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Morning Shorts

Friday, Apr 30, 2010

* STAR Bonds plan for Glen Carbon retail development is dead

“On Thursday, in a final attempt to reach consensus, we met with several mayors who told us there is nothing more we can do to secure their support for the project.”

* Developer gives up on STAR bonds — for now

* Taxpayers come out ahead on public works projects

In Tinley Park, overall costs are down by 20 percent to 25 percent, said Public Works Director Dale Schepers. One bid was 48 percent below the town engineer’s estimate.

A bid for landscaping in Naperville’s Riverwalk reconstruction project came in at $702,000, 46 percent lower than the engineer’s estimate, because of intense competition among eight bidders. Carey Plazak, purchasing manager for Schaumburg, recently accepted two roadwork bids considerably under budget.

In Chicago, Mayor Richard Daley recently challenged all city vendors to negotiate a 10 percent cut in spending on their contracts.

* Panel rejects $162 million rate hike for Ameren’s Illinois customers

Instead, the commission on Thursday approved a rate increase of just $4.7 million, or about 97 percent less than what the utility giant had requested.

What this means for you: The rates that Ameren’s 1.1 million Illinois customers pay for the delivery of electricity and gas will remain unchanged at least for another year.

* Ameren receives sliver of rate hike request from Illinois Commerce Commission

Almost a year ago, the company asked to increase what it charges for delivering electricity and natural gas by a total of $226 million. The utility had since changed that request to $162 million and was awarded only $5 million.

* Ameren upset by reduced rate increase

* Pace union seeks arbitration

* City gun turn-in program in need of cash

* Hinz: Cook commissioners move to curb Stroger spending

* County Board may limit Stroger’s hiring, buying powers

* Mayor’s brother calls Stroger aide contract scandal ‘a disgrace’

* Huberman Unveils New School Closing Plan

Chicago Public Schools says it will now involve the community in figuring out what to do about its worst performing schools.

It’s become an annual ritual: officials announce a list of schools they want to shut down for low performance. And parents, teachers and students protest to keep them open.

Ron Huberman says the district’s new school closings plan hinges on parents being told EARLY their child’s school needs help. Letters will go out soon to that effect.

* New Lenox police agree to wage freeze

* Homer Glen trustees mull giving up their salaries

* West Chicago may cut police civilian staff

* Aurora firm loses IDOC contract

The company housed ex-cons in two homes in Aurora, one at 14 S. Lancaster Ave. and the other at 838 N. View St., and the Department of Corrections paid TA Reentry to take parolees once they were released from prison.

* Officials said red-light cameras should be a go, but some in public not so sure

* Will County towns are raising taxes, fees

* State debt won’t cause Rock Island County layoffs

* Central Illinois airport traffic up

Peoria shows 1.5 percent first-quarter increase; Bloomington up 2.8 percent

* Springfield mayor counting on free dinner

Time to pay up, Peoria.

Springfield Mayor Tim Davlin on Thursday morning announced the results of a friendly bet made with Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis over whose city would have a higher percentage of its residents mail in their 2010 U.S. Bureau of the Census forms.

Springfield won, with 77 percent of residents participating to Peoria’s 75 percent.

According to the terms of their competition, Ardis will have to travel to Springfield and buy Davlin dinner. He also has to wear the city’s lapel pin for a week and issue a proclamation acknowledging - in writing - that Springfield is better than Peoria. (Springfield doesn’t have a city pin, so they’re going to find something else for Ardis to wear.)

* Trustees approve raise for LLCC president

* IT restructuring could save university $10 million, report says

* Are police department staffing issues compromising safety in East St. Louis?

* Manhunt continues for suspect in slaying of Washington Park mayor

* News-Democrat: Why provide escape clause?

A few hours after Washington Park Mayor John Thornton was shot to death on April 1, police had his suspected killer in custody.

Then they had to let him go 48 hours later because the overly cautious St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s Office wasn’t ready to file charges. The police couldn’t legally hold him any longer without charges.

Now a few weeks later, prosecutors have concluded that yes indeed, the police arrested the right guy. On Wednesday, they filed first-degree murder charges against Aaron B. Jackson.

But surprise, Jackson is nowhere to be found. He apparently decided not to sit home and wait for the police to pull up and lead him away in handcuffs.

* Blagojevich case back in court today

- Posted by Barton Lorimor        


3 Comments
  1. - wordslinger - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 9:01 am:

    LOL, John Daley knows from a lifetime of experience a hinky taxpayer ripoff when he sees one.


  2. - cassandra - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 9:06 am:

    Kudos to Daley. In this great recession, why should we taxpayers be paying pre-recession prices. Of course, it could all be talk. He’s a politician. But at least he raises the issue. He also raised this issue of middle class Chicago residents paying higher taxes during a severe economic downturn. Our Pat seems to think we are miserly and backward for questioning his tax increase.

    I have long believed that each and every one of those $16 billion dollars worth of 50,000 or so state contracts let annually should be individually and intensively reviewed. What is the deliverable? How much does it cost on the market. Bid or no bid. Are they actually providing the service. How much does the state employee who monitors the contract cost and what, actually, are they doing to monitor it. After nearly eight years of one party rule, and with all that money sloshing around (our money, remember), I can’t believe there isn’t a lot of waste and corruption there. That the Dems of the past 7 years would just as soon we didn’t see.

    A really transparent contract databae would help too–one that any citizen could easily use. And the opportunity for citizens to raise questions about individual contracts and not be told to bleep off.


  3. - Independent - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 5:03 pm:

    John Daley, white knight of Cook County. Insurance broker of “choice” for Hired Truck companies. If anyone lacks a leg to stand on in criticizing contract irregularities it’s he.

    If Todd Stroger were popular you wouldn’t hear a peep from John about that contract. Hopefully Stroger supporters remember the Daleys’ throwing Todd under the bus during next year’s mayoral campaign.


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