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
May232012

Flooding Study Available Online

Executive Summary
As requested by the City of Des Plaines (City), this drainage report was prepared by Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd. (CBBEL) to summarize the analysis of three study areas within the City: Area 1 - Prairie Avenue and First Avenue, Area 2 - Southeast Place and Grant Drive, and Area 3 - Forest Avenue at Earl Avenue, 4th Avenue, and Cindy Lane. Each of the three study areas experienced flooding during the July 23, 2011 storm event...

Read the complete report

Monday
May212012

River Trail Bike Ride - Saturday, June 2

Last year’s bike ride following the ribbon cutting for the grand opening of the Des Plaines River Trail met with such success that Des Plaines Mayor Martin J. Moylan, in conjunction with the Des Plaines Police Department, decided to do it again!  Everyone who rides a bike is invited to attend the 2nd Annual Des Plaines River Trail Bike Ride, which will get underway at 9 AM, Saturday, June 2, 2012, at the Public Works Garage Facility, 1111 Joseph J. Schwab (Campground) Road, one block east of River Road, off Algonquin Road.

Registration for the free ride, which will be appropriate for all levels of bicyclists, will take place beginning at 8 AM at the Public Works facility.  Registration forms and a bike ride map are available at www.desplaines.org/rivertrailbikeride. Registration forms must be returned to the Police Department or brought to the ride.  All bicyclists are required to wear a helmet and sign a waiver.  Representatives of Advocate Lutheran General Hospital will sell bike helmets for $10.  The course is approximately 9 miles.

Additional sponsors and contributors to date include the Journal and Topics Newspapers, the Des Plaines Park District, Holy Family Medical Center including Advanced Occupational Health , Karas Management, Alexian Reference Laboratory, WJMK-FM / 104.3 K-HITS which will provide entertainment from 10:15 AM – 12:15 PM, and Fifth Third Bank, which will supply an adult ( a  TREK 7000 hybrid) and child’s bicycle (TREK JET 20) from Village Cycle Sport for a contest for ride participants. The contest will be held at the cookout and winners must be present.  Fifth Third Bank will also be providing ice cream, refreshment and various other hand outs.

Des Plaines Police personnel will escort bicyclists along the family friendly bike trail ride which will be approximately 9 miles and will conclude with a free cookout lunch at the Public Works facility where the ride began. 

According to Mayor Martin J. Moylan, last year’s bike ride, held to commemorate the opening of the improved Des Plaines River Trail, met with such success that he and the Des Plaines Police Department opted to do it again:  “We invite families, individuals, and kids of all ages to come out and spend the morning experiencing bicycling along the scenic Des Plaines River Trail. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to experience nature, have fun, and celebrate the community of Des Plaines,” Mayor Moylan said.     

Last year’s ride marked the culmination of a 3-year effort by the City of Des Plaines to improve the Des Plaines River Trail. The project consisted of improving 2.8 miles of the existing Des Plaines River Trail with stone surface, construction of new trail along the north side of Ballard Road, safety features and new signage.  The project was funded in part through a Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program grant awarded to the City in 2008.  The trail improvements were conducted in coordination with the Forest Preserve District of Cook County which owns the trail and surrounding Forest Preserves. 

For additional information on the Des Plaines River Trail Bike Ride contact Officer Colin Johnson at 847-391-5410.

Sunday
Apr082012

Help Scout Troop 160 - Buy Mulch!

Boy Scout Troop 160 is holding a mulch fundraiser.  They have 5 colors of mulch at reasonable prices.

$3.50 per bag if picked up at St. Zachary's on 4/28
$4.00 per bag delivered to your house

To learn more, order, and pay for your mulch visit: www.troop160.nwsc.org/mulch/

Wednesday
Apr042012

Pancakes For Life!

Support the American Cancer Society as they prepare for their 2012 Des Plaines / Park Ridge Relay for Life.

Saturday, May 5th  |  8 - 11AM
Trinity Lutheran Church  |  675 E Algonquin Rd.
Des Plaines, IL 60016

Cost: $10 per adult, $5 per child (age 12 and under), $30 for family of 5 or more. 

Print the flyer to share with friends. 

Sunday
Apr012012

Wed. April 11th - DP 101 Ward Meeting at JB Metal Works

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Details
Date & Time: Wednesday, April 11th - 7pm
Location: JB Metal Works - 1325 Lee Street
Parking: Silver Stallion - 1275 Lee Street

Please park at the Silver Stallion and meet at JB Metal Works by 7pm.  After a tour and Q&A session, we will head over to the Silver Stallion for a cup of coffee and traditional ward meeting conversation. 

Background
Over the last three years, Third Ward residents have enjoyed attending Des Plaines 101 ward meetings.  Our Economic & Community Development Department walked us through our zoning code.  Streets and sewers kept us busy during a presentation by the Engineering Department.  West Park's padded floors came in handy when the DP Police taught us self defense.  Fire Station #1 hosted a tour of the department and a first aid demonstration.  With all those experiences under our belt, I thought our next DP101 event should focus on some of our community's most unique businesses. 

JB Metal Works

Founded in 1937, JB Metal Works, Inc. has been producing handcrafted wrought iron products and metalwork for local industries and residents for 75 years. The ring of the anvil can still be heard while skilled blacksmiths practice their craft, forming iron as has been done for centuries.  Using a variety of metal working machinery employees fabricate custom metal work for industrial clients throughout the Chicago area.

Thursday
Mar292012

Update: Gaming Tax Revenue & Expenditure Policy, Out of Committee

No one said this job was going to be easy.  

Tonight proved to be quite the challenge.  The major disagreement stemmed from my claim that we need to codify the Council's direction on casino revenue.  The acting city manager said it best: we have a chance to clearly articulate our policy on casino revenue while demonstrating consistency and clarity to our residential and commercial constituents.

Alderman Wilson, Robinson, and I argued in favor of a long term plan for gaming tax revenue, directing it towards debt and infrastructure.  With two of three committee votes, Alderman Wilson and I passed this measure on to the full City Council for consideration.  

I'm proud to move this measure forward, but the work isn't complete.  We'll see it back on the full Council agenda Monday, June 4th.  Thanks to the residents who attended and spoke up.  More to come. 

Monday
Mar262012

Memo: Ald. Bogusz Proposes Gaming Tax Revenue & Expenditure Policy

 

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Background: In July of 2011, Rivers Casino began operations in the City of Des Plaines.  A portion of gross revenues generated by the casino are collected in the form of Wagering Tax (5% of Gross Receipts) and Admissions Tax ($1 per person); these revenues are then remitted to the City’s newly formed Gaming Tax Fund. 

In an effort to win the tenth and final gaming license, the City of Des Plaines entered into a Business Development Agreement (BDA) with the Illinois Gaming Board.  This agreement stipulated that Des Plaines pay $10,000,000 to the State of Illinois and 40% of remaining gaming tax revenues to designated revenue sharing communities.  Alderman Bogusz said, “This agreement guaranteed 30 years of revenue to the State and sharing communities, placing all risk on Des Plaines.  Mayor Moylan knows this and is working hard to represent our interests in Springfield.”  

Illustration: The City of Des Plaines’ portion of gaming revenue is most vulnerable to declining gross receipts. By way of comparison, the State’s highest grossing casino – Elgin’s Grand Victoria Casino – peaked at $436MM in 2007 when there were only nine active casinos.

Issue:  There is no financial policy in place to handle these new revenues.  Without one, revenue can be used to supplement the city’s operating budget and fund pet projects.  “Casino revenue should not be allowed to pay for essential city services as it’s not a dependable revenue source.  Funding city salaries or pet projects with this revenue would be reckless and the opposite of what neighbors want from the casino.” said Alderman Bogusz.  Year-over-year, historical data from comparable communities suggests a 40-70% swing is common in revenue to the municipality.

“To help demonstrate, take a look at ten years of history from some of our State’s comparable casinos.  If you apply the BDA that we’ve been made to operate under ($10MM to Illinois and 40% to sharing communities) you can see dramatic volatility in year-over-year municipal revenue despite the economic conditions.”

Proposal:  On Thursday, March 29th, the Finance & Administration Committee will review a proposed Gaming Tax Revenue and Expenditure Policy that will:

  • Demonstrate fiscal responsibility to the taxpayers of Des Plaines
  • Promote significant investments in infrastructure and begin to eliminate burdensome debt
  • Prevent fuzzy accounting and eliminate the possibility for misuse
  • Provide Council policy direction to City Staff as they begin the 2013 budget process
  • Insulate Casino Revenue from pet projects and short-term spending
  • Allow the Gaming Tax Fund to function apart from support of the General Fund
  • Defend the City’s gaming revenue from downstate political forces
  • Protect the integrity of the General Fund Reserve
  • Enhance the City’s standing during regular credit rating adjustments

“Following the 2012 budget process, I brought this concept to staff.  Since then, I’ve worked with our dedicated City Manager (acting), Finance Director, Finance & Administration committee member, and 3rd Ward Residents to develop this Gaming Tax Revenue and Expenditure Policy.”

“The burden of this Casino was placed on the taxpayers of Des Plaines.  We must demonstrate that we’re investing these new dollars wisely.  Infrastructure like flooding mitigation, sidewalks, streets, and sewers enhance the value of our city and return that value back to the taxpayers.  The elimination of debt accumulated in years past helps to mitigate risk while keeping taxes low.”

“Let’s get off on the right foot before the first casino dollar is spent.  Des Plaines should never be forced to make a personnel or essential city service decision based on how hot the craps tables have been.  If we let these dollars go straight to the General Fund without a plan, we’d be throwing the dice.” 

“Mayor Moylan is working hard to protect our City’s interests in Springfield and I’m fighting to protect those revenues back home.”  

 

Saturday
Mar102012

Senior Citizen Tax Exemption

Just a quick note to help seniors keep your taxes low.  If you have a family member, friend, or neighbor who is a senior please share this Senior Citizen Exemption information.   

Download the exemption form here.  

Eligibility Requirements

  1. You must be 65 years of age or older during the tax year for which you are applying;
  2. You must either own the property or have a lease or contract which makes you responsible for the real estate taxes; and
  3. The property must be your principal residence. If you have moved or plan to move in the future, you may be entitled to a prorated Senior Citizen Exemption, based on the time of occupancy.

To apply for a prorated Senior Citizen Exemption you must submit:

  • A Senior Citizen Exemption Application Form
  • A closing or settlement statement
  • Copy of a recent property tax bill
  • Copy of proof of age and residency

Questions about the exemption? Call the Cook County Assessor's  taxpayer services department: (312) 443-7550. 

Friday
Feb172012

Video - NBC 5 Chicago: Family Meets Life-Saving [Des Plaines] Firefighters

Spot aired on Feb 16, 2012, 10:00pm news.

Monday
Feb062012

Huge 5% Tax Increase Avoided - Working To Fix Yesterday's Problems

Tonight's meeting was filled with high stakes decisions.  The biggest - TIF #6 began as an exciting hotel development and wound up stuck in a legal and financial mess for years.  One of the first moves we made three years ago was to refinance the bond debt of ~$10MM to buy us some time.  Since then, we went out for an RFP to find a developer who could turn this liability into an asset for the city.  Put in simple terms, if we did nothing...we would be forced to increase taxes by 5% next year or cut deep into city services (ballpark: $220k revenue per 1% property tax increase) in order to find the $1,125,000 in debt payments.  This pain would ratchet up annually, making future budgets bleak.  The time for action was now.  

If we did nothing, we'd be $19MM in the hole by 2025.  Conservative estimates suggest the approved project and it's 5 revenue sources (property, sales, parking, hotel, & food/bev tax) will produce something between $14-21MM by 2025...that's potentially a +$40MM swing.  This is a huge win for taxpayers.  

I'm excited to be a part of this positive momentum that's changing the way DP does business.   More to come...