May 062011
 

The economy is down, unemployment is up, Naperville’s population is declining, vacant homes are increasing, and people are struggling to make ends meet and what does the Naperville city council do; they raise the water rate. Now we are not talking about 2% or 5% increase, we are talking about a 29% increase. There is no decimal point between the ‘2’ and the ‘9’.  You are not misreading this. Twenty-nine percent is 29%.  What makes this even more egregious is that when the Naperville city council is given the choice of raising the rate by 29%, 19% or 13%, they choose the 29% rate because it is supposed to make the citizens happier five years from now based on council assumptions. It is another example of the council’s major malfunction of relying on faulty assumptions when making decisions. It is as if the Naperville City Council bases many of their decisions on the following premise, “if everything works out perfect we will be just fine in the future.” What could possibly go wrong with that mind-set? Take look at this exchange between the Director of the Naperville Water Department (Jim Holzapfel) and Councilman Fieseler regarding faulty assumptions and an $8.5 million ‘water’ deficit.

Leadership requires the ability to think critically, and approving a water-rate increase of 29% at this time by a 5 to 4 vote indicates there might be some room for improvement on this leadership dimension within the majority who voted for this outrageous increase

Where is ex-councilman Furstenau when you need him? Even the ‘expense conscious’ ex-councilman Furstenau couldn’t have saved the citizens on this one by voting against the increase because the two new council members Steve Chirico and Joe McElroy also voted against the increase. Both Councilman Chirico and McElroy along with long-standing Councilman Doug Krause, who voted against the 29% increase, made excellent points while discussing water rate increases. Watch and listen to councilmen Krause (the senior prevailing voice of reason on the council), followed by new councilmen Chirico  and  McElroy, who are sensitive to the financial struggles on Naperville citizens:

The bad news is that the 29% water rate increase will take affect next month (June). The good news is that both new council members Steve Chirico and Joe McElroy appear to be Naperville-citizen-friendly. The citizens of Naperville need council members who have the courage to ease the financial burdens that council decisions place upon the citizenry.

It was encouraging to see the first council member seated and ready to do business last Tuesday night was Councilman McElroy. You get the feeling that both McElroy and Councilman Chirico are ready to get to work and ‘right the ship’.

This appears to be in contrast with another council member who was looking for support to take a city council meeting night off in August. Watch and listen to the exchange between Councilman Fieseler and Councilmen Wehrli and Miller

As one resident was heard saying, ‘Hey cowboy, not so fast looking for a night off in August’, when there is so much yet to be accomplished (Smart Grid Initiative, mapping of districts, and ‘righting the ship’)

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