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.


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.


New Food Pantry - 3rd Sat. of The Month

Is your family struggling? Could you use a little help with putting food on the table?
Des Plaines is lucky to have a number of community resources ready and willing to help those less fortunate. 
Every third Saturday of the month, The Bridge Community Church in Des Plaines will be providing free groceries for those in need.  Our basement will be converted into a free grocery distribution area. For more information please visit: www.TheBridgeDP.org.

David Cassidy Plays to HUGE Crowd in DP

Did you make it out to the Summer Fling?  It was awesome to see such a huge crowd!  I got a chance to meet Cassidy before he went on stage...


Daily Herald: Des Plaines approves policy for spending casino revenues

By Madhu Krishnamurthy

The Des Plaines City Council Monday night approved guidelines for spending gambling revenues from the Rivers Casino.

The vote was 5-3 to to adopt the policy limiting the use of casino revenues to primarily infrastructure projects and to pay down the city's roughly $62.5 million debt load, a large portion of which was incurred for land purchases in special taxing districts, and infrastructure projects related to improving streets and water mains. The dissenting aldermen — Dick Sayad (4th Ward), Jim Brookman (5th), and Mark Walsten (6th) — said they thought the policy was too restrictive.

The city has received roughly $18.7 million in wagering and admissions tax revenue from the casino since it opened last July through April 2012, according to Finance Director Dorothy Wisniewski.

As part of the deal that landed Des Plaines the 10th and final casino license, the city must pay the state $10 million for the next 30 years, and share 40 percent of the remaining revenues with 10 disadvantaged communities.

On Monday, the city paid roughly $4.7 million to the state — its prorated share of revenues from the time the casino opened on July 15 through Dec. 31 — and distributed checks for a total of $2.5 million to the 10 communities. Des Plaines' share for that period amounts to roughly $3.7 million, which is what will be earmarked for use in 2013.

Des Plaines Mayor Marty Moylan announced the disbursement of casino revenues during a news conference Monday afternoon with five aldermen and city staff present.

Brookman objected to payments being made to the state and other communities without the city council voting on the matter.

“It's clearly improper and I think it possibly could be illegal,” Brookman said. “If the city council does not have to approve expenditure of this kind of money, I think this is a big problem. We put ourselves at serious risk.”

Moylan responded that the state sent Des Plaines a letter asking for its money.

“These towns and the state has been begging for their money,” Moylan said. “It was the only prudent thing to do.”

All eight aldermen agreed infrastructure should be the biggest priority for casino money because it's what residents want.

Sayad said he didn't see the need for a spending policy because the city staff was professional enough to follow the wishes of the council. He wanted the language of the policy to be simplified and the city's finance committee to review it one more time before the council adopted it.

“This is very critical,” Sayad said. “This is the guideline we are going to give our staff to go by.”

Walsten, whose ward is home to the Rivers Casino, said aldermen have been talking about spending casino revenues on infrastructure and debt for years.

“I'm not comfortable with having that tunnel vision,” Walsten said, adding that he would want the flexibility to use casino revenues to provide incentives to developers or for other investments.

“This ties our hands to other creative thinking,” Walsten said. “As long as we keep the gaming fund separate, we can look at it yearly. It would also give us the ability to think outside the box.”

Finance Committee Chairman Matt Bogusz said past city councils haven't always made the best financial decisions as is evidenced by the $40 million in tax increment financing debt the city has incurred over the years betting on future development.

“To me, that $40 million is the product of creative thinking of previous councils,” Bogusz said. “This is not your typical tax revenue. This is an entirely new fund and something that we haven't done before. We will be different from the nine (casino) communities that came before us, and that's OK because they are relying on casino revenues to support essential services.”


Journal Calls for Approval of Bogusz' Proposed Gaming Revenue Resolution

Time to Protect Casino Revenues

Friday, June 1, 2012

No matter what side of the casino equation you’re on – for or against them – as long as Rivers Casino remains highly profitable, millions of new dollars will flow into Des Plaines’ city treasury every year.  How much money depends on how well the “riverboat” operation is run, which by all accounts is very well, and on future action by the state legislature.

Lawmakers are currently in the midst of wrestling with economic issues of epic proportions ranging from pension and Medicaid reform to casino expansion.  We should know in a day or two whether the number of casinos in the state – capped several years ago at 10 – will be increase to as many as 15.  The controversial bill also calls for allowing slot machines at the state’s six horse race tracks. 

Should any part of the bill pass, it will have a profound effect on Rivers Casino’s ability to continue to make a big profit.  Since it’s opening last year, it has regularly been the No. 1 casino in the state profitwise.  Allowing more casinos and slots at race tracks will unquestionably cut into Rivers’ ability to make money and that in turn will cut into Des Plaines’ take of the 5% host community Wagering Tax and $1 per person Admissions Tax.  All indications point to the belief that when the year ends and the city has to pay the state $10 million from casino tax income following by 40% of what’s left to 10 disadvantaged communities, Des Plaines will be left with about $4 million.  Proposed legislation could dramatically alter that formula resulting in a more favorable funding picture for the city or dilute the ability of all 10 casinos to rack up big profits as competition increases.  We’ll have to wait and see what happens. 

For the last year, Des Plaines officials, led by Mayor Marty Moylan and Finance Committee chairman Ald. Matt Bogusz (3d), have been crafting a proposed city policy that would establish firm rules on how that $4 million should be spent starting Jan 1, 2013 and beyond. Because of the instability of casino revenue, such a policy makes sense.  For two years, many aldermen have advocated spending that newfound cash only on “one time” items such as street, sidewalk, and anti-flooding sewer improvements.  Allocating those funds to things like employee salaries and pet projects is too risky, they say.  We agree. 

As reported in this Wednesday’s Des Plaines edition of the Journal & Topics Newspapers and in March, a formal proposal is before aldermen to establish a firm policy earmarking casino money only for specific projects such as infrastructure improvements and paying off the city’s still high debt.  City council will consider this policy at its next regular meeting on Monday, June 4. 

What aldermen have yet to do is engage in a serious public debate on the proposal championed by Bogusz and Moylan and then state clearly their opinions. 

We believe the foundation of the proposal is sound.  Through honest, concentrated debate a good, city policy can be adopted for now and for years to come.  Those currently serving on city council, including the mayor, will all be replaced some day.  Term limits and time guarantee that.  The next city election is in the spring of 2013.  Half of city council could be replaced by then and by 2015, the elected board may have all new faces. 

City leaders need to take the appropriate steps to protect the integrity of future casino revenue and to assume that the city’s financial picture remains sound. 

The time to do so is now.  



RSVP: Trip to Pesche's - June 6th

Following our trip to JB Metal Works, residents suggested a trip to Pesche's for our next Des Plaines 101 event.  Ask and you shall receive!

Since 1924, Pesche's has grown with Des Plaines.  Join us for some history, a complete tour of the expansive facility, "behind the scenes" access, and discussion with owner Chris Pesche.  Following the visit, we will hold our regular 3rd Ward Meeting.  

Monthly 3rd Ward Meeting & Pesche's Visit
Wednesday, June 6th (FIRST Wednesday this month!)
7pm - Pesche's Flowers - 170 S River Road