Saturday, July 31, 2010

Keep Politics out of our Council/Commission Governance

Commission members for the City of Highland Park should not be asked if they will endorse a Candidate for Mayor or the City Council. Commissioners should be appointed on their merits and abilities to contribute to policy rather on than being politically committed to the Mayor or Councilman.

As the City Council has talked about protocols designed for the City Council and our Commissions to be ethically clear of interests that might be interpreted as influential decision making, I would ask us politicians not ask Commissioners to politically endorse any member that runs for political office in the City of Highland Park.

By enacting this protocol, Commissioners would not feel obligated to endorse incumbents because of a concern they might not be re-appointed to the commission or not be considered for Chairman. These appointments should be solely based on merit and not politics.

There is plenty of politics going on in Highland Park as candidates will be spending between $20,000 to $100,000 in the 2011 races to get their positions out to the citizens. There is every reason to keep politics away from our Commission system and let our appointed citizens make their recommendations on the facts of petitions and not allow politics to cast a influential shadow on their work.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Who needs Government?

With all the stress and skyrocketing costs of government, one might think we should just leave everybody alone and stay out of your life.
In Tisch Mills they must think so!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

NEW Volume Based Garbage Deal

Last night the City Council okayed a new 5 year contract with Veolia for our Residential Volume Based "Pay as you throw" program. Residents need to understand changes in Options and Pricing so watch for the mailed survey and information in the upcoming Highlander.

Our first Volume based contract was negotiated over 8 years ago and because of its great success in getting residents to use stickers and producing the highest recycling rate in Lake County, Veolia stated that they had been loosing large sums of money monthly on the existing contract. To continue a low cost sticker Volume Based system we needed to charge a minimum $60/year ($5/Mo.)base service fee to all households in this new contract to cover some costs of operations. In exchange for that reliable fee we were able to get the sticker price lowered to $2.35 from the current price of $2.84.

Also, along with most other communities in the nation, we are moving our garbage curbside to allow automated truck systems to operate in a more sustainable fashion. We will be getting all new Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles and free carts for refuse and recycling. Promotion of these CNG trucks reduces our reliance on oil and imported fuels. As a matter of fact our entire Volume Based Program will promote reduction of waste, increasing of recyclable products, and a much reduced carbon footprint of our entire refuse system.

Current rear door/top of drive will still be offered during this 5 year contract at a cost of $15/month add on but I suggest you wheel it down to the curb for the best rates.

Change is never easy and there is always reasons not to move forward, but I am proud of Highland Park being a leader in sustainability and doing what is right for us and our world.

Friday, July 23, 2010

July 2010 Round Up

1. Authorized reconstruction for Orchard Lane to a tune of $658,033.00. Along with reconstruction of the street we will be putting in a bike lane and a new water main.

2. On Pleasant Avenue we will be upgrading the storm sewers at a cost of $445,099.

3. We accepted the water distribution Master Plan that has called out millions of dollars of needed upgrades over the next decade. We need to really address this infrastructure so we don't have increasing failures in our water system.

4. Discussed the continuation of the Special Service Area that funds the Downtown Business Alliance which includes the Association of Property Owners, Chamber of Commerce, and members of the City of Highland Park. It is important we keep a close eye on our downtown and the revenues it can produce for the community.

5. Presentation of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the Fiscal year Ended Dec. 31, 2009. See this report, our budget, and all you ever wanted to know about our finances.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Independence Day Spirit

Riding down Central in the parade and viewing the many Highland Park families that attended demonstrates the great national and community acknowledgement to the values that created our country.

What strikes deep in my heart during these times of economic stress is the need for government to lighten up on the citizens. We need to constantly bring back that revolutionary spirit that slaps complacency and pushes back big government. Burdening our citizens with unsustainable public pensions and robust programs that can be trimmed can't continue. We must not lose steam in creating sustainable government.

We must demand immediate reinvention and priority on the REAL needs of our community. Consolidated government, reduced costs, and networking across our municipal boundaries for efficiencies will produce great results.

Municipalities, School Districts, and Townships need to evaluate solutions together to reduce administrations and create efficient programs that serve the people at reduced costs.

The spirit of 1776 lives within us still and can liberate us from the burdens that we face today if we are willing to change.