550 W. Irving Park Rd.
Ph: (630) 773-0835
The Village’s referendum seeking Home Rule Authority did not pass. First, let me thank all of those who did vote. It was important for the citizens to come out and vote whether they were for home rule or against it. It was a close election but the tally shows that we have to do a better job educating our citizens on how we are funded, how the state regulates us, what funds we receive from the state and why being a non-home rule community affects all of us. The Village wanted home rule for financial flexibility. The Village wanted to use portions of the existing hotel tax revenue for non-tourism related activities such as road repairs, storm water improvements and in the general upkeep of our infrastructure. This is not allowed for non-home rule communities. The Village will still perform these functions but the future funding for these activities may vary and depend on us receiving all funding from the state and/or other revenue increasing. If the state does reduce its funding to balance its budget without other revenues increasing to replace it, it may mean that we will not be able to do all that we would like to and that it may take longer for the Village to repave its streets or be able to establish quiet zones or afford large, expensive storm water projects. It may mean reductions in services or require the Village to go about its business in other ways. I say ,”it may” because we do not know that these “things” may happen but we believe that they might, that they are real possibilities and that we wanted to be prepared if they did happen.
Regardless of our status as home rule or non-home rule, I urge you to remain tuned into the actions of Springfield. They are playing with your tax dollars. Every month that they do not fix their pension problems (teacher’s, state workers, police/fire) or fix the worker’s compensation laws, they will be spending your money. You send your money to Springfield mainly in the form of Income Taxes and/or gasoline taxes, etc. So when you read or hear about the state looking to cut funding or change the formulas for the Local Government Distributive Fund (LGDF); they are mainly talking about taking your money and instead of distributing back to Itasca they are keeping that money in Springfield. Again, they are talking about your money!
The Electrical Aggregation referendum did pass. The Village will now work with our consultant NIMEC on a bid proposal to find a electricity supplier that lowers the price per kilowatt hour lower than what COM ED is currently charging. Of course, COM ED will still be your electricity distributer and most likely the company that will send your monthly bill and all of that but you will just be paying less. The process requires the Village to adopt a management plan, hold two public hearings, and bid the aggregated contract. All of this takes some time so we would expect it to take a few months. When it does happen, you will receive some information in the mail offering you the option of opting out of the Village’s program. If you wish to stay with COM ED you are free to do so or if you have already signed up with another firm you can stay with them as well. Please be careful! Companies are sending marketing materials or going door to door trying to get you to sign up with them and offering all kinds of savings. They have not bid their service with the village and they may or may not be offering you the best price. More information will be posted on the Village’s website and if you have any questions you are always welcome to either e-mail me or call me. In general, this aggregation will allow our citizens and small businesses the ability to save a lot of money this year and maybe longer on their electrical bills. One estimate has that amount as $650,000.
The last thing on my list is also very important. The Village budget is being discussed. Staff has put together a budget that calls for $1.4 million dollars in capital expenditures, raises no fees or rates on existing taxes but continues to address strategic goals. The budget includes funding for all current festivals and maintains current service levels. As the main annual policy document of the village, It spells out where our resources are going to be spent and what we are trying to achieve. Budget meetings will be held every Tuesday at 6pm for the month of April in the Village Board Room at 550 W. Irving Park Road and are open to the public.
Village of Itasca Administrator