Addison taxing bodies talk accomplishments, goals
Officials from six of Addison's taxing bodies recently shared their accomplishments from 2019 and plans for the future at the 13th annual Shape of Addison.
They also addressed questions from the audience or those watching the live broadcast.
Here are some highlights:
Village President Rich Veenstra emphasized the new businesses that came to town last year along with the opening of the $50 million Clarendale of Addison senior living community and the 60th anniversary of Millie's Pancake Shoppe.
Veenstra said the village will continue to focus on attracting retail and restaurants in 2020.
"We try and do what we can to make Addison attractive to people," Veenstra said.
The village is interested in purchasing the Lutherbrook campus on Lake Street, which closed last year, he said. Since the property is at the center of town, Veenstra said the village wants to have a say in its future and add it to property tax rolls.
Veenstra also addressed concerns about recreational cannabis sales. Addison has two medical marijuana dispensaries, one of which began sales on Jan. 1 as one of only three recreational pot shops in the suburbs.
A local sales tax for recreational sales cannot be implemented until July. It is expected to bring in an estimated $500,000 a year for Addison.
"Initially we were very against it," Veenstra said. "But we wanted to be able to control it to the best of our ability."
Last year, High School District 88, which includes Addison Trail and Willowbrook, was designated as a "Commendable Schools" district, the second-highest level on the Illinois Report Card, according to school board President Donna Craft Cain. The district also maintained the title of second-most diverse school district in Illinois.
She said graduating students now attend universities in 12 states and Canada.
All students now have Chromebooks and the district is working toward eliminating vaping issues by hosting events and counseling for parents and students.
Addison Elementary District 4 board President Dave Williams announced that the district's Preschool for All program received the Gold Circle of Quality rating from ExceleRate Illinois. This is also the district's third year of facilitating kindergarten camp through grants.
District 4 has goals similar to District 88 for 2020. Williams said the board is working with the police department to implement an active threat drill and will continue to reprimand students caught vaping in schools with police involvement and heavy fines.
There also will be renovations at Indian Trail Junior High during the summer.
In 2019, the Addison Fire Protection District saw its largest one-year turnover in personnel due to retirements, board Treasurer Bernadette LaRocca said. The board hired eight new firefighters and a new chief, Scott Walker.
Call volume has increased by 31% since 2009, leading the district to respond to 5,124 calls last year. The increase is attributed mainly to EMS calls and responding to calls outside the department's jurisdiction.
Addison Park District board President Frank Angiulo said the district will conduct surveys in 2020 to solicit community feedback for future facility improvements. Surveys are beginning at the end of January through an independent consulting company.
Executive Director Jennifer Hermonson encouraged residents to reach out to the district if they would like to see additional programs in 2020.
In 2019, the Addison Public Library served 785 visitors a day, and residents checked out 670 items a day. President Maria Sinkule said the board is working on after-school programs for teens to increase involvement. It also will be administering a survey similar to the park district's to solicit feedback.
The board is currently concentrating on a new strategic planning cycle to set the focus for 2020.