Saturday, September 04, 2010

Free City Council Health Insurance must end in 2011

When I ran for City Council in 2009 I pledged to vote on removing free health insurance offered to the City Council. November 2nd, 2009 I brought this matter up during our budget discussion on a way to reduce the cost of government. (originally wrote in blog Nov. 2009)

State law does not allow benefits to be changed (lowered or raised) during the full term of a elected official. We can however change the code so all elected officials stop receiving FREE health insurance elected in 2011 and beyond.

The best practice for Council/Managerial 32,000 population towns like ourselves is clearly and obviously no health insurance benefits to City Councils.

Since this policy was enacted some 30+ years ago, health costs have skyrocketed. With the challenges of the current economic climate we need be clear and conservative on any spending. As we streamline government, Health Insurance for the Council should be first to go in our budget process for 2011 and will save us MILLIONS. The City Council must change the code now to inform candidates of the 2011 race what their benefits will be during their term as Mayor or Councilman. We must control government costs and the City Council can't be immune as we reduce expenditures and do what is right for our community.

Currently an ordinance to continue the practice of FREE COUNCIL HEATH INSURANCE for FOUR more years will be discussed at our September 13th meeting and I would like the public to weigh in on this issue and help me convince the Council to end this practice.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Labor Day and the American Dream

Reflection of the Labor Day holiday and the great strides our workers have made over the many decades of the 20th century has given us the strong America we all enjoy today. Most of us that are retired or getting close to retirement have been able to raise a family in our own home, have a car, get a decent pension, and live the American dream.

For younger folks this might not be as attainable if we all don't work together to upright the American business, government, and labor model in the near future. There is not the availability of money that is needed to fuel the old or current ways. Bankruptcy, foreclosure, and job loss is becoming way to normal.

All of us in business, government, and the labor movement must work together to reduce the cost of everything within our control. We must all sacrifice some of the good life to do accomplish what we need to do.

Instead of raising prices, taxes, salaries, and benefits, we must reduce all these numbers to make ends meet. Reflecting on labor day and continuing the dream means that workers too in our governments that are making up to $225,000 per year (not including benefits) must take some of this responsibility. We can still live the American Dream with less and be able to preserve it for our children.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

September 2010 Round Up

Mayor Geraci's OP-Ed Article on Inflated salaries, bonuses & Pensions in public sector at taxpayer's expense. - Mayor Geraci hits the nail on the head here!

Since the beginning of 2010, the Prescription Pill Drug Disposal (P2D2) program has successfully provided medication disposal services at two Highland Park locations (police station and North Shore Health Center). Recently, 386 pounds of discarded medication were destroyed. To date this year, the City has collected and properly disposed of 586 pounds of prescription medication as a result of this program. Lake Forest and Lake Bluff have recently instituted similar programs within their communities and the Police Department has been contacted by several other agencies that have expressed interest in the program as well.

Our current biweekly payroll system that is based on a 364 salaried year has cost our city an extra 700 thousand dollars over our posted payroll passed in our annual budgets. We have asked staff to look at a semi-monthly payroll system to recover this money going forward. Staff will be getting back to us on the cost of software and legal challenges to get this done. I brought this up last January and am hoping implementation soon.

Passed a set of City Council protocols that lays out how we are suppose to deal with staff and the public. I have always opposed this resolution since it is elementary (I already took the boy scout oath) and also attempts to hogties Councilman from using all options available to represent our citizens, whom are the only ones we are accountable too.

Approval of new trail along County Line Road from the Botanic Garden East through Braeside.

Passed our Sustainability Master Plan and will now turn to looking to hire a sustainability advocate to create efficiencies and sustainable government..... SAVE MONEY

Ravinia underpass at West gate was approved and will be ready for the 2011 season.

SWALCO Household Chemical Mobile Event in Lake Forest Sept 25th

I want to let you know that on Saturday, September 25, 2010, SWALCO (Solid Waste Agency of Lake County) will be holding a Household Chemical Waste Mobile Collection event at the Lake Forest Municipal Services Center, 800 N. Field Drive from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. No appointment is necessary. The collection events is for Illinois residents ONLY and is FREE. You do not need to be a resident of the community in order to participate.

Materials ACCEPTED at HCW Collections:

  • Aerosol Products
  • Antifreeze
  • Asbestos
  • Batteries: Rechargeable (NI-CAD), Lithium and Metal Hydride Batteries (NO ALKALINE or LEAD-ACID)
  • Drain Cleaners
  • Driveway Sealers
  • Fertilizers, Herbicides
  • Fluorescent Lights and CFL's (compact fluorescent bulbs)
  • Fungicides
  • Furniture Strippers and Varnishes
  • Garden and Lawn Chemicals
  • Gasoline
  • Hobby Chemicals
  • Household Cleaners
  • Insecticides and Pesticides
  • Mercury (including thermometers and thermostats)
  • Metal Polishes
  • Motor Oil
  • Oil-based Paints
  • Paint Removers
  • Pool Chemicals
  • Prescription Drugs (for People and Pets), Over-the Counter Medicines and Supplements (NO DEA CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES - see below)
  • Personal Care Products (including cosmetics, skin-care products, shampoos, nail polish and remover, etc.)
  • Solvents

The following materials are NOT ACCEPTED at HCW Collections:

  • Agricultural Chemicals
  • Alkaline Batteries
  • Business or Institutional Wastes
  • DEA Controlled Substances (click for list at DEA site)
  • Explosives and Ammunition
  • Fire Extinguishers
  • Fireworks
  • Household Electronics
  • Latex Paint
  • Lead-acid Batteries
  • Propane Tanks
  • Medical Wastes
  • Sharps/Needles
  • Smoke Detectors
  • Tires

If you have questions regarding items that are accepted, please contact SWALCO at 847-336-9340

Please also check our recycling guidelines for home curbside pickup and plastic bag (film) dropoffs at grocery stores