West Chicago, Illinois: March 20, 2013 -- After acknowledging West Chicago's late Mayor Michael Kwasman for setting a favorable course that "will serve as his legacy for future generations", Acting Mayor Ruben Pineda launched a detailed accounting of the strides made by the City during the 2013 State of the City Address at Monday night's City Council meeting.
Topping the list of impressive accomplishments was West Chicago's honorable distinction of being named the 74th Safest City in America by Location, Inc., creators of the neighborhood research site, NeighborhoodScout. From there, the annual performance review touched on highlights in multiple categories of government operations:
Police Department: (additional highlights)
A new traffic unit has been established for targeted enforcement of speeding, stop sign violations, overweight vehicles and more.
An education grant from the Canadian National Railroad will enable the Police Department to work with students, pedestrians and motorists to promote railway safety and create enforcement initiatives.
The realignment of South Aurora Street allows for better emergency vehicle access when trains block tracks.
Completion of Well #12, planned for later this year, positions the City's infrastructure for the future.
The installation of water lines in the W. Brown and W. Pomeroy neighborhood is planned for 2013.
The water meter replacement program will continue.
The repair and upgrade of the City's primary lift station is included in the budget for 2013.
Continued road resurfacing at the cost of $2 million annually.
A way finding signage program to assist travelers with navigation through the City and advance City image will supplement the landmark and LED signs already installed.
Only one remaining residential property needs remediation as part of the Kerr-McGee clean-up.
For the sixth year in a row, the City has cut its total budget.
The City hasn't raised other taxes or utility rates in five years.
There will be no reductions in the number of services or quality of services.
The City has one of the lowest water rates in the area.
Outstanding customer satisfaction remains the City's goal.
Continued prudent and efficient investment of the public funds.
The City hired a new Director of Community Development, John D. Said, AICP.
The City introduced a new Downtown Grant Program for restaurant and retail businesses.
The purchase of two more properties in the Central Main Street Redevelopment Area and the start of Phase II Environmental Work in the West Washington Street Redevelopment Project positions the downtown redevelopment project targeted for 2014.
Sales tax revenue is returning to about what it was before the economic downturn.
Vacancy rates among office and retail use are improving.
Forty-plus new businesses joined the community in 2012, and Old Time Pottery will open its doors this summer.
Acting Mayor Pineda commended the work of countless volunteers who serve on City Committees and Commissions, and he revisited the challenges of the July 1, 2012 storm and the community's response, which he said was defined by its resilient spirit. Before concluding, he thanked his fellow Council members for their "support, direction and friendship" and conveyed hope for the future of the City, invoking the memory of former community leaders and their collective contributions.
For a complete transcript of Acting Mayor Pineda's State of the City Address, visit www.westchicago.org under Government/Mayor.