:

    You left out something Mr. Martin. You forgot to tell us how much of your own personal money has gone to the symphony to support it. What’s that you say? Nothing? They do accept donations don’t they? Where are your cancelled checks to the ESO?

    Maybe you are just the kind of guy who likes to spend money on capital projects? If so how much will you be paying towards all of the remodeling you want to do? What’s that you say? Nothing, again?

  74. Todd Martin says:

    Train horn noise is an excellent point. They are a nuisance, aren’t they? Not only do they put a damper on outdoor performance arts by downtown, but they also reduce property values & make it more difficult to succeed with downtown residential developments. Train horns are not the ideal way to provide for safety. That’s one reason why I asked the Elgin Chicago Street Station Area Plan to upgrade the rail crossings downtown. Not only can we remove the need for train horn noise, we can also prevent accidents (such as the one today).

    Cruex, each of my specific suggestions were in regard to the Hemmens. I have seen a few symphony concerts, I do pay taxes. More importantly, the idea that we can CUT our way to prosperity misses half the boat. Investments in the Hemmens can not only reduce operating expenses, but can GROW revenue.

  75. Chuck Keysor says:

    A note on train horns, music and safety……

    I saw two ESO concerts at Festival Park, and both were badly marred by the blasting of train horns. It appeared to me that Maestro Hansen was steaming mad as a result.

    Now, as to getting rid of train horns,,,, this is a thought also for Anna Moeller who has discussed eliminating train horns. I work a lot on the abandoned rail station property on S. Crystal Street. It is a quiet area, and bums like to hang out there.

    Once when I went there to mow, I saw a drunk, passed out on the tracks. I frankly didn’t want to mess with him, not knowing if he may be violent or not. I called the police, and they actually woke him up and got him to move along. But that drunk may have responded to a train horn had I not come along.

    And not only do the drunks hang out at our abandoned train station site, but they also hang out in the area of Central Park, and behind the Syntex/Borden building. As long as we have such inviting/secluded spots, and so many drunks, we will need train horns in Elgin.

    Chuck

  76. Ernie says:

    Chuck, you are beyond hysterical. Your explanation on why train horns are needed- even those blaring at 3 am waking everyone up within a 5 mile radius- is the dumbest thing I have read in a long time. And on this site, that is really saying something.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Ernie, I find it disheartening that you would find it funny that someone could be killed by a train while passed out on the tracks. Would you laugh if you saw a drunk passed out on the rail road tracks and then turn to go on your way?

      My only regret was that I wanted to avoid personal risk by calling the police, though I did keep watch until the EPD arrived. But I have been threatened by transients before while working on the rail road property, so my caution is not irrational.

      Chuck

    • paul says:

      ” you are beyond hysterical. Your explanation… is the dumbest thing I have read”

      And I’m uncivil!!!!

      And Chuck most certainly wasn’t hysterical by any stretch of the definition.

      Hysterical might be more of an apt description for a statement like: “blaring at 3 am waking everyone up within a 5 mile radius”
      I live less than one mile of both sets of tracks in Elgin proper and NEVER have I nor any of my neighbors I know of been waken up by a train horn.

  77. Cruex says:

    I will take your lack of an answer to my 2 questions as stating you do not write support checks to the ESO yet expect government to extract everyone’s tax dollars to do so. Have you ever heard of the free market?

  78. Cruex says:

    It’s time to start looking ahead to possible candidates for 2015. 3 councilmen or women are badly needed. I realize it’s early but a drafting of candidates cannot be done too early.

    • bw says:

      Moller, Powell and Steffen are all educated with degrees. They deserve our support as they have the experience needed for council members for another four years.

      • Margaret Miller says:

        bw, what’s your hang up with degrees?

      • Tim Palmer says:

        Hey bw, didn’t Gilliam go to college? LOL. Didn’t he just get whupped on bad in the election? Yep, I think he did. He had experience too!

  79. Cruex says:

    Moller (sic), Powell and Steffen are all educated with degrees.”

    They lack common sense and I don’t believe they teach that in college. That is taught at home. before one goes to college.

    “They deserve our support as they have the experience needed for council members for another four years.”

    I’m sorry, but every current member of the council has experience and some have more than others. This clan’s experience has been painful to watch and live thru. Their voting record is abysmal for the working class. Only the U-46 board is worse with the wonderful accomplishments they have. Does anyone really WANT to send their children to U-46?

    There should be a large assortment of council challengers in 2015 and they will not be fellow Liberals because 3 out of 4 running are Liberals already. What I am very afraid of is that Kaptain will only have 2 or 3 challengers.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Cruex, of course as you know, you are not the only one thinking about candidates for 2015. But the victory will not fall to the side with the most candidates, it will go to the side with the BEST/Strongest candidates.

      There is an advantage in having a really large pool of candidates, and that is to trigger a primary. A primary provides significant strategic opportunities. It was an objective to get primaries in both the 2 year and 4 year races earlier this year. Well, that was partially successful anyway.

      But if you have 10 weak candidates and only three strong candidates, the three strong ones will most likely be the ones who win, and then the 4th seat kind of goes to random chance. Sound familiar?

      So great,look for lots of candidates to run so we can get a primary. But above all, we must have 4 strong conservative council candidates.

      The liberal side pretty much has to go with Moeller, Steffen and Powell, so they are fairly well locked in. Two of these three can be easily be beaten by STRONG conservative candidates. But if only an bunch of weak conservative candidates can be assembled, then Moeller, Steffen and Powell will sweep to victory. That is why they won in 2011.

      The conservative side of course only has Toby Shaw as a for sure candidate so far. But if a strong, well seasoned, professional conservative mayoral candidate can be found to serve as a conservative anchor, and then three solid strong conservative candidates to run with Toby, the conservatives will sweep the day.

      It all hinges on who can field the strongest candidates. The conservatives have the greatest latitude at this point……… Chuck