BPS Health Insurance Plans

Tonight’s School Board meeting agenda includes approval of their health insurance contract. A screenshot from the agenda of their plan numbers with dollar amounts added for the % contributions and the deductibles can be found here.

Is this what your health insurance plan looks like? Do you have a $625 deductible? If you think this is overly generous, please email the school board and ask them to bring their benefits in line with the private sector and reduce your taxes. You can email them using the button at right.

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BPS101 Budget Public Hearing Tonight

The School Board is holding a public hearing for their 2021-22 budget TONIGHT (8/24) 7pm. Excepts of letter sent to School Board by a founding BRG member:

“Another Great budget with lots of specificity and clarity.  Another KUDOs to everyone involved.

One page 6, I assume the predicted inflation for the next year of around 6 % accounts for the expenditure increases below?

l  Expenditures (Sections B-6 and B-7)

l  Expenditures +9.4% to $102.8 M (excluding on-behalf contributions)

l  Salaries +5.4%, $48.6 M

l  Employee benefits +5.1%, $13.1 M

General contingency of $0.5 M….

Although it lists staffing ratio as unchanged, in the very next section it shows a change from 7.6 to 7.9?     ????

Please don’t issue any more Bonds, it’s nice the bond debt is going down.   (7.6 % is debt service now)

Looks like Benefits, 26.6 %, is catching up as a percentage to Salaries, 40.9 %   Any discussion of why the high ratio of Benefits to Salaries???

Having said that, I’m pleased to see Administration costs are being held at 0.3 percent, well below predicted inflation for the next 12 months.  Also, I recognize Admin works year round and whatever the salaries are, including Lisa, Anton, and many others, taxpayers are getting their benefit for the buck.

Pupil transportation is going up because we didn’t run as many buses during COVID?

I see my favorite, BFAC, is going up 188%, even considering last year COVID, we’ll never agree on BFAC budget, having said that, I’d like to see more “Pay as you go” programs with less taxpayer support.

And I LIKE all the pie charts and bar graphs, as well as the numbers, not too fancy, but good visual presentation of information.”

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Dam, Shodeen

Tuesday night’s COW (8/24) will have more discussion of the Shodeen project. Last week, Shodeen had not yet secured funding, but has since done so.  BUT, the bank wants a letter of support from the Council saying he is not in breach of contract, though he is in breach of contract. Some aldermen are balking. We’ll see what happens Tuesday night. A story on last week’s meeting can be found here, and one on the funding, here.

Wednesday night (8/25) there is a public meeting regarding the dam. Info sent to B4RG:

“As you may know, the city and park district will soon seek reaction from residents to five options for removing the Challenge Dam. The city had been working with Hitchcock Design Group to formulate the options but thus far there has been little opportunity for public engagement.

A group of residents has organized a public meeting on the subject this Wednesday, August 25th at 7pm in the City Council Chambers. 

Please feel free to share and join us if you are available.”

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Shodeen: Never Ending Drama

Tuesday night, 8/17, agenda item 6: “ Discussion: Update On One Washington Place”. What does this mean? We don’t know—there is no accompanying document. What we do know is that Shodeen failed to apply for permits by his contracted deadline, July 15.

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Tentative BPS Budget

This Tuesday, 7/20/21, 7pm, Rosalie Jones Admin. Building, the School Board will discuss the budget for the next school year. Public hearing will be in August. Of course, maximum tax increases are proposed. Tentative budget here:  https://go.boarddocs.com/il/bps101/Board.nsf/files/C4WTBS769B06/$file/FY22%20Tentative%20Budget%20Summary.pdf

During public comments, a group of parents will be asking the School Board to make masks and Covid vaccines optional for students (at the discretion of the parents). If you would like to show your support, they’ve asked you to please attend the meeting wearing something red.

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Prairie State, School Budget, Building, and More

City Council and School Board both have items of interest Tuesday, 6/22/21. Both meetings are at 7pm. Please consider writing to one (using the Quick Contact button at right) and attending the other.

City Council COW:

Council will talk about sending a more “forceful” letter to some members of the IL General Assembly and the governor because they seem to have ignored the first one that was sent. They are asking legislators not to pass a law that would mandate renewable energy sources and close down the Prairie State coal-fired power plant where we get 100+% of our electricity while paying off millions of dollars in bonds for construction and operating costs (https://www.cityofbatavia.net/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Item/16670?fileID=12523 )

In another item, Council will consider hitting us with a 2% per year (and maybe more) electric rate increase till 2030, in case the bill passes, so it won’t be an all-at-once shock to us–kind of like the story of the frog in the pot, where if you increase the temperature gradually, the frog does not realize it is being boiled and will not jump out of the pot. It’s scary. Read it for yourself: https://www.cityofbatavia.net/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Item/16671?fileID=12524

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3-4 New Schools? Virtual Q&A Tonight

The Batavia School District is looking to tear down 4 elementary schools and build 3-4 new ones. Enrollment is declining. There are no cost estimates yet. They are having a virtual Q&A tonight (4/26) at 6pm (registration required).

They have a survey available. The questions are vague, undefined, and geared toward positive responses if you answer honestly. Who wouldn’t support “flexible learning spaces”? But does that means not bolting down the desks so they can be moved around, or a new building?

Recommendation: do not finish the survey and send your thoughts directly to the School Board, as there is no room for comments on the survey. The red button at right will take you to the School Board’s Contact page.

Here is more information, including a link to register for tonight’s meeting and the survey:  https://www.bps101.net/boft/

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Local Elections 2021

Tomorrow, April 6, are the 2021 Consolidated Elections. PLEASE VOTE!!! There are only 3 contested races for Batavia residents: City Council Wards 6 and 7 and Waubonsee Community College Board of Trustees. All other offices have candidates running unopposed.

Sample ballots can be found here: https://www.kanecountyclerk.org/Elections

Not sure what ward you live in? Besides looking at your sample ballot, you can find a City ward map and your current aldermen here: https://www.cityofbatavia.net/233/City-Council-Committee-of-the-Whole

Please research the candidates on your own. The few comments provided here should serve only as a start. The Daily Herald has candidate questionnaires available. If you do not have a subscription, you can access the questionnaires online through your Batavia Library account. You may also view the League of Women Voters candidate forum here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_k6wPCuNCs

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$5 Million Shed

Update: In May, the City canceled its contract to buy the building.

The City Council COW approved, by a vote of 8-4, a purchase agreement for a building on Raddant for storing equipment, and will finalize that vote Monday night (3/1), 7:30pm. The building, assessed at $2.975 million, will be purchased for $3.55 million, though the Council intends to pass $5 million in bonds to pay for the building, the build-out, and whatever else they feel like spending the money on. The bond payments will be added directly to your property taxes, about $24.40/yr for 20 yrs for a $300,000 home. 

Here’s the breakdown of the building usage:

24,200 sq ft for the City (Public Works Department)

20,000 sq ft for the Interfaith Food Pantry/Clothes Closet

14,600 sq ft to be rented to the current tenant for $85,000/yr. Note: City Council may decide to NOT put that rent money toward the bond payments to reduce your additional property tax burden. They made it clear they may choose to spend it elsewhere.

Here’s the agenda item: https://www.cityofbatavia.net/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Item/16190?fileID=12239
And the meeting agenda with instructions if you wish to attend the meeting virtually (preregistration required) or in person on Monday, 3/1/21, 7:30pm: https://www.cityofbatavia.net/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_03012021-1690?html=true

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$5 Million Shed???

Item 7 on Tuesday’s Batavia City Council Committee of the Whole Agenda is discussion geared toward purchasing property for $5 million. Bonds would be issued that would be paid with an INCREASE IN PROPERTY TAXES. The agenda document basically says they would like to purchase prime industrial property to store stuff, in other words, to use as a shed. That’s $5 MILLION…for a shed:

“Our Public Works Department works in a cramped environment and stores many pieces of equipment outside in the elements that would have a longer life if we were able to store them indoors…. These space and storage issues have not been brought to Council’s attention because, up to now, the only solution would be to purchase land and build a new facility. The situation does not warrant this at present, and it would not be the best use of the City’s resources to construct such a facility….”

So instead of constructing an inexpensive post frame building (Menards has materials for a 30’ x 40’ x 10’ building for $9300), the City is thinking of spending $5 MILLION PLUS INTEREST of taxpayer money to buy a big building they don’t really need, to use as a storage shed. Not only that, but the property’s assessed value is only $3 million (from Kane County Property Tax Inquiry).

They try to justify the purchase by saying they can let the Food Pantry and Clothes Closet and the Toy Drive use the space too, but the Food Pantry and Clothes Closet already have space the City gives them rent-free, with utilities paid by taxpayers, and the Toy Drive only operates right before Christmas, with private businesses (especially BEI) having stepped up to help after the City demolished the Baptist Church the Toy Drive had used for years.

The cost to the owner of a $300,000 home would start at $24.40 (subject to change with changing home values)/yr, for 20 years!

PLUS, the City would be taking prime industrial property off the tax rolls. Last year that property brought in over $86,000 in property taxes. When there are less properties to pay taxes, the remaining property owners have to make up the difference, meaning your property taxes would go up even more!

PLUS, since Batavia is committed to buying a fixed amount of electricity from its disastrous Prairie State power plant deal, and industrial customers use far more energy than would a storage shed, turning it from industrial use to City use means homeowners would have to pay more in electric bills to cover the cost of the unused electricity.

Let the City Council know what you think of this idea. Contact info here: https://www.cityofbatavia.net/233/City-Council-Committee-of-the-Whole

Please attend the virtual meeting if you can at 7pm Tuesday, 2/2. Agenda with virtual meeting registration info here: https://www.cityofbatavia.net/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_02022021-1677?html=true

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