Craft Vendors Needed for DuPage Care Center’s 51st Annual Fall Festival

DUPAGE COUNTY
NEWS RELEASE

Wheaton – The DuPage Care Center is currently seeking craft vendors for the 51st annual Fall Festival to be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 15 in the Center’s west parking lot.

The Festival will have many features including a classic car show, a resident craft sale, children’s games, garage sale, book fair, live music, flea market as well as the popular craft sale. The family-friendly event benefits the Care Center’s Resident Recreation Fund, which helps to provide residents with quality of life programs and services.

If you are interested in making a creative contribution, please call the Care Center at (630) 784-4495 or email fallfestival@dupageco.org.

For more information, please visit http://www.dpccfoundation.org/.

Elmhurst Electronics Recycling Event

DuPage County is pleased to announce that they have been able to partner with the City of Elmhurst on a one-day electronics recycling event open to residents that will be the end of the month. The details are as follows:

Elmhurst Electronics Recycling Event August 25th, 8:00 am – 12:00 pm

985 S Riverside Dr, Elmhurst, IL 60126

Fees for TVs & Monitors A coupon and 501c3 tax receipt provided upon payment at the site. Payment can be made in advance at http://recycle.eworksesi.org/ 

up to 21 inches $25

 21 inches and above $35.

All other electronics accepted at no charge (computer, laptop, DVD players, game consoles, mobile phones, VCRs, mice, scanners, fax machines, keyboards, satellite receivers, copiers, printers, digital converter boxes, cable receivers, servers). 

Supporting DuPage County Students Making A Difference In Our Community and Beyond

                         Where there is no vision, there is no hope. – George Washington Carver

A few months ago I met a lovely young women named Prevail Bonga. Prevail recently graduated from Downers Grove North High School.  Prevail has been an advocate for gun safety and she is standing up for immigrants. She participated in the March for Our Lives Tour held in Naperville and she also spoke eloquently about her families path to find a better life at the Immigration Rally in Downer Grove.

Prevail is a very articulate and bright young women who’s passion for helping others and wanting to make the world a better place evident by her vision and hope.

Prevail wanted to help the children in Chicago that attend the pubic schools. She had visited with some of the students from CPS and realized they were in need of so many things. Prevail and her friend Emily Gornik took action and with a few of their friends they organized a Back to School Drive for CPS students. The Back to School Drive will benefit two schools, an elementary school in West Englewood and a high school in Roseland.

I am happy to support these outstanding young women from DuPage County who are making a difference in our community and beyond. I hope you will come out and support this great cause.

Details:

Where: Downers Grove North High School Main Street Parking Lot

When:  August 11th 3:00 – 7:00 PM

Supplies needed:

Pens, Pencils, Markers, Crayons, Colored Pencils

Books, beginner to advanced, new and gently used

Backpacks, any size

Notebooks, Folders, Glue, Scissors, Tape

Paper, lined and for painting

Toiletries:

Deodorant

Toothbrush/Paste

Tampons/Pads

Laundry Detergent

Shampoo, Conditioner and Body Wash

Tissue, Disinfecting Wipes

All Toiletries Must Be New 

 

 

DuPage County: More Misused Funds

In May, I wrote about DuPage County using the RTA sales tax to balance the General Fund rather than being used for our roads and public transit.  In July it was brought to the attention of the Finance Committee members that the Coroner Fee Fund has been providing relief to the General Fund.  The law states that the General Fund is responsible for paying the fees associated with autopsies. Since 2007, the fees associated with autopsies have been paid from the Coroner Fee Fund. Richard Jorgensen, the DuPage County Coroner, has requested that the fees associated with autopsies be paid from the General Fund as stated in the Illinois Statute, and use the Coroner Fee Fund funds for the purpose that was initially passed.

It appears the Coroner Fee Fund can no longer bare the burden of providing relief to the General Fund. This is not sound budgeting. This is simply a diversion of funds, kicking the can down the road. Below are questions that I have asked. These are important questions that need to be answered:

Besides the RTA Tax and the Coroner Fee Fund how many other funds are being used in the General Fund that were appropriated for specific purpose other than the General Fund?
If we were to allocate the RTA funds to transportation what impact would that have on the General Fund?
If the General Fund were to pay for the fees associated with autopsies as required by Illinois State Statute what impact would that have on the General Fund? 

You can read more about the misused funds here.

 

DUPAGE COUNTY CLERK CANDIDATE JEAN KACZMAREK  CELEBRATES RETURN OF ELECTIONS TO THE COUNTY CLERK’S OFFICE

For years Jean Kaczmarek has been working as a government watchdog, her main focus has been the DuPage Election Commission.  Jean has been calling for the electoral process to be returned to the clerk’s office for over 13 years. Today, Bruce Rauner was in DuPage County were he joined DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin in signing legislation amending the Election Code to allow DuPage to dissolve the commission and transfer its functions to the county clerk’s office effective Jan. 1. Jean was not invited to the bill signing and has never been recognized for her hard work. We will not let Jean’s efforts go unrecognized. Please see below.

 

Date: 7/22/2018

For Release: IMMEDIATE

 

DUPAGE COUNTY CLERK CANDIDATE JEAN KACZMAREK 
 
CELEBRATES RETURN OF ELECTIONS TO THE COUNTY CLERK’S OFFICE

 

For years Jean Kaczmarek has been calling for the electoral process to be returned to the clerk’s office. This Monday, Bruce Rauner will be in DuPage County and will join DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin in signing legislation amending the Election Code to allow DuPage to dissolve the commission and transfer its functions to the county clerk’s office effective Jan. 1. Jean was not invited to the bill signing and has never been recognized for her hard work. We will not let Jean’s efforts go unrecognized. In order to honor Jean please repost this and please use the attached photo as your profile picture.

Governor Rauner to Sign Long-Awaited Consolidation Bill July 23rd in DuPage County

GLEN ELLYN, IL – 2018 Democratic candidate for DuPage County Clerk, Jean Kaczmarek, is satisfied that after her 13 years of advocating the return of elections to the County Clerk’s office, the move is one step closer with the signing of House Bill 5123 in DuPage County on July 23rd.

“Until the end of 2016, no one wanted to talk about moving the electoral process back to the County Clerk’s office except for one person – me. Today the governor is here signing the bill. That’s a seismic shift,” Kaczmarek says.

Kaczmarek adds, “If you ask 100 county clerks in Illinois what their number one responsibility was, he or she would reply: Administering the electoral process. DuPage’s county clerk hasn’t had that job, yet enjoys the largest salary of anyone holding that county office in the entire state...by far. That’s just plain wrong. It’s time for a change.”

DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin’s first effort to bring consolidation of the two offices was in January 2017. The “hybrid model” would have allowed the County Board Chairman to maintain appointment power of a Commission under the County Clerk’s office. A bill was eventually tabled in the House. “I objected because it wasn’t progress. I held out for a clean, constitutional bill DuPage deserved.”

Kaczmarek has been a county government watchdog since 2005, volunteering much of her time scrutinizing the DuPage County Election Commission. The Commission has been an “independent” government body since 1974 following a County Board ordinance (see attachment). Until a few years ago, DuPage had the only separate county-wide election office in Illinois.

She soon realized that there were flaws in the structure which made oversight and problem-solving challenging. “For years, whenever I approached other officials in the County to assist me, they would shake their heads no and say it was outside their jurisdiction,” Kaczmarek says.

Kaczmarek found the definition of “independent” misleading. The Commission board is made up of three members, each appointed and reappointed exclusively by the County Board Chairman. Each Commissioner is paid $27,500 annually and meets once per month. For 44 years, there were always two Republicans and one Democrat on the Board. Lobbyists, spinners, printers, attorneys and other vendors chosen during the decades had political ties. Further, the Commission was not a taxing body and relied on the County for its funding, office space and other governmental functions such as Human Resources.

“In theory, independence sounds great,” Kaczmarek adds. “In reality, true independence proved impossible.”

DuPage’s Election Commission has faced numerous challenges over the years. Most recently, there was a long delay in 2018 Primary Election Night results due to faulty ender cards provided by a vendor for the optical-scan machines; the cards also damaged 167 machines. Last week, the Commission’s executive director, Joe Sobecki, abruptly resigned.

“People are looking for a County Clerk candidate with a demonstrated knowledge and passion for elections,” Kaczmarek says. “There is only one candidate with this qualification.”

#     #     #

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Attached are the candidate’s photo, along with the 1973 DuPage County Board ordinance creating the Election Commission.

 

Villa Park 4th of July Parade 2018

Had a fantastic time at the Villa Park 4th of July Parade. Always such a warm and welcoming reception. I love greeting old and new friends along the route. Great seeing State Senator Tom Cullerton and so nice meeting Democratic Candidate for Attorney General Kwame Raoul. Many thanks to Moon Khan and Joe Amore who lead the chants which kept us all motivated and got the crowd involved .  Also a big thank you to Ben McAdams who was always in the right place at the right time and to Susan O’Donnell Warren for just being her! A special shout out the the many people that had garden hoses along the way that were used to cool down the hot and tired marchers.

 

Happy 4th of July

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness! – Thomas Jefferson

The Chaplin Campaign will be marching in the Villa Park 4th of July Parade. The parade steps off at noon going west on Central to Harvard, south on Harvard to Madison, east on Madison to Summit, north on Summit to Park and west on Park to Ardmore. Hope to see you there!

 

 

Villa Park 4th of July Parade 2017

Villa Park 4th of July Parade 2017

Villa Park 4th of July Parade 2017

Villa Park 4th of July Parade 2017

Villa Park 4th of July Parade 2017

Villa Park 4th of July Parade 2017

 

 

DuPage County Cooling Centers

 

Excessive Heat Warning for DuPage County, Illinois

From 11:00am CDT, Fri Jun 29 until 7:00pm CDT, Sat Jun 30

Action Recommended: Execute a pre-planned activity identified in the instructions

Issued by: Chicago – IL, US, National Weather Service,

…EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 11 AM CDT /NOON EDT/ THIS MORNING TO 7 PM CDT /8 PM EDT/ SATURDAY… THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN CHICAGO HAS ISSUED AN EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING, WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 11 AM CDT /NOON EDT/ THIS MORNING TO 7 PM CDT /8 PM EDT/ SATURDAY. THE EXCESSIVE HEAT WATCH IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT. * TEMPERATURE…AFTERNOON HIGHS IN THE MID 90S AND NIGHTTIME LOWS IN THE MID 70S TO NEAR 80 DEGREES. * HEAT INDICES…PEAK HEAT INDICES IN THE 105 TO 115 DEGREE RANGE. * IMPACTS…OPPRESSIVE HEAT AND HUMIDITY COMBINED WITH AMPLE SUNSHINE WILL LEAD TO HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS, PARTICULARLY FOR THE ELDERLY AND THOSE WITH PRE-EXISTING HEALTH CONDITIONS. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… TAKE EXTRA PRECAUTIONS…IF YOU WORK OR SPEND TIME OUTSIDE. WHEN POSSIBLE…RESCHEDULE STRENUOUS ACTIVITIES TO EARLY MORNING OR EVENING. KNOW THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HEAT EXHAUSTION AND HEAT STROKE. WEAR LIGHT WEIGHT AND LOOSE FITTING CLOTHING WHEN POSSIBLE AND DRINK PLENTY OF WATER. TO REDUCE RISK DURING OUTDOOR WORK…THE OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION RECOMMENDS SCHEDULING FREQUENT REST BREAKS IN SHADED OR AIR CONDITIONED ENVIRONMENTS. ANYONE OVERCOME BY HEAT SHOULD BE MOVED TO A COOL AND SHADED LOCATION. HEAT STROKE IS AN EMERGENCY…CALL 9 1 1. AN EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING MEANS THAT A PROLONGED PERIOD OF DANGEROUSLY HOT TEMPERATURES WILL OCCUR. THE COMBINATION OF HOT TEMPERATURES AND HIGH HUMIDITY WILL COMBINE TO CREATE A DANGEROUS SITUATION IN WHICH HEAT ILLNESSES ARE LIKELY. DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS…STAY IN AN AIR-CONDITIONED ROOM…STAY OUT OF THE SUN… AND CHECK UP ON RELATIVES AND NEIGHBORS. YOUNG CHILDREN AND PETS SHOULD NEVER BE LEFT UNATTENDED IN VEHICLES UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. THIS IS ESPECIALLY TRUE DURING WARM OR HOT WEATHER WHEN CAR INTERIORS CAN REACH LETHAL TEMPERATURES IN A MATTER OF MINUTES.

 

YOU CAN FIND A LIST OF DuPAGE COOLING CENTERS here. 

YOU CAN FIND THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE here. 

Shell Game

How much longer will the county be relying on the misguided use of the RTA Tax to balance the budget? This is the question I asked on October 19, 2014. In a letter sent to DuPage County Chairman on September 29, 2015 I asked a rhetorical question, what percent of the RTA sales tax is going to the transportation budget?

 

Time and time again we hear how DuPage County has held the line on property taxes. How has DuPage been the only county to figure out how to keep the property tax levy flat for the past 6 years and keep the county in the black? It’s a shell game.  In January of 2008 the RTA sales tax rate was increased by 0.25% in Cook County and by 0.50% in the Collar Counties. Proceeds of the sales tax increase in the Collar Counties are divided evenly between the RTA and the county where the tax is collected. The proceeds awarded to the Collard Counties can be only utilized for transportation and/or public safety.

 

While the other Collar Counties which include Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will, rely on property tax as their major source of revenue, DuPage County’s largest source of revenue is sales tax. Currently 56.8 percent of the DuPage County’s revenue source is sales tax, which includes the RTA sales tax that can only be utilized for transportation and/or public safety.  It might sound like a good idea to use sales tax as the largest portion of revenues but it is also very dangerous. In September of 2016 Moody’s downgraded DuPage County’s AAA rating. Crain’s  Chicago Business reporter Greg Hinz reported the following “The downgrade reflects Fitch’s concern (about) the county’s limited revenue flexibility and slow revenue growth prospects,” the New York firm wrote. “(Fitch’s) revised criteria placed increased focus on Fitch’s expectations for the natural pace of revenue growth without revenue-raising measures and the ability of an entity to independently increase revenue.” In general, Fitch said it expects revenue from existing taxes to grow “slightly below historical trends” and generally only in line with national inflation. “While sales tax revenue has growth between 4 percent and 5 percent annually over the past several years, it has slowed to only 1 percent growth in fiscal 2016, leading the county to change its growth assumptions going forward to only 2 percent growth.”

 

During the January 9, 2018 meeting of the DuPage  Finance Committee, I requested a time frame for a discussion to take place regarding revenues. We finally started the discussion during the May 22, 2018 DuPage County Finance Committee meeting. There was a lot of discussion; Member Don Puchalski commented that all of the collar counties Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will use the RTA for transportation, which according to the legislation is an appropriate use of the funds. None of the RTA sales tax is used for transportation in DuPage County. Member Puchalski is the Chairman of the Transportation Committee, you could hear the frustration in his voice. The RTA tax is  integral to the funding of our roads and public transit. Member Puchalski asked for further discussion on the use of the RTA sales tax and I agreed. I asked if the reason the county was able to keep the property tax levy flat was due to our reliance of the RTA sales tax to balance the budget? 

 

We’ve seen this movie before in DuPage County. It happened at the DuPage Water Commission. The quarter percent sales tax was to be used to pay off the 150 million dollars in General Obligation Bonds.  That is how the referendum was presented to the citizens of DuPage County. Rather than use the sales tax to pay down the debt the DuPage Water Commission used the sales tax to stabilize water rates to the Commission Charter customers.  The rate that the Charter Customers (municipalities) paid for water during the inception was 1.95 per thousand gallons.  The rate the  Commission customers were paying was dropped to 1.45 per thousand gallons of water and eventually lowered more. Besides lowering the water rate the sales tax was used to dish out rebates to the Charter Customers (municipalities) in the amount of 66.3 million dollars. I had serious concerns, whether the savings from the rebates or rate reductions were passed on to the citizens. I also had serious concerns that the loss from regular operations had been steadily climbing and at some point would overwhelm the sales tax and income investment income. That’s exactly what happened.

 

Some good news came out of the May 22nd Finance Committee Meeting when the majority of the board agreed that we need to hold a special call meeting to continue the revenue discussion.

 

Shell Game Information here. 

More information on Don Puchalski here.

RTA Sales Tax  Legislation Information here.

Crain’s Chicago Business – Moody’s Information here. 

January 9, 2018 Finance Meeting Minutes here.

DuPage Water Commission Information Below

DuPage Water Commission Faces Dissolution By State