Welcome to 3rdWard.org, a website dedicated to communication and transparency between Des Plaines City Government and you. This website, maintained by 3rd Ward Alderman Denise Rodd, is designed to keep neighbors engaged in their community and informed about issues.

Wednesday
Sep042013

Third Ward to Tour EOC on Sept. 11

The monthly 3rd Ward meeting will take place on Wednesday, September 11, 2013 at the Des Plaines City Hall where residents will be given a tour of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) managed by our Des Plaines Police Department. Officer John Pluta of the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency division will conduct the tour.

Residents will meet in front of the 9/11 Memorial sculpture located in front of the City Hall plaza, between the City Hall and Police Department. We'll gather for a moment of silence at 7:00 pm, and then proceed into City Hall for the tour.

Sunday
Aug112013

Finance Director Presents PAFR at August Ward Meeting

Des Plaines Finance Director, Dorothy Wisniewski, presented the Popular Annual Finance Report (PAFR) to 3rd Ward residents at the montly Ward meeting. This report summarizes Des Plaines' revenues and expenditures for the 2012 fiscal year in a "user friendly" format.

For the first time, the City of Des Plaines is participating in the Government Finance Officers Association PAFR award program this year. If you aren't able to attend the meeting, you can download a copy of the PAFR from the City's website. The minutes from the meeting are now available.

Monday
Jul152013

Minutes Posted from June/July

Thanks to our volunteer note taker, 3rd Ward meeting minutes are now available from the June and July meetings. Even if you attended the meetings, take a look at the minutes for follow up to questions.

A special thanks to Police Chief Bill Kushner for spending time with us at our June meeting. Residents left the meeting feeling very proud of our new Chief and the work he is doing in the Police Department.

Tuesday
Jul092013

Foxes Sighted in 3rd Ward

According to Animal Control Officer Jeff Paul, there are several fox families in Des Plaines and the 3rd Ward has the most that he knows about. Foxes are actually great neighbors as they control the populations of mice, squirrels and rabbits where they live. They are instinctively afraid of people, which is important to theirs and our safety. They should never be fed or approached - keep a respectful distance. Foxes are protected by State law, so they must not be trapped or relocated.

For more information about living with foxes in your neighborhood, read the article "I Have a Fox in My Yard/Neighborhood" by the Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation center in Barrington. Also, we'll have a discussion about foxes and other wildlife at the 3rd Ward meeting on July 10, 2013 at 7pm at Prairie Lakes.

Tuesday
Jun112013

Read the Summer Newsletter!

The new issue of the 3rd Ward newsletter, Ward R3PORT, is now online. Grab your tablet, and head outside for some summer reading. Download the Summer 2013 issue.

Saturday
Jun012013

3rd Ward Meeting Rescheduled Due to Weather

Please join us for our rescheduled 3rd Ward Meeting on Wednesday, June 26 where Police Chief Kushner will be our guest. He will be available to answer all your questions. If you cannot make the meeting and would like to submit questions ahead of time, email denise@3rdWard.org or post them on www.Facebook.com/DP3rdWard.

Tuesday
May072013

OK, Let's Go!

Last night I was sworn in, and am now preparing for the next 3rd Ward meeting. Please join me and Fire Chief Alan Wax on Wednesday, May 8 at 7:00 p.m. Chief Wax will show a presentation of the April 18 flood event.

Saturday
Apr272013

New Look, Same Service

Mayor-elect, Matt Bogusz, has turned over the keys to the 3rdWard.org website to me. Bear with me as I navigate around the website and make a few changes. I've already started researching a story for the Ward R3PORT online newsletter. Our monthly 3rd Ward meeting will take place on May 8 at 7 p.m. at Prairie Lakes. Be sure to tune in to Channel 17 (Comcast and WOW!), watch online, or come in person to the City Council meeting on May 6 at 7 p.m. to see the Mayor and Aldermen from Wards 1, 3, 5 and 7 sworn in.

Monday
Feb252013

Action Alert: Help Me Fight Local Tax Increases & Protect Our Revenue from the State

The Illinois House of Representatives is poised to take final action on Senate Bill 622 as early as next week.

If passed, SB622 would divert $6.6 million from the Local Government Tax Fund (this fund has been called a number of things, including the Local Government Distributative Fund or LGDF) to cover a shortfall in the Illinois State Medical Disciplinary Fund.  In other words, instead of allowing local sales tax revenue to go back to the cities that generate it, the State of Illinois is diverting funds to fix their own budget issues. 

This bill represents a dangerous and constant threat to local government revenue. (see the botom of this post for some history on the issue)  The City of Des Plaines generates sales tax revenue and it should be spent on streets, sewers, and sidewalks right here in Des Plaines.  The State should not use our local revenue to mend their budget. 

I have continued to fight to protect local government revenue from the State.  The alternative is just not acceptable - we will not raise local taxes to pay for the State's budget problems.   

This issue continues to surface in Springfield.  Here's what I had to say in 2011:

 

Additional background from the 3rdWard.org archives:

Help Me Fight Local Tax Increases - March 27th, 2011

Local Taxes Update, It's a Must Read - May 1, 2011

Wednesday
Nov142012

Des Plaines Is Fiscally Sound, Dramatic Break From Past

City of Des Plaines Budget Health Check – 2013 Budget Year

I was recently asked a simple question that didn’t have a simple answer: “How can I learn more about our city’s budget?”  Attending marathon meetings, downloading huge files off the city website, or combing through the 451 page budget might be a start but that isn’t fair to taxpayers.  After all, the people funding the budget – you and I – shouldn’t need to invest hours to understand how our city is performing.  

At our last monthly 3rd Ward Meeting, I shared a draft Budget Health Check with neighbors.  The following datasets and brief descriptions were built following that ward meeting and are designed to translate the confusing budget process for all taxpayers to understand.  Please spend a few minutes drawing your own conclusions.  I think you’ll find that:

  • We have far less debt: down from $102 million high in 2005 to $58 million in 2012
  • Savings are up: from a dangerous low of 2% to a healthy 42% of annual operating
  • The property tax levy has not increased in three year

In 2003, Moody’s – an independent credit rating agency – saw the city’s rapid debt accumulation as a risk and downgraded our credit rating.   We regained our strong A2 credit rating in 2010 after retiring & refinancing bond debt.  Identifying other relief points will ensure that we maintain our credit rating, save on interest, and invest today’s capital projects dollars in today’s projects. 

 

In 2008, Des Plaines had no savings, record debt, and a poor credit rating.  When Cook County was slow to remit property taxes to municipalities, we were forced to secure a short-term loan to make payroll.  Since then, we have made significant operational adjustments to start building back our savings while retiring debt.  A healthy and appropriate Unassigned Fund Balance will protect us from the unexpected, allow for rapid debt reduction, and promote investments in infrastructure like roads, sidewalks, and sewers.   

 

I’m proud to say that this council has paid down debt and built a savings account without increasing the property tax levy.  In the ten years before 2009, taxpayers felt an average annual increase of 3.7% with some years over 5%.   This combination of debt, savings, and tax levy proves that aggressive action can stabilize city finances. 

I hope you found this Budget Health Check helpful.  Please reach out if you have any specific questions or feedback: Matt@3rdWard.org or 847-514-6318