Showing posts with label City Services. Show all posts
Showing posts with label City Services. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

More bad news for deadbeats

It sucks onto the windshield and can’t be removed until drivers call to pay a fine.
Imagine arriving at your badly parked car to find some… thing latched onto the windshield like a blocky, yellow leach. That’s a reality motorists are living with in the U.S., as cities test out a vision-blocking penalty panel called the “Barnacle.”
The concept behind the apparatus, made by New York’s Ideas That Stick, is simple: It’s a rugged plastic rectangle that attaches with incredible force to the windshield, and can’t be removed until motorists pay a fine over the phone and get a release code. Adding insult to injury, drivers are then expected to return it to a drop-off

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Matt O'Shea demands that IDOT clean up cesspool along Dan Ryan Expressway

CTA Red Line trains along the Dan Ryan Expressway filled with local residents on the way downtown, to look for a job.  | John H. White/Sun-Times
A pair of South Side aldermen demanded Monday that the Illinois Department of Transportation clean up the embarassing mess left behind on the shoulder of the Dan Ryan Expy. by motorists who cavalierly toss their trash out the window.
Ald. Mike Zalewski (23rd) and Ald. Matt O’Shea (19th) said the southbound Ryan in particular is a pigpen that provides an ugly impression of Chicago, even though the city is

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Snow Removal

Accolades to Ald. O'Shea and Streets and San. They have done a great job keeping ahead of this snow. 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Saturday, May 13, 2017

City Hall shuffle: Budget director leaves, water commissioner fired

The loss of Holt is going to be felt.
CHICAGO 05/12/2017, 10:54pm

Outgoing City of Chicago Budget Director Alexandra Holt | Sun-Times file photo
Fran Spielman

The revolving door at City Hall was spinning Friday. Mayor Rahm Emanuel accepted the resignation of his only budget director, fired his water management commissioner and re-appointed his inspector

Thursday, June 23, 2016

O'Shea was out in the storm last night!

The Best
I saw him driving around two times last night, during and after the storm. He was checking on flooding and downed trees. I wouldn't be surprised if he had a chain saw in that SUV. 

We are fortunate to have a capable alderman who also has lots of integrity. This guy works his ass off and gets things done 

Monday, December 28, 2015

Can we please get some salt spread on the streets

It's 1:45 pm and there have been no salt trucks on 103rd st. 111th st. 115th st. Kedzie or Pulaski. I didn't check Western Ave. It's not like this storm was a surprise. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

We knew this was coming, don't act surprised.

Taxing their way out of this is not the way to go. These taxes will surely chase residents and businesses away. All that being said, city living may still be one of the best bargains around. 
Emanuel to propose $588M property tax hike, phased in over 4 years !
Mayor Rahm Emanuel last week | Getty Images

Mayor Rahm Emanuel will lower the boom on Chicago taxpayers Tuesday — and the multiyear hit will be even harder than anticipated.

To eliminate the city’s structural deficit and confront a $30 billion pension crisis that has saddled Chicago with a junk bond rating, Emanuel will ask the City Council to raise property taxes by $588 million by 2018 for police and fire pensions and school construction and impose a first-ever monthly garbage collection fee of $9.50 per household.

The $588 million increase will cost the owner of a $250,000 home roughly $588 more a year. It will be phased in over a four-year period, under the 2016 budget that Emanuel will unveil to the City Council on Tuesday.

A $318 million increase for police and fire pensions would apply to the 2015 property tax levy payable in 2016, coupled with a $45 million increase for school construction, for a total increase of $363 million.

That will be followed by a $109 million property tax increase for police and fire pensions in the 2016 levy, a $53 million increase in 2017 and $63 million in 2018.

The $9.50-a-month garbage collection fee amounts to a back-door property tax increase that would add $114 to the costs heaped on 613,000 Chicago owners of single-family homes, two-, three- and four-flats that still get city pickups.

Senior citizens would pay half that amount, just as they do now on city stickers, in a break demanded by the City Council’s Black Caucus. The city is assuming that 40,000 seniors will get the garbage discount.

As expected, the new fee would be tacked on to water bills that arrive in mailboxes every other month. If homeowners refuse to pay the garbage fee, city crews would still pick up the trash to avoid exacerbating Chicago’s already serious rodent problem.

The mayor’s budget also includes a new tax on e-cigarettes, a 50-cents–a-ride surcharge on taxis and ride-hailing services, and a 15 percent increase in cab fares and authorization for Uber to make pickups at McCormick Place, O’Hare and Midway Airports in exchange for a $5 surcharge on every pickup and drop-off.

To raise an additional $13 million, Emanuel plans to “modernize” fees the city charges for building permits. The restructuring was proposed by the Chicago Federation of Labor.

The garbage fee has emerged as the biggest point of contention in Emanuel’s 2016 budget — even more so than the 72 percent property tax increase that will be the largest in modern Chicago history.

But the mayor’s budget team argues that suburbanites have been paying a separate and much higher fee for garbage collection for years and so has much of the city. It’s a matter of fairness, they contend.

Berwyn residents pay $25 a month for garbage collection. In the recycling haven of Seattle, the garbage fee is $100 a month.

“Only half the city receives garbage collection from the city. The other half of the city receives garbage collection and they pay for it from private vendors,” said a member of the mayor’s finance team, who asked to remain anonymous.

“Some aldermen have suggested that the entire amount should just simply go on the property tax levy. We’re looking for a way to have everybody participate . . . Putting the $9.50 fee on makes sure that we still have the resources we need, not only to collect garbage, but also to pay for police and pay for fire. If you were to put that full amount onto the levy, you then push that expense onto people who live in buildings that are already paying for garbage collection.”

In a news release distributed to reporters on the eve of the mayor’s budget address, Emanuel claimed to have authorized $170 million in additional “savings and reforms” before hitting a brick wall.

City Hall argued that it is “not possible” to meet the state mandated payment to shore up police and fire pensions without drastic cuts in the “most critical city services” like police, fire and sanitation that would render the city “unlivable” for residents and businesses alike.

“On so many fronts, Chicago has made great progress by challenging the status quo. But, as we continue to grow our economy, create jobs and attract families and business to Chicago, our fiscal challenges are blocking our path to ever greater success,” the mayor was quoted as saying.

“With this budget, we will build on our progress by charting a new course for Chicago’s future and ensure that we are securing the retirements of our police and firefighters in a way that does not hurt those who can least afford it.”

The scary part is that Emanuel isn’t through raising property taxes. He’s also proposed a $170 million to property tax increase for teacher pensions provided teachers accept the equivalent of a 7 percent pay cut and the state agrees to pick up “normal” pension costs.

And even with a 72 percent increase in the city’s property tax levy, Emanuel is making a rosy and risky assumption that, if he’s wrong, would make the financial hit absorbed by Chicago taxpayers significantly worse.

The mayor’s 2016 budget assumes that Gov. Bruce Rauner will sign legislation — approved by the Illinois House and Senate, but not yet on the governor’s desk — giving Chicago 15 more years to ramp up to 90 percent funding level for the police and fire pension funds.

Chicago taxpayers would still be on the hook for $619 million in payments to the two funds next year — more than double the current payment. But that’s still $220 million less than the city would have been forced to pay and an $843 million break over the next five years.

Although a Circuit Court judge has overturned Emanuel’s plan to save the Municipal Employees and Laborers pension funds, Emanuel is also counting on the state Supreme Court to reverse that decision.

Never mind that the high court has already overturned state pension reforms. Never mind that Cook County Court Judge Rita Novak cited the “crystal-clear direction” provided by the Illinois Supreme Court’s reading of the Illinois Constitution: Membership in a government employee pension system “shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired.”

If, as expected, the Supreme Court overturns those reforms, the city’s budget picture would get $130 million better in the short-run and hundreds of millions of dollars worse over time.

But a city finance source, who asked to remain anonymous, argued that, if the mayor’s plan is overturned, “We don’t actually have to pay . . . We don’t have that obligation.”

The mayor still hopes to soften the blow of the massive property tax increase by convincing the General Assembly to raise the homeowner exemption and hold harmless owner-occupied homes worth less than $250,000.

House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) has scheduled a hearing on that tax break for later this week over Rauner’s objections.

Convinced that Emanuel’s plan is going nowhere in Springfield, the City Council’s Progressive Caucus on Monday proposed a “back-stop” plan to soften the blow of a $588 million property tax increase for low-income homeowners.

The fallback is similar to the widely-ignored, 2010 plan offered by then-Mayor Richard M. Daley. Daley set aside $35 million for rebate checks, but distributed only $2.1 million because most homeowners didn’t bother to apply.

This time, rebate checks of up to $2,000 would be open to homeowners, no matter how much their homes are worth, provided the owners have an adjusted gross income of less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level.

That’s roughly $47,000 a year for a single homeowner, $63,000 for a couple and $97,000 for a family of four. For the owner of a home of $250,000, the rebate check is likely to be $400.

Why ignore the value of the home?

“We may have people who live in a community that is changing rapidly. They may be a senior citizen who bought their home 30, 40 years ago. Now, they’re living off their Social Security check. They’ve living on a fixed income. And suddenly, they find they own a $700,000 home. They can’t face a $1,000-plus property tax increase. That’s going to put a major burden [on them]. That’s why it’s tied to the income,” said rookie Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th).

Homeowners would still have to apply for the checks — and that means homeowners would have to be educated about the rebate program. That kind of marketing is something the Daley administration failed to do, which is why so many homeowners left money on the table.

“When the last one went through in 2010, hardly anybody knew about it. It wasn’t very well publicized. It wasn’t marketed out there. And if you remember, that rebate was actually in the form of a small cash card. It was very difficult to go through the process. And that cash card was also taxed,” said Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd).

Waguespack said assuming help that will never come from Springfield is not only foolish. It’s disingenuous. It holds out false hope to homeowners who really need the help.

Ramirez-Rosa (35th) couldn’t agree more.

“This is what the working people of the city of Chicago deserve. They deserve to be protected. They’re being nickel-and-dimed every single day,” Ramirez-Rosa said.

At a City Hall news conference on the eve of Emanuel’s budget address, the Progressive Caucus also declared it’s strong opposition to Emanuel’s plan to give Chicago cabdrivers a 15 percent fare increase, but give ride hailing companies the keys to the kingdom — the right to make pickups at McCormick Place, O’Hare and Midway Airports.

“It would do real harm to the thousands of Chicagoans who drive cabs, creating negative ripple effects” all across the city, Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) said.

The $712 million package of tax and fee hikes — on top of annual increases in city sticker, water and sewer fees previously approved — are enough to choke a horse. But Emanuel aides argue that it’s the only way to shore up police and fire pensions, eliminate the structural deficit the mayor inherited over the next four years and end what the mayor calls the “gimmicks and shenanigans” that former Mayor Richard M. Daley used to “mask the real cost” of government.

That’s even though the $500 million general obligation bond issue approved Monday by the City Council’s Finance Committee includes $225 million more in so-called “scoop-and-toss” borrowing that will saddle another generation with debt that should be paid off today.

The mayor’s team is under no illusions about the junk bond rating that has already cost Chicago taxpayers tens of millions of dollars in penalties and higher interest rates. It will take years to get rid of it.

“Look, it’s a lot easier and a lot quicker to be downgraded than it is to be upgraded. But we think this budget will set us on a path to improve the credit rating of the city” over time, said a member of the mayor’s finance team, who asked to remain anonymous

Brown: Property tax rebate plan gaining backers
The biggest problem with the property tax has always been that it doesn’t take into account a property owner’s ability to pay.

A home that greatly appreciates in value from the time it was purchased can put a homeowner in the position of not being able to afford to continue living there if the taxes increase proportionally.

That’s the bright side of a proposal advanced Monday by a bloc of Chicago aldermen hoping to temper Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s expected $500 million-plus property tax hike ask with a rebate for lower-income homeowners.

It’s the second such rebate plan now endorsed by different groups of aldermen who say they want to limit the impact of the property tax on “working families,” not to mention limit the political hit to themselves.

The new plan, offered by the City Council’s Progressive Caucus on the eve of Emanuel’s budget unveiling, would tie the rebate to a homeowner’s income, as did a similar plan previously offered by Ald. Proco Joe Moreno (1st).

The big problem with paying a rebate is that the property tax increase would no longer produce as much revenue as the mayor is seeking. That would force him to either ask for a bigger tax increase to produce the same net yield or, as the aldermen suggest, find the extra revenue elsewhere.

Either way, paying a rebate would result in higher income homeowners and owners of commercial property such as office buildings and shopping centers subsidizing those who receive it.

With a rebate based on income, we could have a situation where next-door neighbors with identical homes could see one getting money back from the city while the other doesn’t.

The plan offered by new Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) and endorsed by the Progressive Caucus would set that bar at 400 percent of the federal poverty level, which comes out to about $97,000 for a family of four. The income limit would vary by family size, said Rosa, who calls his proposal an “opening salvo.”

City homeowners earning below that mark would get the rebate regardless of the value of their home while those who earn more would not. The homeowner would have to apply for the rebate and presumably provide proof of income, requiring a new level of bureaucracy.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Short sighted decisions are being made.

Aldermen have more to lose than Emanuel in tax-hike vote as they decide if they should tax the city out of existence. 

Keep in mind that there is no way that Rahm is going to complete this term. The aldermen will be left holding the bag. WRITTEN BY FRAN SPIELMAN POSTED: 09/20/2015, 09:01PM
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel at a City Council meeting last year. | Al Podgorski / Chicago Sun-Times
Before Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s second inauguration, his own friends likened the crisis before him to the one President Harry Truman faced before dropping the atom bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki that ended World War II.

They argued that the solutions to Chicago’s $30 billion pension crisis would be so painful and politically unpopular, Emanuel would either be unable to run again or choose not to seek a third term

Emanuel fueled that speculation by exhorting his staff and aldermen to “feel liberated” and “govern as if we ran our last election . . . What will you do then with that liberty?’ ”

Now, that moment of truth has arrived — and it hardly feels like liberation day.

As the Chicago Sun-Times first disclosed three weeks ago, Emanuel will lower the boom on Chicago taxpayers with a $500 million property tax increase for police and fire pensions and school construction and a first-ever, monthly garbage collection fee, now pegged at $9.50 per household.

The 2016 budget that Emanuel is scheduled to unveil on Tuesday also includes a new tax on e-cigarettes and other smokeless tobacco products and a $1–a-ride surcharge on Uber and other ride-hailing services that have siphoned business away from taxicabs.

The mayor still hopes to soften the blow of the 60 percent property tax increase by persuading the Illinois General Assembly to raise the homeowner exemption and hold harmless owner-occupied homes worth less than $250,000. House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) has scheduled a hearing on that tax break for next week over the objections of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

If the mayor’s friends are right about a second term being Emanuel’s last, he’s uniquely positioned to solve the pension crisis and seal his place in history as the mayor who steered Chicago away from the financial cliff.

He can propose the remedies needed to shore up police and fire pensions, eliminate the structural deficit he inherited and end the “gimmicks and shenanigans” former Mayor Richard M. Daley used to “mask the real cost” of government without worry about the political fallout.

Same goes for Ald. Pat O’Connor (40th), Emanuel’s City Council floor leader. He’s the 32-year-veteran who has told associates he expects this to be his final term and who has the unenviable task of rounding up votes for the mayor’s doomsday budget.

But what about the 49 other aldermen who will be asked to join Emanuel in walking the political plank?

Are they prepared to kiss their political careers goodbye, if that’s what it takes to shed the junk bond rating that has already saddled taxpayers with tens of millions of dollars in penalties and borrowing costs?

“I’m going try to do this job to the best of my ability without regard to whatever backlash we might face at the ballot box later because there’s no way to please everybody in the situation we’re faced with. You just have to accept that and get over it,” said rookie Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd).

“I know there’s going to be some more controversial votes after this year. This is not a one-and-done thing. We’re going to have to face this constantly,” he said. “There’s no way around it . . . I’m absolutely prepared to do the right thing without regard to whatever consequences there may be.”

Downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) said the level of political backlash will largely depend on Emanuel and his ability to frame the crisis in terms an angry electorate can understand.

“The mayor’s been doing a pretty good job describing how dire a situation we’re in. But the next several weeks are going to require an education campaign to make sure people understand what’s at stake. What happens if we don’t address this crisis?” Reilly said.

“There’s certainly shock value here. No one in Chicago has had to grapple with something of this magnitude before. So, I can’t predict how folks are going to react. But the next several weeks, people are going to be letting us know exactly how they feel,” he said. “There may be components of the budget plan that they react to and embrace and others that are harder for them to swallow.”

The biggest point of contention is the garbage collection fee — so much so that O’Connor has publicly questioned whether he can round up 26 votes to pass it.

Black aldermen have urged Emanuel to trash it on grounds it will leave some neighborhoods filthy, breed widespread avoidance and, possibly, cost laborers their jobs. That’s even though the idea originated with Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th), chairman of the Black Caucus.

The chairman of the City Council’s Hispanic Caucus has said it would be “very difficult to do both” a garbage fee and a $500 million property tax increase that amounts to a “double-whammy” on homeowners.

And Southwest Side Ald. Mike Zalewski (23rd), a former deputy commissioner at the city’s Department of Streets and Sanitation, has argued that the mayor’s plan lets homeowners who stockpile carts off too easy.

Ald. John Arena (45th) has also said that the garbage fee should be “implemented in a way that encourages recycling,” by taxing the cart — not by “charging everybody equally.”

Sources said Emanuel plans to ignore all of those concerns and forge ahead with a flat monthly fee now down to $9.50 per household.

The fact that it’s not as fair as charging for each cart and will do nothing to encourage recycling is less important than getting homeowners to accept the monumental change and handling the billing smoothly enough to actually collect the $100 million in annual revenues.

“I’m prepared to vote for it. But I’m still listening to the forces of my community before I make my decision. Overwhelmingly so far, they’re not in support of the property tax increase or the garbage fee collection tax,” said rookie Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th), a former Chicago Police sergeant.

Taliaferro said his West Side constituents understand the magnitude of the financial crisis. But they’re more concerned about the impact on their own wallets.

“We understand the position the city is in. We understand the position my personal [police] pension is in. It’s in jeopardy. But you have to look at what they see as well. And what they see is their financial ability to afford a tax increase, what the consequences are to their personal finances,” he said.

“It definitely will have some type of impact from a political perspective and a re-election perspective. But it’s something we need to address with our communities and let our communities have a voice in how we vote,” Taliaferro said. Whether it has some type of political consequences or not, we have to vote on what’s best for the city and best for our community. So, it’s a difficult decision.”

Well aware of how tough a vote he’s asking aldermen to cast, sources said Emanuel is prepared to frame his 2016 spending plan as a vote — not just for this year, but for the next 20 years.

“People who make the right decision will get the mayor’s backing and support,” said an Emanuel confidante, who asked to remain anonymous.

And what happens if Emanuel doesn’t seek re-election and is not the political force that he was in 2015, when his allies created a $4 million super PAC to re-elect him and strengthen his City Council majority?

“Nobody could argue that he’s not a formidable fundraiser with a formidable network,” even if he’s a lame duck, the Emanuel confidante said.

Daley’s political playbook called for holding the line on taxes until the budget that immediately followed an election, then lowering the boom on taxpayers and giving them four years to get over it.

But that formula won’t work this time.

Emanuel has already offered to raise property taxes by an additional $170 million for the Chicago Public Schools if teachers accept the equivalent of a 7 percent pay cut and the state reimburses CPS for “normal” pension costs.

That would require the City Council to cast a second vote — this time to reinstate the old, dedicated property tax levy for teacher pensions — once the state budget stalemate ends and a new teachers contract is hammered out.

“I know that a lot of people are saying, ‘Let’s get this done early in the term so that people will forget.’ But I don’t believe in that,” said Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd), a leader of the anti-Emanuel Progressive Caucus. “I think people will fully understand the impact once they see those tax bills and you have to convince them that what you voted on was the right thing and it will help the city in the future.

“We’ve ignored a lot of these problems for many years. But at the same time, I don’t think we’ve done all we could so far to alleviate the property tax hike,” Waguespack said. “We’re still working on that by providing a lot of other possible revenue streams and looking at alternatives to the property tax system the way it’s set up now and trying to equalize the impact on businesses and residents.”

Waguespack was asked whether he is prepared to cut short his political career, if that it takes to solve Chicago’s financial problems.

“Well, it’s kind of funny because people always told me that, if I voted against stuff in the past or voted ‘no’ or voted ‘yes’ on certain things, that I’ll never make it in the City Council. But some of us have survived on doing the right thing. So, I don’t see it as a problem,” Waguespack said.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Illegal billboard used to post a racist message!

How is it that a LED sign is permitted to be erected in a R-1 zoning district? 

This sign was built about 5 or 6 years ago. Was there a notice sent to all the neighbors within 300 feet? Was a special use permit ever issued? Was there even a building permit issued? 

The Beverly Unitarian Church caused a stir when it posted,"Black Lives Matter" on its electronic sign at 10244 S. Longwood Drive in Beverly. The church, commonly known as The Castle, has since changed the sign to read, "Life Matters Risk Loving Everyone." 
View Full Caption
DNAinfo/Supplied Photo
BEVERLY — The electronic sign at the Beverly Unitarian Church no longer displays the words "Black Lives Matter."
The church commonly known as The Castle at 10244 S. Longwood Drive had changed the sign as of Wednesday to read "Life Matters Risk Loving Everyone." The change follows an online uproar that included racist rants as well as some hurt feelings.
Cydni Polk, of Blue Island, snapped a picture of the "Black Lives Matter" sign on Monday afternoon. The Beverly native tagged several of her friends and posted the shot on Facebook with the caption, "Why yes ... yes they do ..." and the hashtags #‎Salute and #‎MyHood.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Tax Increases

Rahm is proposing a $500 million property tax increase, new taxes on soft drinks and telephones, a garbage collection fee and a few other taxes. Meanwhile, the Chicago Board of Education is planning a massive property tax increase of their own. On top of that Cook County is increasing their sales tax and the state of Illinois will soon be increasing the state income tax. While all this is going on, there has been no mention of the $1.7 billion in city TIF funds currently sitting in the bank.

Questions: Is increasing taxes the way to go? Is there a danger of chasing residents and business out of the city? What about cutting spending? What about bankruptcy? What about the TIF funds? 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

For those that voted for Rahm, this is for you!

Suburbanites have grown accustomed to paying a garbage-collection fee in addition to their property tax bill. It looks like Chicagoans will soon face a similar pain in the wallet.

One week after his budget team held closed-door meetings with aldermen, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is all but saying that a garbage-collection fee is coming to Chicago.

Struggling to solve a $30 billion pension crisis that has dropped the city’s bond rating to junk status, Emanuel needs $754 million in new revenue to balance his 2016 budget and shore up police and fire pensions, even under the best-case scenario.

“Thirty-five aldermen. Seventy-plus ideas . . . I would say
there’s building consensus around at least two things on the revenue side: Some form of a garbage fee like other communities around the state and country have. [And] a fee around e-cigarettes and other tobacco products that are not cigarettes,” Emanuel told WLS-AM Radio (890).
The mayor’s office refused to go beyond those remarks.
But Ald. Pat O’Connor (40th), Emanuel’s City Council floor leader, said it’s no longer an issue of whether Chicago will have a garbage-collection fee. The question is, how much?

“That’s where the real discussion will take place. It will be around the cost, rather than the enablement. We need to see the numbers that show how much we’ll save and how much it would generate,” he said. 

O’Connor noted that a “very large percentage” of Chicagoans already pay for garbage collection. They rent or own in multiunit residential buildings that don’t get city pick-ups. “If you’ve never done it before, a lot of people will say, `This is terrible.’ But to the extent that Chicago is becoming a destination for people who are not native Chicagoans — and that’s a growing number of people — this isn’t going to be new. It’ll be something they’ve seen before. It might be easier [to sell politically] than we think,” O’Connor said.

City Hall sources pegged the number of households that already pay for private garbage collection at 400,000. Another 600,000 get city pickups at no additional cost.
In at least one North Shore suburb, a resident with one cart for routine garbage and another for recyclables pays $104.72 every four months or $314.16 a year for both pick-ups. The weekly pick-ups are made by a private scavenger service that uses one-man crews.

In Chicago, the Department of Streets and Sanitation still operates with three employees on a truck. Unless work rules are changed or garbage collection is privatized, costs would be higher, but the first-ever fees would have to be lower.

Chicago would almost certainly have to start smaller to get residents of 600,000 single-family homes, two-, three-flats and four-flats used to the idea of paying for a service they’ve grown accustomed to getting for free.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Could this happen in Chicago?


By Nancy Mathieson and Mark Glennon / WirePoints Illinois News - 
Country Club Hills, a suburb of Chicago, seems intent on making itself the poster child for poor financial reporting. A reader recently alerted us to its plight, which indeed looks bad, but just how bad is hidden by the shoddiest municipal financial reporting we have seen.
The city appears to be living day-to-day, short of cash, because its City Council minutes from last month say it’s issuing payment vouchers, just as it did last year at this time. That sets off an alarm, but if you look for data similar to what other towns and cities report, in hopes of getting an explanation and clearer picture, you won’t find it.

It’s an old story for Country Club Hills. In 2011, the Better