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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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


DP Budget Wins National Award

“The City of Des Plaines is very proud to be the recipient of the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award.  It is indicative of the quality and professionalism of our Finance Department team under the leadership of Director Dorothy Wisniewski.  To have earned this award in consecutive years is commendable,” Des Plaines City Manager Michael Bartholomew said.

The award represents a significant achievement by the entity.  It reflects the commitment of the governing body and staff to meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting. In order to receive the budget award, the entity had to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation. These guidelines are designed to assess how well an entity's budget serves as:

  • a policy document
  • a financial plan
  • an operations guide
  • a communications device

Budget documents must be rated "proficient" in all four categories, and the fourteen mandatory criteria within those categories, to receive the award.

1,289 entities received the award for budgets including fiscal period 2010.  According to a GFOA correspondence, “Award recipients have pioneered efforts to improve the quality of budgeting and provide an excellent example for other governments throughout North America.”

The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) recently announced that the City of Des Plaines was the recipient of the “Distinguished Budget Presentation Award” for its budget document. Dorothy Wisniewski, Director of the Finance for the City of Des Plaines, was identified as being primarily responsible for having achieved the award. 


2012 Local Election Results

If you live in the 3rd Ward and made it to the polls you've seen these names on your ballot.  Here are the [semi]final results:

US Congress - District 9

Jan Schakowsky (D)  -  184,850 votes  -  66.1%
Timothy Wolfe (R)  -  94,798 votes  -  33.9%

Illinois Senate - District 28

Dan Kotowski (D)  -  44,440 votes  -  57.4%

Jim O'Donnell (R)  -  33,048  -  42.6%

Illinois House - District 55

Martin Moylan (D)  -  20,498 votes  -  53.3%
Susan Sweeney (R)  -  17,957 votes  -  46.7%

For a complete listing check out these resources:

Chicago Tribune
Cook County Clerk


You Can Attend Budget Hearings! 

This week, we'll be kicking off the 2013 budget process.  I wanted to remind all residents and taxpayers that these are public meetings that you may attend live or watch on the DP public access channel.

Take a look at the draft budget and visit this week: 

Wednesday, October 17th - 7pm - City Hall - General Fund Discussion
Thursday, October 18th - 7pm - City Hall - Non-General Fund

New Ward Map - Changes in 3rd Ward

Every 10 years the census is conducted and the complexion of our city changes.  During our last census, the 1st and 2nd Wards gained population while the 3rd Ward maintained its population.  This shift needed to be addressed before the next April election so that we can comply with the Warren Court decisions from the 1960s.  The courts decided that the population of districts must be largely equal.  

While I understand the need to make a few map changes, it is always hard to transition.  Know that I worked with my fellow aldermen to make shifts that were as non-obtrusive as possible.  To those new 3rd Ward residents east of 1st Ave, welcome! To those former 3rd Ward residents west of Mt. Prospect Rd, know that neither my phone number nor my email address has changed so please never hesitate to reach out.   

Here is a quick look at the new 3rd Ward: View City Ward Map


BGA Special Investigation: Public Debt Crisis Hits Home Town, Illinois

Des Plaines, Evanston, and Oak Park were featured in a special BGA investigation on municipal debt and how different cities are coping.  Barbara Rose, the reporter conducting most of the research, was quite interested in the recent local battle over my resolutuion to protect casino revnue for debt and infrastructure investment

Of the 10 casinos in the State, I'm proud to have lead and passed the only resultion like it.  We need to continue to lead by example.  

"We need to be able to support essential city services without casino revenue," said Ald. Matthew Bogusz, chairman of the Finance Committee. "Relying on this casino revenue is like gambling itself."

Read the complete report.