Saturday, February 25, 2006
Valentine's Day City Council Meeting
Before the meeting started, State Representative Calvin Giles presented the City with a $250,000.00 check, which goes toward the purchase of a new fire truck.
Another person is retiring, Eugene Brandt, from the Public Works department. Just so everyone knows, every time a person retires, that costs the City money because workers are entitled to unused sick time, etc.
The Police union contract was voted on again, a different version, and the vote was 4 to 1. Myself, 1st Ward, 5th Ward and 7th Ward Alderpeople voted for the contract. The 2nd Ward Alderman voted against. The 4th Ward Alderwoman was excused from voting(her spouse is a policeman). The 6th Ward and 8th Ward Aldermen did not vote. They were present, but chose not to vote because they believed we were illegally voting. It was a very bizarre moment.
One union contract down, three more to go.
The auditors' contract for the '04 audit was approved. Hopefully, this audit will finish much faster than the '03 audit.
Another developer, who is unknown to me, is asking for some trees to come down in the parkway at 6643 W. 19th St so that diagonal parking will be put in. This matter was deferred to the Administrative Committee, where I am sure it will languish in limbo(editorial comment for which I do not apologize).
There was some re-shuffling of appointments to the Police Pension Board. New state law kicked in.
We will be getting a new Finance Director. We have not had one under the old administration. We have had an assistant Finance Director, who was put on administrative leave the Friday after this 2-14-06 meeting. The new Finance Director comes from Brookfield, where he was put on administrative leave, allegedly due to politics, or his practices, depending on what you believe. Although the Mayor is the one who appoints the Department Heads, there has to be a vote from the Alderpeople(advice and consent). That vote will take place at the 2-28-06 meeting. I believe all the Alderpeople have met the Finance Director.
The City Clerk's longtime assistant, Lori Dimenna, has announced her retirement. Consequently, the person who had been the Election Clerk and did various other tasks, was appointed to Lori's job. Time will tell who replaces the Election Clerk or how that procedure will take place.
The Fire and Police Committee(I am the chair), had studied a system that could send tickets to drivers after they had speeded or gone through a red light. In other words, a device would be placed at an intersection or mid-block, and if a vehicle went through a red light or was speeding, the vehicle's owner would be mailed a ticket. On the ticket, there would be a photo of the driver and license plate. This would be a great alternative to speed bumps and requires little personnel and would help make our streets safer. Unfortunately, as of this writing, the only City in Illinois that can use this system is Chicago. We are trying to have Springfield allow the system in all municipalities.
Additionally, the Building and Zoning Committee, of which I am on, has recommended that a large increase in the fine be implemented for people working without building permits. Also, the Committee has recommendeed that awnings be allowed to have more verbiage or a log on them, and that compliance fees be increased, and finally, that a deposit be put down when people give the City plans to be reviewed. All of these have been sent to the Ordinance Committee to amend the respective ordinances and then will be put up for a vote to the entire Council.
The 6th Ward Alderman has submitted a communication for a variance for Alamo Shoes. The owner of Alamo Shoes spoke at the very beginning of the meeting and indicated he has been losing money and would like to sell the building to a dentist. As the law stands now, the dentist would not be permitted to have a dental office at this location. Businesses that generate sales tax are permitted. This matter was deferred.
A new firefighter has been appointed.
Many of the 8th Ward Alderman's parking proposals were voted on. The bottom line is that the City will is trying to improve parking and take cars off the streets. The big item passed is that overnight parking from 3 am to 9 am will not be allowed, unless the vehicle has a City sticker or guess pass. Having said this, the overnight parking will not go into effect in the 3rd Ward until the problems have been worked out on two blocks from Roosevelt to 14th, Harlem to Ridgeland, in the 8th Ward. I and the 4th Ward and 5th Ward Alderpeople voted against the new parking. I want to get cars off our streets, but I am not happy with the method that this vote will be putting in place.
As always, I encourage you to be a Neighborhood Watch Captain for your block. Contact me or the Police Department for an application.
If anyone is interested in volunteering to help with the Bungalow Walk, being held the first weekend of June, 2006, please contact me.
Finally, I will be having another 3rd Ward Town Hall meeting on Saturday, April 29, 2006, at 9:30 a.m. at Trinity Church located at 26th Street and Riverside Drive.