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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 →
Filing deadline is 5:00pm Monday (12/21) at the Kane County Clerk’s office in Geneva.
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
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.
This site may contain reported information from various BRG associates. The reports are submitted in good faith, in truth to the best of the writers’ knowledge. If an error is noticed or a point misunderstood, please contact BRG to have it remedied. Thank you.