Tax increase?

Now that there is a “legacy” deal for Morton Grove to purchase water from Evanston, it might be useful to look at some of the “nuts & bolts” surrounding this agreement.

One thing that needs to be considered is the new infrastructure that will be required to get the Evanston water to the pipes in Morton Grove. The last “conservative” estimate on the cost was somewhere in the neighborhood of $90,000,000, (which puts it in a pretty ritzy neighborhood, but we are, after all on the southern border of the northshore).

Since it is highly unlikely that the DiMaria administration has $90 mil in a mayonnaise jar in the administrator’s office, that will mean floating a bond to pay the freight… and here is where the two latest downgrades in the village’s bond rating comes back to bite Morton Grovers in the posterior.

Doing some quick figuring computing the $90,000,000 necessary to fund the construction and add to that the fees and costs that go to the underwriters along with the “juice”, (interest), that will have to be paid to borrow the money and the dividing that by the number of households in Morton Grove and we are looking at a property tax increase of somewhere between $1,800 – $2,000 per household.

Just goes to show you that “legacy deals”, just like elections, have consequences. Perhaps the administration would like to show more of its’ transparency and hold another town hall meeting… this one to explain just how, (and who), is going to pay the freight on this project.

…and speaking of projects, has anybody else noticed that there has been no work done on either the Moretti’s site, (where the equipment remains parked since early February), or the project on Waukegan rd, (where the site has been leveled and there is no equipment or activity in view).

We are now in prime construction time… the weather is cooperating and the projects are unlikely to build themselves. Maybe the village fathers would like to explain what the delay is.

This, that and the other

Well, the election is over, and as Mr. DiMaria has said, the people have spoken. But the burning questions are; “What people?” and “What have they said?”

It should come as no surprise that there is a deep divide in our citizenry when it comes to naming Morton Grove a “Welcoming”, (sanctuary), village.

Those who operate on feelings and emotions want an “open door” policy, regardless of the circumstances surrounding the “undocumented” persons involved. On the other hand, those who question why we have laws if we refuse to obey them and those who question just who is going to pay for the extra burden placed upon society by the “undocumented” are labeled as racist. As usual, our politicians, like the unprincipled weather vanes that they are vacillate back and forth as the wind blows their non-existent principles hither & yon. I can hear Village President DiMaria in my mind saying; “Half of my friends are FOR a welcoming ordinance while the other half are AGAINST it… and, as everybody knows, I stand with my friends.

With the imminent closing of Produce World, Morton Grove will officially become a food desert with not one food market within the village limits. Rumor has it that the Action Party folks were aware of this before the election, but chose their usual foggy obfuscation over transparent honesty when dealing with the situation. Produce World gone; Prairie View shopping center in shambles and even the Halal Market on Dempster has closed. Gonna be lots of hungry folks in Morton Grove I believe.

Now that the hoopla of the mayoral campaign has come to a close, can somebody explain what has happened to the two major building projects in the village? No action to be seen at the Moretti’s site and the large project on Waukegan is a ghost town. What’s going on here? Is it possible that the leaders of the projects in question had been promised seed money that the village doesn’t have at this time? Perhaps we should keep our eyes open for a new bond issue, (rates based upon our lowered ratings), in order to sweeten the pot even further for these DiMaria sweetheart deals.

And so, life rolls on in good old Morton Grove… giving voice to the old saying; “Same “Stuff”, different day!” 

Just a reminder

Morton Grove leaders have changed the date of a town hall meeting to consider whether the village should adopt a welcoming community ordinance, often referred to as sanctuary city status.

The town hall meeting is now scheduled for April 24 at 7:30 p.m. at the Morton Grove Civic Center, 6140 Dempster Street, officials announced Thursday.

It had been scheduled for April 17.

Assistant to the Village Manager Thomas Friel said the Morton Grove Village Board will hold its regular meeting at 7 p.m. that night and then the town hall meeting is expected to start a half hour later.

Just as an interesting observation, isn’t it strange that for the past 4 years every village communication, newsletter and postcard has had Village President DiMaria’s name plastered all over it and THIS one is an invitation by the village board of trustees? Makes you wonder if DiMaria is ashamed of this action… or is he anti-immigrant? Also interesting that the only Action Party supported candidate not elected was named Khan…

Morton Grove is a swinging town

On January 10th. Morton Grove News ran an article regarding massage parlors which stated, in part;

Today we ask the question; “Does the change in the massage parlor ordinance mean an announcement of exciting new businesses by the Mayor?”

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Morton Grove. because of it’s Home Rule status, can license the parlors and make them subject to spot inspection.  (Home Rule allows a municipality with more than 25,000 residents or one whose citizens have voted to become a Home Rule unit to do pretty much anything not forbidden by state law.)

According to The Morton Grove Champion,

Village board members voted unanimously at their Dec. 12, 2016 meeting to adopt the new regulations which officials said are intended to give the village better oversight of massage therapy establishments.

(The main thrust of these new regulations increases the fee for a license to provide revenue for the village)

“The regulation of massage establishments is a matter of growing importance to public health safety and the welfare of residents,” said Trustee Bill Grear. “And is intended to prevent the spread of diseases through unsanitary practices and…abate nuisances and unlawful activity.”

Village administrator Ralph Czerwinski said there are currently four massage therapy establishments in the village and that another application is pending. He explained that none of the current ones are suspected of anything inappropriate, but the village just wants to proactively have measures in place.

“There should be rules because it protects the community and provides a healthy and appropriate environment,” Czerwinski said.

In today’s Niles/Morton Grove Patch we find the following:

MORTON GROVE, IL — The following information comes from the Morton Grove Police Department as a record of police activity. An arrest by the police does not constitute a finding of guilt but represents merely an accussation. Criminal charges are often dropped or reduced and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

PROSTITUTION

A 51-year-old woman, of the 8300 block of Callie in Morton Grove, was arrested for prostitution after grabbing and manipulating the genitalia of an undercover police officer at the Enya Spa on the 9200 block of Waukegan Road on March 23.

All of this leads the Morton Grove News to ask the following questions:

  1. Trustee Grear, can you explain why the new ordinance did nothing to curtail the spread of diseases through unsanitary practices… or why it failed to abate this nuisance and unlawful activity?
  2. Village manager Czerwinski, does this mean that the administration saw nothing inappropriate in the behavior exhibited at the Enya Spa or was the action on the part of the undercover Morton Grove police officer part of the village’s proactive measures under the newly modified ordinance?
  3. Finally, not to seem ageist, but Mr. village president, (or possibly any of the village trustees whose job it is to protect the quality of life in Morton Grove), explain exactly what is there about our village that would attract 51 year old hookers to ply their trade here?

This isn’t exactly what we would expect from moving Morton Grove forward.

Time to act

The incumbent administration won a resounding victory by the 20% or so of voters who participated in last Tuesday’s village election. Village president DiMaria has said that the voters have given the incumbents four more years to complete their vision.

On January 29th there was a rally at the MEC in support of undocumented immigrants, and a petition signed by many Morton Grovers has been circulated urging the village government to adopt a “Welcoming ordinance”.

 

Rather than share HIS administration’s vision regarding this issue, Mr. DiMaria has stated publicly in the press: “”There’s two sides to every story, There are 23,000 residents in our community and this is a polarizing issue. It’s divisive.”

Well, thank you Captain Obvious!

We know that there are two sides, (sometimes more), to every story. We can read the Welcome to Morton Grove sign and see that there are 23,000+/- residents in town. It’s a polarizing issue… it’s devisive? Wow, what critical insight!

What Mr DiMaria, and through him his newly reelected administration, have done, is what most politicians do. They have side-stepped the issue and mouthed platitudes without telling the residents what THEY, the elected representatives of the residents think and believe.

 

 

There is now a highly touted Town Hall meeting scheduled for Thursday, April 17th at the American Legion Civic Center. This would be a wonderful opportunity for village president DiMaria and the elected Trustees, (whose job, should they choose to do it), is to set policy and pass legislation to govern Morton Grove.

You folks have been reelected… it is time to stop mouthing meaningless platitudes and actually show some leadership.

Promises made, promises kept?

The DiMaria administration claims many things as as fact.

What they have provided are either unsupported statements, or at best half-truths which they  apparently believe that the voters of Morton Grove cannot see the difference between overblown empty promises and the reality of this administration’s failure.

-Four years ago, the DiMaria administration promised a revitalized economy increasing sales tax receipts.

What the DiMaria administration has delivered is higher cost of government and a continued stagnant business tax base.

-Four years ago, the DiMaria administration promised more and better senior services.
What the DiMaria administration has delivered is reduced, or in some cases, eliminated senior programs.

-Four years ago, the DiMaria administration promised a revitalization of the area around the Metra station with shpping and other amenities. They were going to make a Morton Grove version of Edison Park.

What the DiMaria administration has delivered is a Metra station that is not advertised or promoted. There are no new businesses or amenities around the station and the area more closely resembles the Englewood neighborhood on Chicago’s south side rather than Edison Park.

-Four years ago, the DiMaria administration promised that they would move Morton Grove forward. Great sums of money, your money, was spent to hire outside consultants to create a village ‘brand’ and create business. An economic development officer was hired to address the “numerous” large parcels of land in the Village’s “Land Bank.

What has the DiMaria administration delivered? Take a stroll around town and look at the empty retail buildings and storefronts. These vacant properties generate zero sales tax revenue. The corner of Dempster and Waukegan is one of the most heavily traveled in this state and it’s corners sits there undeveloped and under performing. The industrial strip along Austin is a ghost town.

-Four years ago, the DiMaria administration promised that they would maintain village services while keeping your taxes low.

What has the DiMaria administration delivered? Fines and fees have increased with no appreciable commensurate increase in services. The DiMaria administration has certainly increased Village employees…we have certainly staffed up and created more office space for them. What has the increase in staff done to make things better?

-Four years ago, the DiMaria administration promised to address the crisis facing the funding of our police and fire departments.

What has the DiMaria administration delivered? The Police and Fire Pension funds are owed over $20 Million dollars. Where is this money going to come from? Without a business tax base the homeowners are the sole funding source. Right now the 5000 households owe $4000 each to this fund just to catch up!

-Four years ago, the DiMaria administration said that we were in dire need of a new police station because the current station was outmoded and presented a safety hazard to the residents of the neighborhood. Once more, the village went into the real estate market and purchased a manufacturing property on Lehigh for the purpose of moving the police into a new facility.

What has the DiMaria administration delivered? A vacant building on Lehigh and no solid plan made public as to when, (or if), the new police facility will happen, and, if it does, how it will be paid for?

– Four years ago, the DiMaria administration promised openness and transparency.

What has the DiMaria adminstration delivered? A Chicago style ‘political boss’ version of government has done little to nothing to stimulate business or improve Village finances. A use of village resources, (like the newsletter, village web site and village-wide mailings), as political propaganda to promote Village president DiMaria.

What has the DiMaria administration NOT delivered? There is no major food market within the village limits. There is a shopping center on the 3rd busiest corner

 in Illinois going to ruin, even though the ownership was eager to reach a redevelopment agreement. There is a loss of the sense of community that up until 4 years ago had Morton Grove as one of the top 10 places to live in Illinois.

 

Has the DiMaria administration told the truth? Perhaps only half of it, and, as Benjamin Franklin said in Poor Richard’s Almanack; “Half the truth is often a great lie.”

Next Tuesday, April 4th, is the election that will determine the future of YOUR Morton Grove.
Perhaps you need to ask yourself a question before you vote this time; “Are you and Morton Grove better off now than you were 4 years ago?”