Thoughtful planning and strategic foresight, plus a philosophy of living within its means, were credited as keys to the success of the city of West Chicago's solid financial position as outlined by Mayor Ruben Pineda last week in his State of the City Address.
The address, sponsored by the Western DuPage Chamber of Commerce and presented at City Hall to more than 100 people, began with the news of a balanced budget, which realizes a decrease of 5.21 percent from the 2013 budget.
News of no tax hikes for the city's customers and no increase in water and sewer rates also were shared with the community.
Pineda made note of 2013 accomplishments in other areas of city operations:
• The city is on the list of top 100 Safest Cities in America, a designation given by NeighborhoodScout.
• Two new ordinances, (licensing of pawn shops and precious metals dealers, and licensing of junk peddlers) have shown early success.
• Major IDOT roadway projects include the North Avenue reconstruction and widening project, which is near completion; the overpass at Kautz Road and Route 38, which is expected to be completed this year; and design work for the reconstruction of the Fabyan Road/Route 38/Washington Street intersection, which has begun. All will benefit the city.
• Public works crews did a commendable job of keeping up with a brutal winter by keeping roads clean and safe.
• Retailer Old Time Pottery chose West Chicago as its first Chicago-area location last year.
• Five Brilliant Businesses were recognized and honored by the city's annual business awards program.
• Absorption rates for the city's vacant industrial spaces have been increasing, and those for vacant retail spaces are showing signs of improvement.
• A new operating structure for the West Chicago City Museum is saving taxpayers more than $50,000 a year through the hiring of a private company to handle operations, and is enjoying great programming success.
• The city has received a Constant Contact All Star Award for the second year in a row for the effectiveness of its electronic news communications for residents and businesses.
• The monthly Coffee with the Mayor program is growing in leaps and bounds, fueling citizen engagement and community-building.
• All city commissions are active and thriving.
Also noted were current projects and those on the horizon:
• AutoZone is joining the community at the southwest corner of Main Street and Route 59.
• Planned in partnership with the College of DuPage, two independent studies were authorized to determine the feasibility of locating the Midwest Regional Training Center, a tactical training facility for law enforcement and fire service personnel, in the Roosevelt Road corridor.
• Downtown environmental studies for the West Washington Street redevelopment area have been completed and the city's contractors have begun the necessary remediation, bringing the city closer to realizing its vision for a municipal campus.
• A unique partnership with United Way through WeGo Together for Kids to add an additional layer of investment and expertise that will benefit the education, income, and health for all of West Chicago.
• The development of a 10-year strategic plan for a citywide wellness program called Healthy West Chicago, funded through Cadence Health and supplemented by United Way and WeGo Together for Kids.
For a complete transcript of Acting Mayor Pineda's State of the City Address, visit www.westchicago.org.