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December [2013] open thread

4 December 2013 Elgin Illinois 98 Comments

Elgin IL Elgin IL (Photo by Elgin Town).

Discussion thread for December 2013. Enjoy.

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98 Responses to “December [2013] open thread”

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  1. SIE says:


    And who proposed ending the program? Gavin. Who supported it? Shaw and Prigge among otherss. So much for their fighting for the taxpayer. The program cost the city a lousy $40,000. $40,000 out of a quarter billion dollar budget.

    Garbage fees go up and the city will no longer give us the paltry 5 free yard waste bags.

    This year I filled 30 bags with leaves from city owned parkway trees. I had to pay for all but 5 of those bags. Next year I will have to pay for them all.

    People who get their leaves collected mechanically pay $24 per year. I’d gladly pay that and only have to rake leaves to the curb (or the middle of the street as I’ve seen some do). But the city tells me they have no intention of expanding the leaf collection area. My neighborhood has more trees and leaves than many of the “older” neighborhoods.

    This city is just unbelievable. Other cities collect your leaves as part of your property taxes. Not this garbage (pun intneded) city.

    • Capitalist Pig says:


      How about engaging in the process and doing some research. Even the lousy Courier got it right.

      You may not know but the bag vote was 7-2.
      Moeller and Steffen voted no.

      Maybe, just maybe, if the liberals on this Council would give back some of the surpluses that have accumulated over the last two years from over taxation, you would have the money to buy your own bags.

      Why should I subsidize your bags? You don’t subsidize my mulch.

      • SIE says:

        Huh? What exactly did I get wrong?

        DH article title: “Elgin City Council votes to stop free leaf collection bags.”

        Is that true?

        From the article: “Gavin made the motion to end the free leaf bag program, which costs the city about $40,000 per year. Councilmembers Anna Moeller and John Steffen cast the only dissenting votes.”

        Is that true? Didn’t Gavin introduce the motion?

        From the Courier: “Gavin asked Wednesday to cut the $40,000 the city spends on providing bags for leaf collection in neighborhoods that do not get to sweep them into the street for collection. The motion passed 7-2, with Moeller and Councilman John Steffen casting the opposing votes.”

        Seems exactly the same as I posted.

        I understand Moeller and Steffen voted no. It passed 7-2 with Kaptain, Shaw, Dunne, Powell, Prigge, Rauschenberger and Shaw voting yes.

        So Gavin, Prigge and Shaw voted to end the program. Correct? They wanted to save $40,000 and make me and everyone else in the bagging areas buy bags.

        Do you live in a bagging area? If so apparently you choose to mulch. Good for you.

        I want my leaves removed, not mulched. For years I bagged them with bags provided by the city. Now they tell me no more bags. Yet other residents are allowed to pay $24 for the priviledge of having their leaves removed for them? I’d like that option. But they say no.

        Tell me, does the $24 per resident cover the actual cost of that program? I think not. So I am SUBSIDIZING their leaf collection. Since I get no bags they are not subsidizing me.

        Either make the entire city bagging and don’t provide bags or give everyone the opportunity to pay $24 for leaf collection.

  2. Hamony says:

    SIE, I agree with you the City needs to expand their stupid rake the leafs into the street Citywide. Then every one can pay $24.00, Hey Stegall and your spending friends missed that one. Just think, $24.00 for every house in Elgin. How much would that be?

  3. SIE says:

    From the Courier article:

    “And the city is at or near the top in the state in new-home sales, something Kaptain said is being driven by minority home buyers.”

    I think he means home sales as in any. Not “new” home sales as in new construction.

    When you can get foreclosed or distressed houses for $40,000 its easy to see why there are sales.

    I’m glad everyone has the opportunity for homeownership but I am confused by terminology. If a minority is a majority how can they be a minority?

  4. Margaret Miller says:

    “LET THEM EAT CAKE” is the traditional translation of the French phrase “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”, supposedly spoken by “a great princess” upon learning that the peasants had no bread.

    That’s what I felt Moeller, Steffen, Powell, Dunne, Rauschenberger and Kaptain were telling the citizens of Elgin for the second session in a row


    Recent history from Council meeting of 11-20-13 - Councilman Prigge motioned to remove the garbage tax from the water bill and place it back on the property tax bill. All this without raising the property tax levy. Councilman Gavin seconded the motion.

    When asked by the liberal majority how they were going to pay for it, the obvious answer was to take $4.6M from the surplus along with cutting discretionary spending. The final vote was 6 no – 3 yes

    With a SURPLUS of approximately $12 million tax dollars, the “liberal brat pack” wouldn’t give one morsel back of the citizens money in this downward spiral of our economy. They are against ANY effort to lower any of our taxes. Their philosophy has remained the same, over tax, gather the money and never let the surplus revenue go, unless it’s for a ESO bailout or a $1.3 million bike path.

    More disappointing news from Council meeting of 12-04-13 http://www.cityofelgin.org/index.aspx?NID=141
    Councilman Shaw…”I wanted to make a proposal on a motion to cut our natural gas fees by half.” His goal in this propose was to provide relief to the tax payer’s of Elgin in 2014. (for one year $1 million) this motion was seconded by Councilman Gavin.

    Video Mark 1:56:38 – Liberal obstructionists strike again - Tish Powell asked the City Manager “What would be the impact of us doing that and where is the reduction in expenditures to offset that?”


    Councilman Gavin strongly stated (Video Mark 2:01.29) “I think its irresponsible not to give back some of the taxes we’ve been taking from the public and I wasn’t on the Council that passed these HUGE increases over the last two years that’s taken $20 million of increased taxes out of the economy. Its simply irresponsible to have that surplus and not give some of it back to the people. Especially when this natural gas when it heats their home and the city has absolutely nothing to do with delivering that service to their homes. We’re simply taxing people’s comfort in a time of winter. I think its a very bad time of year to continue to hold that position and say its irresponsible. Its the people’s money you’re taking. Its very simple. We can afford it and everybody here knows that.”

    Just watch Anna Moeller (Video Mark 3:52:48) Her comments are sad at best. She says she understands wanting to provide tax relief but questions why the natural gas tax. (Why not?) She said that if you’re really serious about wanting to cut revenues why not find the associated expenditures to cut along with it. To her, that the responsible budgeting approach.

    I had to hold on to my chair when I heard her say this. When has Anna EVER voted to cut any discretionary expenditures in favor of saving the tax payer’s anything? How about this Anna…. CUT ALL THE FRIVOLOUS SPENDING OR TAKE THE MONEY OUT OF THE SURPLUS!!


    Anna even had the gaul to bring up the Springfield progressive liberal Illinois pension mess. She doesn’t feel that the Elgin citizens need to be treated like that in the long term. Is she okay with treating us that way in the short term until her ambition takes her to her aspired higher office. Clearly, her rapidly transparent move to the center is breathtaking and appalling at the same time.

    Vote to remove the garbage tax from the water bill & put back on the property tax bill, without raising the property tax levy 6 no – 3 yes
    No Vote was taken on reducing the natural gas tax due to amendment
    Vote on reducing the garbage fee 6 no - 3 yes

    I remember that during the last campaign, at more than one forum I attended, Councilman Prigge stated that he was the only member of the City Council that is not a current or former government employees.

    Isn’t it amazing that the three Council members that want to provide tax relief are NOT NOW or NEVER HAVE BEEN on the government payroll.

    NOW THEY ARE ALL ON THE RECORD for NOT wanting to give the taxpayer’s one third of 1% tax rebate.

    • SIE says:

      So you think it was ok for Gavin, Prigge and Shaw (among others) to vote to eliminate free yard waste bags to save $40,000? All the while still allowing a select group of residents to have their leaves collected by paying $24. How much would the city save by eliminating that program? $24 does not cover the cost of the program.

      Those three do gooders sure stuck it to a good portion of Elgin residents just so they can say they saved the city $40,000. $40,000 out of a quarter billion dollar budget.

      Gavin, Prigge and Shaw are not the taxpayers friends. They are wolves in sheeps clothing.

      • Margaret Miller says:

        Well, if you want your 5 free welfare bags, I’ll offer to pay for them for you. Now you have two options. You can take my charity of 5 free welfare bags or just bag up 25 bags next season. Those other 25 bags you paid for right? You’re not complaing about those 25 bags are you? Just the free ones.

        How much does it cost for 5 yard bags? About $15?

        Doesn’t that cost fall under the heading of a homeowner’s responsibility? I thought it did.

        Shaw’s proposal Wednesday would have saved you $31.25 for 1 year. (1 million divided by 32,000 households) So if they all supported Shaw but took the free bags away, you still would have been ahead $16.25. Comparing 5 free bags to now having to pay for 5 bags.

        Let’s keep eyes on the meat of the spending and not the side dishes, shall we.

        Why don’t you look at it this way. Your were blessed for many years to have the citizens of Elgin pay for your 5 free bags. Now it up to you. Pay for the 5 bags or only bag 25 next year.

        Perhaps you should be complaining about and to the ones who didn’t vote give you the $31.25 in the first place. You know, the other wolves in sheep’s clothing.

        • SIE says:

          You have a lot nerve using the term “welfare”.

          I pay taxes to this city at one of the highest rates in all of Cook County. What exactly do I get for that money? I pay EXTRA for my garbage removal. I pay EXTRA for getting rid of my leaves. I pay EXTRA Utility taxes. I pay EXTRA sales taxes.

          The city used to give us 25 yard waste bags. Then they reduced it to 5 bags. Now they eliminate them to save a lousy $40,000 (probably less as I know many people who didn’t even redeem the coupon) out of a quarter billion dollar budget. That’s 0.02% of the budget. They spent more on new flooring, computer systems, etc.

          This city is horrible when it comes to services. Look at other cities and how they handle leaf removal. They help their residents. They don’t discriminate.

          This city gives special treatment to some of its residents by allowing them to pay a nominal fee for leaf pickup. Meanwhile the rest of us have to do it on our own with our own dime.

          • Margaret Miller says:

            And your point is?
            Is your beef with Cook County or Elgin?

            If you don’t like my usage of the word “welfare” its perhaps because I hit a nerve. Maybe because you can actually afford the 5 free bags but think, what the heck, the bags are free so I’m going to take them. Do you ever pass by a food sample table in the grocery store. I mean the sample is free but the seller does have some cost to the free offering after all.

            If you feel that there is a section of Elgin that receives preferential treatment, I would love to see you at the Council meeting speaking to that issue or writing about it in a Letter to the Editor. Have you held a neighborhood meeting to discuss your grievance? My guess is you have not.

            I mean what fair for one is fair for all…right? Wrong, very few things in life are fair and NOTHING IS FREE. Someone is always paying for the FREE. This is what the liberal side doesn’t seem to get.

            Sounds to me that you have been given preferential treatment with 5 free welfare bags. Have you been thankful for the free bags all these years or as a homeowner just complaining now that you will have to pay an extra $15 for 5 bags.

            You still seem to be looking at the side dishes and not the meat of any spending issues. Budgeting is about the Whole, not the few.

            Councilman Shaw purposed a 50% reduction in the natural gas tax for one year. That equated to 1/3 of 1% and they wouldn’t do it. That was $1 million back to the tax payer they did not approve. How about complaining about that! Let’s start looking at the whole pie not just your sectioned off piece of it?

            If the liberal/green side is not going to start to look at the larger discretionary spending in order to provide tax payer’s, as a whole, relief, than how is any Council member supposed to assist the tax payer in reducing their overhead?

            When you bought your home, you took on the responsibility of your own standards and those cost. Stop moaning about how unfair it is!

            Pay for your own needs.
            Don’t look to me to subsidize your wants.

        • SIE says:

          I just reread this. You need to sharpen your understanding of the situation.

          Some residents get to pay $24 and have the city come and pick up their leaves after moving them to the curb. This could include leaves from their own property.

          I will fill 30+ bags with the cities leaves. They come from the cities parkway trees. Your bag price was high but I will still pay >$24 for bags
          I’m pretty sure the $24 for leaf collection doesn’t cover all the cost of that program so my tax dollars are subsidizing this program for a selected group of residents.

          The city refuses to expand the leaf collection program. OK. Then eliminate it and make everyone bag their leaves. Having two different programs is not right. And then they top it off by eliminating the lousy 5 free bags they gave us non special people.

          $31.25 savedfrom Shaw’s proposal?? Sure that would be fine but I want the city to provide decent services for what I already pay. They don’t. Like I said in my other response, research what other cities do for their residents for things like leaf collection.

      • Ever Concerned says:

        Unbelievable, and so petty that the city will no longer pay for yard bags. We are being nickled and dimed to DEATH by these yahoos!!

        • Margaret Miller says:

          As opposed to being nickeled and dimed by the $300,000 for the ESO and $1.3 million bike path/lane and there is more of the bike path/lane to come.

          • SIE says:

            Spend, spend, spend but make sure you eliminate yard waste bags that actually help your citizens so you can save maybe $40,000. 0.02% of Elgin’s quarter billion dollar budget.

            But at the same time allow a special group of residents to pay a nominal fee to have their leaves picked up for them.

            This city is pathetic.

  5. Margaret Miller says:

    Hello everyone,

    I want to congratulate Councilman Gavin in his seven month effort to bring the new LED street light retrofit to the city. The cost of this upgrade will be paid for within six years and the savings moving forward will amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars up to $1 million per year in energy savings and maintenance.

    • SIE says:

      Please show me the proof of these savings.

      Please give me the cost of each light and how much it will save initially versus each existing light. I will also need the total number of lights in the city. Then please tell me how much enfergy will be saved by the new lights and give me the energy cost that will be sued to calculate any savings. Also please include the labor cost for the union workers who will be doing the work. Thank You.

      • Margaret Miller says:

        Why don’t you be proactive and ask Councilman Gavin for that information directly instead of waiting for me to feed you the information.

        After all, if I did that, you would just complain that my numbers were incorrect and frankly, I’m tired of dancing with you.


        • Margaret Miller says:

          The city has this information in the Public Works department or you can watch and listen to the Wednesday Council video of the details.

          Also, I just received a call that Menards has yard bags on sale for $1.88 for $5.00. These are the same bags you can get and Ace Hardware.

          Don’t burn $3.00 in gas going to Menards.

  6. Jason Dusenberry says:

    This past Wednesday, I addressed the City Council regarding my concerns with the proposed 2014 budget. My major concerns included the large size of the budget amounts these past few years and the large surpluses projected that we did not have with prior budgets. This is all after tax increases that took effect in 2012, while homeowners and business owners continue to struggle in this economy.

    My biggest concern, however, remains with the fact that the proposed budgets from 2009-2012 averaged $75 million higher than the actuals from those years. In my opinion, this is sandbagging, essentially a blank check for spending. As long as the actuals come in less, it appears that the city is being fiscally responsible. Budgeting is certainly not an exact science, but to be this far off each time doesn’t seem right.

  7. SIE says:

    Every day its gets more embarassing to live in this town.


    They won’t spend the $20,000 to particiapte in Northwest FourthFest. OK. I don’t want to rehash that debate again.

    Then Shaw who chaired a committee that researched having fireowrks in town said “If we don’t get sponsors, $73,000 to me is a hefty price tag. My recommendation is do nothing”.

    Do nothing. This city is unbelievable.

    At least Powell understands, “I think it’s really a source of pride for our community,” she said. “We’re one of the largest communities in the state and it just seems like we should be able to do something here in Elgin.”

    But its clear they will do nothing. So if you want to see fireworks make sure you go to another town that felt they were worthwhile.

    • Margaret Miller says:

      From my June 2013 post on this site.

      Margaret Miller
      June 28, 2013 at 10:43 am

      The constant deflection of responsibility and procedures that were not properly followed were exposed by Councilmen Gavin & Prigge Wednesday evening regarding the lack of transparency of the Hoffman Estates (H.E.) “2013 Northwest Fourth-Fest, Presented by Kia”

      Turn your attention to http://www.cityofelgin.org/index.aspx?NID=141 pull down “City Council Meeting” and click on COW 06-26-13 then click video.

      Classic viewing in support of the taxpayer starts with Councilman Prigge at 00:6:18
      Unwavering reinforcement from Councilman Gavin at 00:12:26

      One of the most interesting comments made from Mayor Kaptain starting at 00:24:17. He said, “and as far as a partnership, how do you create a partnership when you vote on something a week before the event and other people have been doing this for months. One of the proposals back from (H.E.) AS THIS GOES FORWARD IF WE CHOOSE NOT TO DO FIREWORKS they would like to sit down with us very early in January and start to talk about planning on how we all can be partners and work closely on this together. It wasn’t a great year for them last year, they lost about $100,000 on the event.” (Margaret says, why is their 2012 deficit due to their poor planning become Elgin’s 2013 liability?)

      So help me understand, is the Mayor telling the Elgin citizens that Hoffman Estates provided Elgin the escape on the funding & personnel and he did not take it? If I’m correct, what is the real reason this issue continued to move forward to the majority “Yes” vote? Is the Mayor is so prideful that he cannot admit to H.E. that Elgin handled this issue improperly and Elgin cannot move forward making his apologies?

      Now, 8 days before the 4th of July, the vote of transparency finally took place. How about that for timing? Its 6 months late and Elgin is approximately $35,000 short in the tax payer till.

      It was also brought up that H.E. INFORMED Elgin they wanted our Police Officers and not our VOLUNTEER CERT personnel as we offered/provided last year. How insulting to CERT and Elgin citizens. To the detriment of certain council members, in their absurdity, they submitted to the will and dictates of H.E., as good employees do.

      To add insult to injury, SIDEBAR #1: It was reported Wednesday evening that 2012 Elgin’s VOLUNTEER CERT personnel were not equipped with proper working communications, never offered water and were treated poorly by H.E. That is unacceptable but apparently not to certain City Council members who voted in favor of moving forward on this boondoggle.

      The final sword in Elgin’s side comes from, SIDEBAR #2: The Elgin Symphony Orchestra will be featured at the “2013 Northwest Fourth-Fest, Presented by Kia”. Does anyone know if ESO will be cutting a check back to Elgin for any of their “past due” rent balance of over $303,000?

      Let’s be clear on this, 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?

      If you want fireworks, feel free to visit a town that offers them as Councilman Shaw suggested. If you don’t feel proud to attend H.E. fireworks because Elgin has not kicked in their ante as Mayor Kaptain does, (”For me to go over there and not pay …, it’s not something I’m particularly proud of,” he said.”) feel free to send that city your personal check to ease your conscience. Not my tax dollars.

      Remember Mr. Mayor, as you said at 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.

      Well there you go Elgin. The Mayor admits there is no revenue advantage to Elgin fireworks, the Fire Chief says 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 “NO VOTES” came from Gavin, Prigge & Shaw. The majority “YES” votes made Elgin look like suckers!

    • James Thiel says:

      We may be one of the largest cities in the state but we are a blue collar city with unemployment at about 10% with more on the way.

      The economy is tanking, Illinois is a national embarrassment, foreclosures are at an all time high, property values decreased by 40-50%, food costs more, gas is still double what it was in 2008, our dollar is worth less, retail sales are down in a holiday season and your crabbing because they took away your 5 free lawn bags, possibly a 12 minute fireworks show or that someone has what you think is an unfair advantage!

      Buck up man and do the patriotic thing and become independent. Break free from your shackles of government dependency on lawn bags and your summer entertainment.

      We need serious representation dedicated to saving my household money.
      We need spending cuts and I’ll take them any way I can get them.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        Great post James Thiel. The way I think we should look at this is that Councilmen Gavin, Prigge and Shaw are working to find cost savings to the taxpayers of Elgin. First eliminating the “Trash Tax” was tried and that was only voted for by Gavin, Prigge and Shaw. Then there was the attempt to cut the natural gas tax, which then morphed into an attempt to cut $1million out of the “Trash Tax”. All three of these actions would have directly reduced the load on the taxpayers. But clearly, with the present council make-up, directly cutting the burden on the taxpayers is an up-hill fight, that will most likely loose 6 to 3.

        But the other side of the budget equation, is to cut expenses, which in turn will lower the tax burden. (This is of course IF the saved money is not first spent on something else of course!) So with cutting out leaf bags, the July 4th Fireworks, the ESO payments, etc, it is clear that small, but symbolically significant cuts are being made where they can be made with this council. These cuts are of course totally aimed at reducing the size of the City’s budget, which in turn will work to lower the burden on the Taxpayers of Elgin.

        Again, some will complain, “Gee, these efforts are going to save us almost nothing!” Well, that may be true, but again, that is simply all that is possible with THIS council. Hopefully in 2015, with a more taxpayer-centric council, we will be able to move beyond small, symbolic efforts, and be able to make more significant reductions in taxes and spending. These reductions are all aimed at giving relief to the taxpayers of Elgin.


        • SIE says:

          It seems as if peole focus on the cost cutting/reducing taxes aspect of the big three.

          In my view one of the major functions of local government is to provide services for the money I give them.

          Leaf collection is a service that practically every other town feels worthwhile for its residents. ApparentlyElgin does not.

          The cost of the bags is not the issue its the inequity in the program. I belive where you live you pay $24, rake your leaves to the curb and they are taken away. I don’t have that option. I would gladly pay $24 rather than the >$24 I pay for bags, not to mention the effort to fill those bags.

          Eliminate the leaf collection fee andmake everyone buy bags and bag their own. Or expand the leaf collection program city wide. That is the only correct thing to do.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            SIE, I should have also noted, and maybe you saw this if you watched the council session on-line,,,, but there were comments made that the entire leaf collection program needs to be addressed and discussed. I think Tish said that she would want the leaf bag discussion to be part of a bigger leaf collection discussion, but she voted to get rid of the leaf bags even without the discussion. So I would assume that she and others are in fact expecting to have a discussion on this next year.

            Now, as for myself, yes, I pay the leaf rake out fee, and I don’t like it! I don’t like it, because before I paid for the leaf rake out fee, the leafs were collected, and it was paid by the taxes I already paid. That is part of a longer discussion I won’t get into now.

            But on top of it, I don’t have many leafs, as I don’t have any mature trees. Before I lost my one huge oak tree in 1999, I used to rake up my leafs and mow them, then put them on my garden.


      • SIE says:

        Like I said to Chuck, everyone seems to care about cost cutting what about services? What do you think a local governent is for? To provide needed services is how I perceive the main function of local government.

        Practically every other town cares enough about ALL their residents to provide a service such as leaf collection.

        Elgin does not. They allow a select group of residents to pay a nominal fee for leaf pickup. Everyone else is on their own.

        At least when they gave bags it appeased those of us excluded from having our leaves picked up. They first reduced and then eliminated the bags to save $40,000. OK, then eliminate the leaf collection program. How much does that cost the city? I can guarantee $24 doesn’t cover the full cost.

        According to you Elgin being a blue collar town with all the problems you mention justifies cost cutting. Again I will ask what is the purpose of a local government if all they do is cut cost while not providing services?

        No doubt Elgin residents have financial problems but the city itself does not. Far from it. Yet Elgin can’t provide basic services and even some of those they do are not equitable.

        To me it comes down to mismanagement, out of whack priorites (lets install brick pavers in downtown Elgin but lets not bother picking up leaves), and a general disregard for the taxpaying residents of this city.

        • Chuck Keysor says:

          SIE, I would prefer to not be charged anything at all for my leaf pick-up. And IF I choose to buy bags to put leafs into, that is my choice.

          So in other words, I would be personally happy to be in YOUR shoes, of not getting charged for something unless I want to use a service. If you want to get rid of your leafs instead of mowing or mulching them yourself, they you pay for the bag yourself. IF you don’t want to pay for a bag, you can simply mow or mulch them, and be spared ALL expense.

          In my case, I don’t need anybody to get rid of my leafs, yet I am paying a leaf rake out fee!!!!! So I get NOTHING for my money, and I HAVE NO CHOICE! YOU have a choice, and IF YOU choose to use the bags, you are getting a service for the money you pay!!!!

          My bottom line would be, nobody pays for any leaf collection anywhere. And IF someone anywhere wants to pay to get rid of their leaves, because they don’t want to mow or mulch them, fine, let those people pay for their bags. That would be the most fair.


          • SIE says:

            I really am surprised that I am the only person that expects some return on my tax dollars. I pay one of the highest tax rates of any suburban city yet I don’t have a leaf collection program like practically every other city. What are my taxes used for?

            Like it or not leaf collection is a service most people want. Too bad Elgin has an inequitable program.

            What would be “most fair” is for residents of this city to get needed services for the high taxes we pay.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            SIE, I don’t disagree with your logic at all. But it is my jaded expectation that if we tell the City we want universal leaf collection, we will be sure to not just get the service that you want, but that we will in fact be socked up side the head with a NEW tax. Chuck

  8. Peter Galbreathe says:


    SIE is complaining about loosing 5 free bags at a cost of $1.88?

    Am I reading your post exchanges correctly?

    This sounds like my friends neighbor Bruce.

    • Ever Concerned says:

      Margaret, I am sure you realize that the dollar amount to purchase yard bags is not the real issue here, correct? It’s the slap-in-the-face petty action the council took along with all of the other nickle and dime fees crap they continue to impose. Fiscal responsibility may be the motivator, but let’s all start the protest by bring yard bags to the council meetings and waving them in their faces! Perhaps then they will get the message. Bring those bags!!

      • Margaret Miller says:


        I will ask you what I asked SIE.

        Have you spoken about this perceived unfair treatment to anyone? Have you held a meeting with your neighbors to discuss your grievance and how to act upon it? When this injustice was first enacted, XXX amount of years ago or since, did you voice your opinion, contact the Mayor, any Council members, any neighbors?

        If the answer to these questions is “no” what a shame that now the train has left the station and your many opportunities have passed.

        Please don’t bring your lawn bags to Council, that will only reflect poorly upon you for not taking action sooner and make you look petty for $1.88 at this point.

        The 2014 budget talks have been going on for about five weeks. I’ll ask again, have you or SIE attended, spoke with Council or at Council’s” recognized persons present” about any grievance, hopeful direction or support for the new spending cut direction of Councilmen Prigge, Gavin and Shaw?

        Where was your voiced support on saving $4.6 million with Councilman Prigge’s motion or $1 million with Councilman Shaw’s motion that was voted against? Did you contact anyone to ask them why they didn’t support tax payer relief to the tune of now $5.6 million and demand a change in their votes in the future?

        If there is another city’s plan you admire, gather the information and make your case.

      • SIE says:

        Correct. Read my reply to Chuck.

        How come practically every other town feels that leaf collection is a worthwhile service to provide to their residents?

        Elgin has an inequitable program. Eliminate the fee for leaf collection program or make it city wide.

  9. The Art says:

    To Risk

    To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
    To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
    To reach out is to risk involvement,
    To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self.
    To place your ideas and dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss.
    To love is to risk not being loved in return,
    To live is to risk dying,
    To hope is to risk despair,
    To try is to risk failure.

    But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to
    risk nothing. The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has
    nothing, is nothing.

    – William Arthur Ward (1921-1994)

    • James Thiel says:


      What world do you live in? Just because other cities offer a service doesn’t mean Elgin should or has too. What’s next, a Elgin service to clean dog poop off your lawn because it’s actually the city’s apron.

      Good God man, figure it out and take care if it! It’s your lawn! You’re embarrassing the manly gender.

      So you have gathered information. Big deal, it’s too late. Let it go, geezzzzz!

      Remember, we all have the option to live in a city that offers their residents the special services you desire.

      When you find Utopia,let us all know.

      • SIE says:

        Oh come on. We’re talking about leaf collection. There’s a reason basically every other town provides the service. Leaves need to be collected.

        Utopia? Well then I guess St. Charles, Lake Zurich, Dundee and every other town that cares enough about its citizens to provide this service is a Utopia.

        You don’t understand what local government should be doing. All you care about is cost cutting.

    • Margaret Miller says:

      The sooner you learn that for now, six members of this Council believe the needs of the few are greater than the needs of the many, the better off you’ll be.

      2015 is closer than they think.

      Stop with this already. The issue is over and you lost $1.88.

  10. SIE says:

    I’ll stop nothing. You don’t even understand the issue.

  11. Daisy says:

    Regarding the leaf issue…

    I do agree that it is unfairly maintained. To allow for certain residents to pay ONLY $24 for leaf rake-out, while others spend more than that with the cost of bags…and if you miss the 2 week window, the cost of the stickers. (I personally have paid over $30 in stickers because I missed that window. My fault, but an additional cost just the same.)

    I do agree that we need to look at surrounding municipalities to see what they are doing. As many folks look around them and compare…to decide where they would like to reside.

    The fact that other communities have made arrangements with their trash collection provider speaks volumes. Most of our surrounding communities have no cost yard waste pick-up through the summer months. Others have very LOW cost yard waste pick up.

    I think the biggest issue here is that we are paying through the nose for the joy of living in Elgin. There is very little offered here in Elgin that is not offered in other communities, yet we pay more and are taxed more.

    When something simple that was helpful for the WHOLE community is taken away, while keeping our taxes at an all time high…it pushes the buttons of the commmunity.

    The ‘free’ bags, or ‘welfare’ bags that were provided, at least ’somewhat’ offset the cost of our yard waste collection. I have paid for bags, and paid for the sticker…that cost over the $24 other residents get to pay for the ’same’ service. However, it’s not the same. It takes more energy to rake and bag, than it does to push them all into the street. Which, compromises our sewer system. One other community that I saw does the ‘leaf rake out’ but specifies that the leaves NOT be raked into the street, but on the parkway…to ensure that the sewers are not compromised. I have to wonder how much it will cost in the long run when those compromised sewers need to be attended to.

    Who decided which areas are ‘leaf rake-out’ and which are not? It seems a bit arbitrary to me…but then, I am not ‘up’ on that discussion that must have taken place years ago.

    …anyway, that’s my 2 cents. Keep it fair for the entire commmunity. What is good for one should be good for all, when it comes to something like trash collection, yard waste collection…these things are of interest to ALL homeowners, not a select few.

    • SIE says:

      Well said and better than I could apparently.

      Maybe others will understand. One of local governments main responsibilites is to provide needed services. For most people leaf collection qualifies.

      Would you believe a Councilmember told me that I should have the city trees removed from in front of my house so I won’t have as many leaves? Apparently that will be the recommended action for anyone who doesn’t like paying for leaf pick up.

      Remove trees so there are less leaves? How un green can a city be? The analogy I came up with would be to pull your teeth so you don’t have to brush them.

  12. RS says:

    Don’t forget this is tomorrow night!


    So Tuesday, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Centre of Elgin, Heritage Ballroom, the housing authority will present results of additional work and modifications to the plan.

    The housing authority hopes to rezone the site in order to construct a new four-to-six-story building containing 60 studio, one- and two-bedroom affordable senior apartments. The ground level would house the HAE central offices and retail space. The unit mix would also include market-rate senior apartments.

    To make way for this new construction, the housing authority would demolish an existing three-story, eight-unit frame residential structure at 132 S. State St. The building is a now-empty mansion that had been converted into apartments and had seen its share of troubles, including a slaying in August 2012. The Housing Authority also wants to rehabilitate and reconfigure the affordable senior residential units within the 150-unit, 11-story Central Park Towers, which has been open since 1970.

    The new development and rehabilitation would increase the total unit count on both properties from 158 units to 164.

    • Anna Claire says:


      Just wondering who is picking up the tab for this meeting at the Heritage Ballroom. Is it the Housing Authority?

      Anyone know?

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      As a note to anyone who reads the article in the Courier: The reporter obtained information via FOIA of an email I sent to City Manager Stegall, in preparation for my 9/30/13 meeting with Sean to discuss the 120 S. State public housing project.

      A key point I made to Sean was that there should be a study of where Elgin wants (if they want) more public housing, before the project at 120 S. State is allowed to proceed. Instead of simply saying the housing project could go some other place, I actually thought about it, and used Central Park as an example, and felt that was a good example, as it showed that even within a stone’s throw of the 120 S. State project, that there was a possible alternative location. But at no time, have I ever publicly advocated for the public housing project to be located in Central Park. I think anyone who has read my admittedly long write up on the project, with all of my pictures, would pretty well know what my opinions were of the project, and in that public testament, I never advocated for the project to be located at Central Park. And I am not currently advocating for Central Park as a location for this project.

      I am publicly advocating now, and have communicated by email to the City Manager, to the City Council and the Mayor, that:
      1) The present location for the project (120 S. State) is bad (see my separate post on this subject)
      2) NO public housing should be allowed to be built anywhere until after the City has decided IF they want any more public housing, and if they do, where they would want it.

      As to who is paying for the meeting on Tuesday night, I am afraid it will be paid for by the taxpayers. I never advocated for such a meeting to be held, even though two councilmen told me that the City Manager cited me as being a factor in this meeting. I did express to the council on November 6th, that three weeks had gone by since the council tabled discussion on 120 S. State for one month, (to allow the Housing Authority time to meet with the objecting neighbors, and then come back with modified plans to the council) and at that point, there had been no meetings between the HAE and objecting neighbors. But the meetings with the HAE and the objecting neighbors did in fact take place on 11/12/13 and 11/13/13. Those meetings satisfied my complaint to the council that no meetings had taken place.

      Thanks, Chuck

  13. Anna Claire says:


    I don’t have an issue with the meeting, my concern is that we have a perfectly nice facility, the Council chambers that’s already paid for.

    I don’t imagine, unfortunately, that the ballroom will be filled. Why are the taxpayer’s are paying for the meeting room when it’s the Housing Authority who is pushing the project or the neighborhood who this project is earmarked for?

    Always the taxpayer.

    • RS says:

      It’s a city-owned facility either way, so I don’t think it makes a difference. They might pay rent to themselves but other than making the numbers for the Centre look a little better I don’t think there’s any real bottom line impact.

  14. Chuck Keysor says:

    Anna Claire, I believe the location of the meeting was selected by the City Manager. I am expecting that Damon will bring his bus load of 120 S. State residents as he did for the Planning and Zoning Commission, and for the City Council session related to the project. And there will be a handful of neighbors, and maybe a reporter. On a cold night like tonight, most people would rather just stay home. Chuck

  15. RS says:

    I just noticed that Hoffman Estates hired Global Spectrum a few years ago to manage the Sears Centre, and apparently they pay only $11,000 a month. The same company manages the St. Charles Convention Center.

    Has the City of Elgin looked at this option for the Hemmens/Centre or other city facilities? Anybody know?


  16. RS says:

    They should also look at turning over operation of the golf courses. This is an interesting article:


    A 2011 city staff report requesting the council okay increased greens fees said American Golf Corporation pays the city about $800,000 a year to operate the golf course, and in its report to San Francisco, NGF said the company paid $8 million to renovate it. Recent city budgets show the fund the payments are placed in is running at a deficit, though the budget documents say dredging costs are responsible for the shortfall.

    Under the deal being considered by Alameda’s City Council, Greenway would pay $75,000 a year in rent for each of the next four years and a minimum of $350,000 by the ninth year of the proposed lease, along with $1 million upfront toward renovations at the golf complex and additional capital improvement funds each year. Greenway will also pay taxes and a maintenance assessment for Harbor Bay Parkway. The amount is less than the city had taken out of the complex in prior years.

    Greenway will have the right to set greens and other fees, though they will be required to offer discounted fees to residents, seniors and students, along with free golf to Alameda’s public high school golf teams. The city can terminate the agreement after four years if the complex’s drainage and irrigation problems have not been resolved to city officials’ satisfaction.

    Stevinson-based Greenway had offered $3.4 million in rent over its first 10 years as operator of the golf complex and $6.7 million in improvements, an amount that included a $5.1 million investment in the Jack Clark Golf Course. Greenway bested KemperSports Management, which the council selected in December 2008 to manage the complex on a short-term basis, when the council unanimously voted to negotiate a deal with them in May.

    So these other cities are making money on rent from the golf operators and not taking on any risk really. The chief benefit is trimming the city payroll and avoiding having to pay for early retirement and profligate pensions, the real costs of city government, not a few trash bags or annual events.

    • SIE says:

      Elgin is an island unto itself. It refuses to to look at what other municipalities do. In fact they take the opposite approach.

      A city council member told me that “most” other cities require their residents to bag their leaves. Not true. In five minutes I found St. Charles, Geneva and many others that pick up leaves, for no additional cost. But since that’s what they think why should they look in to changing Elgin’s program?

      Elgin is living in the dark ages when it comes to providing services, running city enterprises etc. Every other city does it better.

  17. Chuck Keysor says:

    Hello,,,, I posted this in the 120 S. State blog, but to make sure the Elginite readers don’t miss this, I have posted the same info here. Thanks, Chuck

    I attended tonight’s 120 S. State meeting. I counted about 50 people in attendance. About half were residents of 120 S. State. (Damon Duncan asked the residents to stand. Then he asked the residents of 120 S. State who have cars to stand. By my estimate, half stayed standing.) Also in attendance were: Tish Powell, Anna Moeller, Rich Dunne and Carol Rauschenberger.

    Damon Duncan presented the Walker Engineering study on parking. The study said that there is plenty of parking, with room to spare. They checked the parking on two occasions, and found that the lot was not filled either time. All of their future use projections were based upon the parking situations they observed on two dates.

    The architects then presented the modified design, which does look better than the original building. But the footprint of the building has not been modified, just the “skin”. So the building is still a big hulking structure, that has gobbled up the green space, and it sits too close to the street.

    We were told that the fire department says it is safer for them if the entrance remains as a one way entrance only. So they will “probably” not change the entrance to have two way traffic. (One resident of 120 S. State stood up and said that she wants to maintain the two way entrance/exit, because of traffic jams that she sees on Locust Street.)

    Those were all the covered topics. Marc Mylott said that the 120 S. State project will come before the COW on December 18th, and if that passes, it will come back to the council for the second vote on January 8th.

    I talked to Carol Rauschenberger, and she said that she now likes the looks of the new design, and by inference, since that was previously her only point of objection, I am expecting that she will now support the project. Anna and Tish didn’t directly tell me they support the project, but all of their comments to me were positive concerning the revised design.

    Sen. Noland stood up and said he strongly supports this project. He carefully explained that this project represents $28 million (his figure, which was at odds with the $25million, and $26million figure that Damon uses). Noland said clearly and carefully, that these are Federal tax dollars, not Illinois dollars, and that if WE don’t take this money now, it will wind up being spent somewhere else. So we had better grab these dollars and spend them here in Elgin.


    • RS says:

      Thanks for the report, Chuck.

      Are they still planning on having 14 market-rate apartments?

      I don’t think that’s going to work so well, because this isn’t a true mixed-income project with only 14 out of 164 units being market rate. I don’t think anybody’s going to pay market rate to live in a public housing project.

      Since ‘hobos’ were mentioned in the article, why don’t they include something for the homeless in this project? We should try to get the few homeless people downtown into apartments. It’s sad to go downtown at night and see homeless people just trying to stay warm. I have to give the El Faro people a lot of credit for being kind to them, but that sort of situation shouldn’t exist. Maybe in return for housing they can be asked to perform some maintenance duties or something.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        You are welcome Rick. Yes, the revised design still has the 14 market rate apartments. And they are being allotted the same parking space count as the subsidized housing: 1/2 parking space for each apartment.

        Also, during last night’s question and answer session, two residents of 120 S. State specifically said that the parking does get filled up, but that is mostly on the weekends, because of the visitors. It is not the residents who are creating the stresses on the parking. So they discount this as not being an issue, since it isn’t their residents directly creating the problem!

        And, a neighbor testified, saying that earlier this year, someone stopped her to ask for directions. It turns out that someone had come from out of state to visit family that lives at 120 S. State. She was looking for a parking space, and did not like the idea of having to park in the Metra train station parking lot as recommended by her relative!

        As another interesting point, a resident of 120 S. State made a clear and unmistakable plea to keep a private entrance/exit on the 120 S. State property. She said that she sees how the traffic backs up on Locust Street when someone wants to turn north on State Street. I tapped on Anna Moeller’s shoulder and whispered, when I say that, people say I am crazy or fear mongering. Now you have heard with your own ears that a resident has confirmed what I have been saying.


    • RS says:

      I’m still not seeing how this project makes sense. They’re going to spend $25M and from that they get an extra 6 units of housing. Since they are including 14 market-rate apartments, this means a net increase of 6 units of market-rate housing (and a net loss of 8 units of affordable housing) in downtown Elgin for $25M. That comes out to more than $4M per market-rate apartment.

      I can see how politicians support this, since they are backed by unions and people in the construction business, but I am still not understanding how this benefits taxpayers or the general public, especially those in need of affordable housing.

  18. One Vote says:

    About the freight train blocking traffic Monday night.
    It would sure be nice to know how and why it “broke down.” I don’t believe it hit anything or derailed.
    But I do believe it was stopped at McLean and Big Timber at about 4:05 pm, not blocking anything.
    It would be nice to know what they were doing moving it toward town a few minutes later.
    Does anyone know any details?

  19. bw says:

    The long freight was going thru downtown about 3:20. It cleared all downtown crossings. I went to Walgreen’s to pick up a few items and when I got to Royal the traffic was backed up from the tracks. Cars were turning around going back to Royal to go East or West to Rt 31 or Randall. I could see the train blocking the crossing just South of Big Timber. I turned around and went to Rt. 31. I turned West on Big Timber and could see the train was stopped all along Big Timber going West blocking the crossing. I went to Jester’s and eat. When I came out I could still see the train with a Metra Police Car at the crossing. The train started to move back towards downtown or East and South. It had the crossing blocked for at least 45 to 60 minutes. I read in the Herald that it had derailed. Several school buses could not get across Big Timber to Century Oaks School. Kids did not have their usual bus transportation available. We received a call from the EPD stating that a 10 year girl was missing. A second call later from the EPD stated the girl was located. I suppose she went home with a friend when her bus did not arrive on time. The whole thing was a mess. Long trains should not be allowed going East or West during that time of day. EPD phone alert an asset to the community. It works well for these type of alerts and storm alerts.

  20. Margaret Miller says:

    Thank you to Councilman Gavin, Prigge and Shaw on their vote against the 2014 Budget because it didn’t go far enough on behalf of the taxpayer.

    I want my portion of the surplus back!

    • bw says:

      Keep dreaming, I’m sorry I don’t agree with your thinking or do I agree with Gavin, Prigge or Shaw on their budget vote. All three are worthless members of the council.

      • Margaret Miller says:

        You don’t have to agree with my opinion although your opinion is as worthless to me as I have made known to you already.

        Don’t you want your over taxed money back bw? Do you think it’s best in the collective pockets rather than your own?

        Its a huge surplus from over taxing. If you don’t want yours back mores the pity for your fool hearty way of thinking.

        • bw says:

          The only thing I want back is excellent services from all city departments. I lost my four lawn bags. Now I have to buy them out of my own picket. I pay $250 to get my leaves and lawn cleaned at the end of the season. MM you’re a big cry baby.

          • Margaret Miller says:


            If the city only gave you 4 free bags then the city ripped you off because SIE got 5 free bags from the city…oh the injustice of it all!

            Speaking of cry babies, stop crying over the loss of your 4 so called free bags. For gosh sake! Someone pays for it! GET IT.

            Menards had the bags on sale. $1.88 for 5 bags.

            If you, like SIE, need my charitable contribution of $1.88 I will gladly give that amount to each one of you if you promise not to complain about it further. How ungrateful that you don’t thank the taxpayer’s who supported your free bags all these years.

            As for the $250, you would have had to pay that out of your pocket, just like SIE so don’t whine to me about the cost of home ownership and landscape standards. That’s your freedom of choice.

            Wouldn’t it have been great if the majority gave you back some of the surplus millions so you could pay for your leaf clean up without further complaint?

            Oh wait, you don’t want that money back, do you.
            Looks like the majority left you blowing in the wind like your leaves

            Have a nice day bw.

  21. RS says:


    Only council members Terry Gavin, Toby Shaw and John Prigge voted against the project, which will be funded mostly by low-income housing tax credits.

    The city council is expected to vote on a final ordinance at its first meeting in January.

    The new building was redesigned after some residents and council members asked for a more traditional look.

    Resident Hollyce Mack called the design “almost hideous.

    “I think unfortunately in 40 or 50 years we’re going to regret how this building looks.”

    The decision was “a gut-wrencher,” Shaw said. “It seems the idea is good but maybe it’s not the best,” he said, adding another site could possibly be found somewhere.

    Prigge agreed. “We’re all the way out to Route 47 to the west and all the way to Hoffman Estates to the east. There’s gotta be someplace else,” he said.

    Resident Traci Ellis said some of those against the plan are motivated by “racist and classist” stereotypes about HAE residents.

    • Margaret Miller says:

      Ditto on Councilman Prigge and Shaw’s thoughts on this project.

      Traci Ellis, shame on you for the things you said.

    • RS says:

      The problem with this project is that there is a finite amount of money even when it’s “free.” What they’re doing here is spending $25M to upgrade the housing for the existing residents of that building (excluding the 8 who will lose their housing or be forced to pay market rate). That $25M could have been used to actually provide more housing for people who need it.

      Somebody was here a month or two ago defending this project because there’s a need for affordable housing for seniors. This project reduces affordable housing by 8 units at a cost of $25M. And it does that without actually changing the structure of public housing in Elgin. It’s not part of a strategic plan like Chicago’s Plan for Transformation aimed at providing safer housing and socioeconomic integration of neighborhoods. So it’s hard to see the rationale for this project because it doesn’t do anything like the Plan for Transformation and neither does it actually provide more affordable housing. It’s just a $25M construction project.

      The danger is that if the federal government is providing funding for this via tax credits they may decide not to fund a worthier project in the future. There may be–and there probably is–a limit to how much money they will put into Elgin. So why not come up with a better project?

      • RS says:

        I guess it is the state rather than the federal government that determines which projects are eligible.


        The program is administered at the state level by State housing finance agencies with each state getting a fixed allocation of credits based on its population. The state housing agency has wide discretion in determining which projects to award credits, and applications are considered under the state’s “Qualified Allocation Plan” (QAP). The credits are usually awarded to projects in a few “allocation rounds” held each year, on a competitive basis. Typically, the top ranked project will get credits, then the second, and so on until the credits are exhausted for the round. A portion of each state’s credits must be “set aside” for projects sponsored by non-profit organizations, although non-profits more typically apply for credits under the “general” rules, without regard to the set-aside.
        This allows each state to set its own priorities and address its specific housing goals. It also encourages developers to offer benefits that are better than the established minimums when competing against other projects (e.g., charging lower rents, or maintaining the low income requirements for a longer number of years, will often improve a project’s rank in the competitive process; it is important to check the particular state’s QAP and application to see how it makes these judgments).

        Not all projects claim the low income credit based on this competitive process. Projects that are financed by tax-exempt bonds can also qualify for the credit. Tax-exempt bonds are also limited on a state-by-state basis, and the state agency responsible for bonds may be different, but it will generally apply similar rules than the agency responsible for the tax credit program.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        RS: Yes, they added a net of 6 new units, but they now have 14 market rate units. So you are right, there are now 8 fewer subsidized apartments than there were before. Not bad for spending $25million. Your points are great, but your timing is not so hot! Chuck

  22. Margaret Miller says:

    Thank you Councilman Gavin for pointing out that he’s had enough of the rejection of the majority on this council’s blatant disregard for its citizens overall well being and quality of life?

    This council’s majority has refused to compromise on any level for tax cuts, roll backs or repeals to any of the draconian tax increases from the 2012 budget, the largest in Elgin’s history, or acknowledge the fact Elgin has a budget surplus of over $12M this year & $14M projected for next year.

    This council’s majority has repeated during the budget process that Elgin government can’t afford to cut taxes. Those in the majority are flat out wrong and they know it!

    This majority refuses to look at their spending & in spite of these difficult times have made it crystal clear they will not stop spending on their many personal wants. The fact is the city’s budget has grown 72% in the last 4 years or 18% per annum.

    They have made their position clear by their votes and their attitude towards the taxpayer. For each attempt made to provide tax relief to citizens, it was met with overwhelming opposition & resistance.

    As Councilman Prigge noted, Shame on the majority for putting the ESO’s need for a bailout over the taxpayer’s needs for refunds of the surplus.

    • SIE says:

      I’ll reply to your above post where you mention me, to this one and to some of your others.

      I think you live in a townhouse community so you pay for your lawn work. You chose where to live. So did I. In a house. In a city with trees. Every Fall the leaves need to be removed. Most cities have a leaf collection program that benefits ALL their citizens. Elgin does not. Their current plan is discriminatory and needs to be changed. But what did Elgin do? They eliminated yard waste bags that taxpaying citizens could use to get rid of their leaves.

      You just don’t get it. It’s not the cost of the bags. Leaf removal is a service that taxpayers deserve. Almost every other nearby city removes their citizens leaves without charging extra. It’s a service they get for paying taxes. So where is my similar service from Elgin? I don’t get one. I pay one of the highest municipal tax rates to Elgin and they can’t even provide a basic service like leaf removal.

      What did one of your big three tell me when I questioned why this is? He told me to have the city trees removed from in front of my house. How idiotic a suggestion is that? I feel like reporting him to some agency, but I haven’t researched who it would be.

      What did another of your big three say? He told me Elgin has a fair and equitable leaf removal program already in place. Huh? I guess he is referring to that I go out and buy bags, fill them and then have Waste Management pick them up. Hardly a collection plan. Meanwhile residents of cities that care about their citizens get to rake them to the curb to have them picked up as part of their taxes.

      Maybe if you were a single family homeowner responsible for your property you’d feel different. Or maybe you are and you just don’t care that you pay one of the highest tax rates yet your city can’t do something as simple as remove leaves.

      You keep harping on getting the budget surplus refunded. I want services for the taxes I pay. And I don’t get them. James Madison said it pretty well. The big three say constantly “no” but at what cost? This city is a hell hole to live in already and then to take away needed services? Ridiculous.

      • Margaret Miller says:


        I have already addressed you and I don’t really like repeating myself however, I still await your response on the questions I asked you on December 8th.

        Margaret asked…
        “Have you held a meeting with your neighbors to discuss your grievance and how to act upon it? When this injustice was first enacted, XXX amount of years ago or since, did you voice your opinion, contact the Mayor, any Council members, any neighbors?”

        You have never answered them you just complain about how unfair you’re treated and compare Elgin to other cities.

        I will take issue with you regarding your comment…”and you just don’t care that you pay one of the highest tax rates yet your city can’t do something as simple as remove leaves. You keep harping on getting the budget surplus refunded.”

        So are you informing me that if your taxes were lower you wouldn’t be complaining about your leaves? Doubtful in my opinion because as the saying goes, you can’t please everyone.

        If you have read any of my posts, I have been outspoken about over taxation and supportive of the BIG THREE that are trying to do something about it. Where do you think the surplus came from in the first place? OVER TAXATION!

        As for core services such as police and fire, I’m very happy.

        • Anonymous says:

          Did you not read any of my posts? I don’t like repeating myself but here goes.

          I said I contacted all of my elected officials. Three chose to respond including two of your three heroes. I posted what they said. One said to have all the city trees removed and the other said Elgin has a perfectly fine leaf removal plan. Both idiotic and uninformed responses.

          Why in the world do I have to get together with my neighbors and formulate a plan to submit to my elected officials? Leaf removal is a basic service that practically every other city in this area provides. Apparently Elgin doesn’t care enough for its taxpaying citizens to provide the same service that other cities do. And yes I will compare Elgin to other cities. That’s how one can evaluate the value of what we receive in terms of taxes paid/services received.

          As for taxes why don’t you get it? It’s not only about what you pay, it’s about what you get. We are taxed at one of the highest rates of any city in the metro Chicago area and I should be happy that I get Police and Fire? If that’s all you want fromyour city that;s pretty sad. Other cities can provide needed services to their residents who pay a much lower rate. It’s mismanagment pure and simple and then to rub salt in the wound your heroes voted to remove some of the services we previously got for our tax dollars. All in the name of tax reform? All in the name of self grandiosity in my opinion.

          Others have said it but I will do it again. What exactly do you want out of this city? A city with low taxes? A city with no services? We pay high taxes. But this city doesn’t provide the services that we should be getting from those tax dollars. Sure, eliminate spending on festivals and trips to Chile or whatever but to not provide services is not acceptable. We pay taxes and should be getting a return on our money.

          • SIE says:

            If you didn’t figure it out that response was me.

          • Margaret Miller says:

            Yes, I read your post, didn’t you get that I had to copy my own quote back in its entirely?

            Why should you meet with your neighbors you ask, so you have a force to go to the next level with. Complaining on Elginite obviously gets you no sympathy for your problem and certainly no results. You have nine months to figure it out.

            Tell us who the councilmen were that told you these things you claim? Better yet, would you be willing to post those entire e-mails directly to Elginite? Please include, the header for identification on all names, dates and subject. If you choose not too, FOIA’s can be filed on the BIG THREE requesting all e-mails pertaining to their comments regarding leaf removal issues.

            Now, sir, I will take issue with your comment…”As for taxes why don’t you get it? It’s not only about what you pay, it’s about what you get.”

            Once again we have a huge difference of opinion. We don’t pay high taxes due to services or the lack there of, we pay high taxes because the majority on this council each have their own personal agenda and pet projects. Steffen, $1.3 million and counting for bike paths, Moeller, ESO bail out for her sister-in-law, Kaptain for his green sustainability issues, Powell agenda is to follow Moeller, Dunne vote with the majority because he is not a leader and has no ideas of his own. Rauschenberger, who the heck knows what goes on in her mind.

            It costs money (taxes) for all of these pet projects. Why don’t you get it and either do something about your problem or decide to suffer in silence. You’re now beating a dead horse issue. What a shame you were never taught…sometimes life isn’t fair.

            Merry Christmas

      • Anonymous says:

        So why don’t you move to one of these other towns?

        • bw says:

          Let her enjoy Christmas in Elgin first. After all she is the manager of the three stooges. She makes that known in all of her post.

          Merry Christmas

          • Margaret Miller says:


            Wouldn’t it be great if your high education level would identify the proper thread to you? 
            Anonymous was speaking to SIE.

            As far as managing the three Councilman I fully support, haven’t you realized that these strong, independent thinking men are fully capable of managing themselves and their positions? That’s why they’re men and not sheeple falling for every line in their path. They are not handled by women and are testosterone driven warriors against high taxes. Not like the other namby pamby men you see on Council or around town.

        • SIE says:

          Because my house is worth less than what I paid 20 years ago.

          There are two houses on my block that have been for sale for nine months. Apparently they don’t want to give their house away and neither do I. The only people buying in this city are companies that rent the houses (why in the world anyone would pay their rental prices is beyone me but they seem to make a business out of it) or immigrants who put five families in a house.

          I’m stuck. Get it? And why should I have to move to another town to get needed services? You apparently are another one satisfied with the the lousy return on tax dollars we receive in this city.

          Got to go. I have to shovel the three feet of snow in front of my house that the plow driver can’t figure out how to remove. Like I’ve been doing for 20 years. Apparently he thinks my curb is in the middle of the street. But I should be happy with the services I receive, right?

          • Tim says:

            The reason people pay these high rents, is that they aren’t paying them. Section 8 is paying them. Real estate is a great investment in elgin, because you know that the only people looking to rent from you are on the government take. That’s a guaranteed check every month.

  23. bw says:

    I guess I should have said 20 free bags. No I don’t need your help or donation for the bags. Yes, home ownership is a freedom of choice.

    Being unhappy with Prigge, Gavin and Shaw is also a freedom of choice. I did not vote for any of them. I like the agenda of the other six members of the council. The big three are Tea Party members. Anyone who enjoys the Tea Party are dumb. Just what has the Tea Party done for Elgin and the rest of the country. Not one worthwhile thing. They all need to be voted out in 2014 so government can function as it should for all of us.

    • Margaret Miller says:


      BTW, if you were getting 20 free bags you were ripping off the city and the taxpayers!

      The deal was for 5 free bags, looks like you owe the taxpayer’s the money for 15 bags multiplied by the number of years you obtained 20 bags.

      Feel free to write your check, for your restitution, to the city for your abuse of the system.

      Oh that’s right, your from the side that feels you are owed and entitled to the city’s generosity at every turn.

      What a drag your council friends didn’t give you back the surplus money so you would have an easier time paying what’s due to the city.

      Now, I can’t wait for your next complaint on how the city did you wrong and in some warped way of thinking extra bags makes the score somehow even.

      Don’t bother, been there, heard that.

      • SIE says:

        Every time I read your posts I’m amazed, and not in a good way.

        “your from the side that feels you are owed and entitled to the city’s generosity at every turn. ”

        You do realize that people pay taxes directly to this city. High taxes. One of the highest tax rates in ametropolitan area of 9 million people.

        And you think its “generosity” in what this city provides to its residents. Unbelievable.

  24. Margaret Miller says:

    I can’t answer that since none of them are Tea Party members that I know of.

    As for the dumb comment, how dumb is it that you don’t want your surplus money back, that you never addressed the surplus refund/rebate from my post nor that you don’t get angry at your favorite progressives for hoarding the surplus for bike lanes and ESO debtor bailouts?

  25. James Madison says:

    Fortunately, the three blind mice who comprise the F***ing Death Star of NO! will not have many more budgets to reject. Since they have no constructive ideas or alternatives, their only sanctuary is to “protect the taxpayers from the sloth and greed of over-taxation.” In other words, we have no clue of how to run a government for the benefit of the citizens so if we just scream NO! loud enough (re: Prigge and Gavin) enough voters will think we are supporting them and will vote for us. Meanwhile, obstruction and obfuscation are mistaken for responsibility and stewardship. This is the effective end of the Tea Party in America. Just as the Whigs and “Know Nothings” disappeared into history, thus this crowd will soon blow away as well. It is one thing to be opposed to a policy but that requires an alternative solution. Government must work in a free society; otherwise, chaos reigns (re: Washington). A footnote in history awaits The Three Blind Mice.

    • SIE says:

      Although not a popular sentiment here I agree with most everything you say.

      I’ve been vocal about the Leaf removal issue but I think it is just a symptom of a deeper problem. The three blind mice (to use your term) vote no to any spending that they feel isn’t justified. That’s great but what about the services that this city, any city needs to provide? Not only do at least two of them think we don’t deserve them, they voted to take some of them away.

  26. Cruex says:

    I watched the council meeting tonight. I found myself listening to Traci Ellis’ race baiting wondering how she ever got elected. Then I remembered she represents U-46 schools and then I understood how she got elected. You could tell she knew the cameras were rolling and I’m glad they were.

  27. Danise Habun says:

    Not sure what Traci Ellis or Tish Powell have to be ashamed of, or, where race baiting occurred during the last City Council meeting. What I observed were two people confronting the excuses given by folks who are opposed to the senior housing project of the Elgin Housing Authority and suggesting that other motives could be behind those excuses.

  28. Tim Palmer says:

    Shanice is back! She back kickin’ it old school style for the handout crowd again. Your girls have nuthin to be ashamed of, they’re just acting the way that they do which is scream but don’t be naming no names, that way everybody is guilty.

  29. rm says:

    Whether you prefer the more original version…


    or Sandstrom’s recent version…


    Merry Christmas.

  30. bw says:


  31. RS says:

    Yay, a beautiful white Christmas. Hope it was good for everybody. Best wishes to all.

  32. Hamony says:

    I can’t believe this City. A guy invests a lot on money to open a new bar on McLean Blvd, has 112 parking places and the City says it can’t open the basement for a piano bar and short 39 spaces?? Doesn’t have any rules for valet parking yet the Casino has had the service since it opened.Yet the City approves the new addition to 120 S State parking?? Look around at other places and their parking the lots are never full.

  33. bw says: