Monday—Shodeen TIF/Apartments Final Vote

Final vote of the City Council on the TIF District/Shodeen apartments project will be taken MONDAY NIGHT (1/4/21), 7:30pm.

A City Council YES vote for the new TIF District would set construction plans in motion for the massive 6-story apartment complex. A NO vote would end plans for Shodeen’s project, but leave the current TIF districts in place to provide assistance for other projects.

Please let your elected officials know how you would like them to represent you. EMAIL OR CALL YOUR ALDERMEN, CITY COUNCIL, and MAYOR. If you say nothing now, you give up your right to complain later. Continue reading

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Local Elections April 2021

Elections have consequences. Your property taxes are the result of local elections. This is where your property taxes went this past year (rounded):

School District 67%
City 8%
Park District 6%
Waubonsee 6%
Library 5%
Kane County 4%
Forest Preserve 2%
Township 1%
Township Road .5%

chart: Kane County Clerk

School Board

The School Board intends to keep raising your taxes the maximum amount allowed by law every year: by the Consumer Price Index (inflation) or 5%, whichever is less. Even as enrollment is declining, the School Board plans to increase your taxes. You can read the enrollment projections at https://www.bps101.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/FY22-Enrollment-Projection.pdf  and financial projections at https://www.bps101.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/2022-Financial-Forecast.pdf. Quality education does not require raising taxes every year.

Right now, there are 4 candidates for 4 School Board seats, including 2 incumbents (Meadows and Locke). Candidate list at https://kaneapplications.countyofkane.org/ElectionWebsite/en-us/Candidates/List/21/NP). These 4 seats represent a majority that will hold over the next 4 years. If you want to make a change, now is the time. Run for election.

The School Board meets typically once a month, on a Tuesday night, with occasional special meetings as need be. 50 signatures are required for candidates. Candidate packet can be found here: https://www.kanecountyclerk.org/Elections/Documents/School%20Board%20Members%202021.pdf

Filing deadline is 5:00pm Monday (12/21) at the Kane County Clerk’s office in Geneva.

City Council

Are you happy with the City Council? Are you being informed what is going on by your elected representatives? Do you like the direction the City is going? While past actions may be fixed, future decisions are not. There are 7 Wards in Batavia, 2 aldermen per ward, half (+ 1 half term) up for election in 2021. Find your ward here: https://www.cityofbatavia.net/233/City-Council-Committee-of-the-Whole

These were the candidates I heard had filed last week (* denotes incumbent):

*Jennifer Baerren—Ward 1 (4-year)
Christopher Solfa—Ward 1 (2-year)
Leah Leman—Ward 2
*Tony Malay—Ward 4
*Mark Uher—Ward 5
Sarah Vogelsinger—Ward 7 

City Council members meet 1st & 3rd Mondays, for which they get paid $200/meeting. They also meet every Tuesday for the Committee of the Whole. Candidate signature requirements in all but Ward 5 are 20 or less (Ward 5 is 28). Candidate packet with more info can be found at https://www.cityofbatavia.net/DocumentCenter/View/4785/2021-Candidate-Packet?bidId=

Filing deadline is 5:00pm Monday (12/21) at Batavia City Hall.

Other

Other branches of government up for election in April:
Park
Waubonsee
Library
Township/Township Road

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City Budget, Tax Levy, Pay Raises

Update: Everything passed. Aldermen Callahan and Meitzler held firm against the pay raises.

Tonight (12/7) at 7:30pm, The Batavia City Council is set to approve a budget, tax levy, and 2.5% pay raises for non-union employees. Based on last week’s COW, it looks like the budget will increase spending, running a deficit but dipping into reserves to keep the tax rate the same as last year (but if your home’s assessed value went up, your taxes will probably go up too since EAV x rate = taxes).

As for the 2.5% pay raises for non-union employees, several aldermen, especially Callahan, Knopp, and Uher, argued that citizens are hurting, losing jobs, and taking pay cuts because of Covid, and increasing pay right now for City employees is not appropriate. One suggested that pay raises be postponed 6 months and reevaluated then, based on what’s happening with Covid and the economy.

But City Administrator Laura Newman kept pushing incessantly, over and over, for that pay raise NOW (hers included, though she doesn’t say it). The aldermen that were holding out seemed to grow tired and wear down as the meeting passed 10:00pm. They settled on a compromise: cut $150,00 from the budget to cover the pay raises, give the 2.5% pay raises now, reevaluate the cut $150,000 in 6 months to maybe add it back.

Below is a chart of 5 top paid non-union employees (chart includes salary and health insurance, and $6000 car stipend in some cases; NOT included is pension contribution, which can be over $20,000!):

What do you think? Should the Council give them the pay raises? Wait 6 months? Freeze it for the year because they got raises in 2020 while privately employed people lost jobs and faced cuts in pay?

ALDERMEN NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU. If you say nothing, they interpret it as you have given them permission to vote as they want. Really they do.

Agenda with instructions how to attend the virtual meeting are here: https://www.cityofbatavia.net/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_12072020-1651?html=true

You can email the Aldermen and Mayor here (ASAP because the meeting starts 7:30pm): citycouncil@cityofbatavia.net

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Tuesday: Shodeen TIF, water rate increase, pay raises

Tuesday night, 7pm, the Batavia City Council Committee of the Whole has a full agenda to discuss, including:

  • the next steps in the creation of a new TIF for Shodeen to build his massive taxpayer-subsidized apartment complex
  • 3% water rate increase
  • 2.5% pay raises for non-union employees (in excess of 1.4% CPI increase, while employees in the private sector are losing jobs and suffering from Covid ramifications)

See the agenda with its documents and instructions on meeting attendance:https://www.cityofbatavia.net/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_12012020-1647?html=true


To email the City Council and Mayor: citycouncil@cityofbatavia.net

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Want to Run for Office?

The next local elections are April 6, 2021. If you would like to run for School Board, Mayor, City Council, City Clerk, City Treasurer, Park Board, Library Board, Township Board, or Community College Board, petitions must be filed by December 21 (filing period December 14-21). Petition signature requirements vary.


Candidate information and petition packets: 
School Board  https://www.bps101.net/news/board-of-education-elections-for-april-2021
City  http://cityofbatavia.net/DocumentCenter/View/4785/2021-Candidate-Packet
Library — pick up packet at library checkout desk (newspaper article info https://www.dailyherald.com/submitted/20201015/four-seats-up-for-election-on-batavia-library-board)

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School Tax Levy Tuesday

The Batavia School Board will be voting on its 2020 (payable 2021) tax levy Tuesday night, 11/17, 7pm. Agenda here: https://go.boarddocs.com/il/bps101/Board.nsf/Public
As usual, they will be increasing taxes by the maximum allowed by law, so your property taxes will be going up. From the agenda:

You can and should let your thoughts be known to the Board, at the meeting or using the button at right to email, but don’t expect it to make a difference. The only thing that could stop the incessant tax increases would be a new School Board.

If you would like to run for School Board (or any other office), petitions can be circulated now. Filing dates are Dec. 14-21.


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Shodeen TIF Public Hearing TONIGHT

Tonight, Monday, Nov. 2, 7:30pm is the public hearing for the new Shodeen TIF district. Details on attending the meeting are here: http://www.cityofbatavia.net/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_11022020-1635?html=true

If you would like to send a comment, they now have an email address for public comments: publiccomment@cityofbatavia.net

If you email your comments, you may ask that they be read into the record during the public hearing.

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Shodeen TIF Thursday

 Update: The JRB passed all measures 6-2, with School District and Township (in support of the School District) voting NO. The City can now do what it wants.
 The School District’s Tony Inglese made an excellent, thorough presentation as to why they were voting NO (long story short, they expect too many students from apartments with no compensation). For as much as I have criticized the School District, Mr. Inglese should be lauded for his efforts as Chief Finance Officer.  There’s a long way to go toward reform, but he’s consistently taking steps in the right direction, shows a keen grasp of issues, and puts in a lot of effort. He was the bright spot in the JRB meeting.

The Joint Review Board, made up of representatives of the various taxing bodies, will meet tomorrow, Thursday, Oct. 1, 10:30am, to discuss and approve or reject the new proposed TIF and Redevelopment Plan for Shodeen.
The agenda, with instructions on how you can attend virtually or submit comments, can be found here: https://www.cityofbatavia.net/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_10012020-1616?html=true
You may also attend in person, but seating will be limited.
Public comments, virtually or in person, will be limited to 20 minutes total.
Please consider submitting comments (in agenda linked above). While the City has ignored citizens, there is a chance the other taxing bodies may listen (hope springs eternal).
Batavia Township voted to support the School District, whichever way they vote.
School District has voted NO in the past.
Library Board will vote YES (they and the School District get some money for the duration of the TIF, while other taxing bodies are out of luck; Library Board wanted the money).
We don’t know how the others will vote, so your voice may make a difference.
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Tuesday Meetings

This week Tuesday are 3 meetings, City, Library, and School.

City Committee of the Whole, 7:00pm. From the City’s site:

“The meeting will be broadcast live on BATV’s YouTube channel which can be accessed from their website at myBATV.com or https://www.youtube.com/user/BATV1017. If you plan to attend in person, you must wear a mask and please note there is limited seating available for the public in the room so that social distancing can be maintained.

If you would like to make comment by phone during the meeting, please send a request by email to publiccomment@cityofbatavia.net by 5:00 pm the day of the meeting indicating your name, phone number, the date of the meeting and the topic on which you would like to make comment. You will be called at the number you provided during the meeting at the time for public comment.”

Agenda Item 6. Discussion: Update from the City Administrator and Mayor from their Discussions with Other Taxing Bodies. This is in regard to the creation of a new TIF District. A Joint Review Board will be convened Oct. 1, 10:30am, at City Hall (public welcome), made up of representatives from all the taxing bodies. They will review the grounds the City claims for creating a new TIF District and Redevelopment proposal for Shodeen. I had created a document that I sent to the various taxing bodies with my own arguments against the TIF (can be read here), which leads to the next meeting, the Library Board.

Library Board is having a special meeting at 6pm online, via Zoom, to discuss the TIF proposal and give direction to their representative. Information posted on the Library site: The Board of Library Trustees is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, September 22, at 6:00 p.m., via electronic means (the Zoom platform). Board meetings are open meetings and persons interested in attending this meeting should notify the Library via email at OpenMeetings@BataviaPublicLibrary.org to receive login information.

Another BRG member kindly did the write-up for this week’s School Board meeting (and if anyone likes to write and wouldn’t mind contributing write-ups once in a while, please send a note through the Contact Us page):

Tomorrow night (Tuesday September 22, 2020, 7:00pm), The School Board will be holding their regular monthly meeting.  The meeting will be held at the Fine Arts Center next to the High School.  Seating will be limited to 50 individuals (shouldn’t be a problem if you want to go).  Otherwise the meeting will be streamed live for those who don’t want to attend.

Here is the link to the Agenda and all the documents for the meeting :   https://go.boarddocs.com/il/bps101/Board.nsf/Public

Item 4 on the Agenda will be public comments – usually limited to three minutes and when you come into the building, sign up as a speaker with the Secretary.

Items of interest/concern are:

5.10  Approval of Administrator and Teacher Salary & Benefits Report  Make sure to look at not only the salaries, but, also the benefits,

Very, very generous giving out our tax dollars when most of us won’t have benefits packages that large.

7.1 Adoption of the 2021 Budget  – See 2021 Final Budget Summary

7.3 Approval of the Medical Insurance Rates for the 2021 Plan year.  The insurance reserve has increased to 30%, above the 25% target, so the Board will not be required to make additional contributions over its share of premiums.

New Wellness Incentive 

New this year, we are incentivizing participation in the annual wellness assessment with lower employee contributions for medical insurance.  Single plan participants can save $25 per month on the medical insurance contributions and others $50 if both spouses participate in the screening before October 2.  Despite the increases in premiums above, the net result for most employees will be a slight savings over the prior year if they participate in this new incentive.

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School Board Budget Public Hearing

The Batavia School Board will hold a public hearing Tuesday night (8/25/20), 7pm, in the BATAVIA FINE ARTS CENTER (note new meeting place). The budget and summary can be found here: budget (look at the summary).

As the School Board is responsible for over 2/3 of your property taxes, this budget is one you’ll want to pay attention to.

Finance Director, Tony Inglese, has made the budget summary very detailed (kudos to him!), with many useful graphics (especially at the end if you’re short on time or your eyes glaze over when you look at lots of numbers).

They’re looking at another tax increase, as usual, while enrollment declines. Please try to attend the public hearing and voice your comments.

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