Joliet City Council Meeting: 08/17/2021

Joliet City Council Meeting: 08/17/2021
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Joliet City Council Meeting: 08/17/2021 (Joliet, IL) – Yesterday’s Joliet City Council meeting went well, with a couple of exceptions brought up by the public. The council gave awards to city residents and passed a number of items on the agenda.  Citizens brought up concerns with unexplainable changes in the water bills, and voiced their frustration with the city cancelling the Collins Street Neighborhood block party.

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Fourteen families received Neighborhood Heroes Awards for maintaining outstanding yards.  Project Acclaim has been presenting these awards since 2015.  Those families who were in attendance thanked the board and mentioned their wonderful neighbors.

The current budget report is showing $25M revenues ahead of last year.  Home rule and state sales taxes were up several million.  Building permits have already surpassed $3M and ambulance revenue has also been much higher.

During the initial public comment period, Denis Williams and three others requested the permit department be updated with software modernization to make the permit process more efficient.  City Manager Capparelli commented that he had a couple programs he is looking into and believes he can have this happen before the start of next year’s building season.

The council then turned to the Agenda items, but first removed 388-21. Changes to the FY 20 Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding.

The following agenda items were passed unanimously without discussion:

387-21 Position vacancies.  1 firefighter, 1 patrol officer, 1 lab technician, and others.

389-21.  Contract for the Eastern Avenue / Washington Street Roadway Project

390-21. Change Order No. 1 for the 2021 Sanitary Sewer Rehabilitation Program

392-21 Approval of St. Francis Outlot Subdivision, with a planned Starbucks at one lot

393-21.  Allow Continuation of Two Single Family Homes on One Lot

394-21.  Special Use Permit to Allow an HVAC company to operate at 2951 Mound Road.

396-21. Agreement with Will County to enforce parking at Will County facilities within Joliet.

397-21.  Approving an Intergovernmental Grant Agreement to preserve historic sites.

398-21.  Eastern Avenue/Washington Street Roadway Project.

For the City Manager Report, Mr. Capparelli recommended a Our Towns – a book that shows where Capparelli believes the city is headed.

During the public comment period, Terry Morris talked about the variability of water bills $50 vs. $500 over a 3-month period.  Mr. Capparelli explained spikes sometimes occur because of a leak, etc. and encouraged people to call in to get help to determine why.  A property manager for a house in Joliet also addressed the highly variable water bills.  She had everything tested and there was nothing found to indicate a reason for variability.  A neighbor lived next door and had zero use but an increased water bill (a couple hundred dollars).

Citizen Paul Schultz questioned the council on the presence of Air BnB homes in Joliet.  He asked why this hasn’t been addressed already and expressed his concern for lost potential revenue and the need for regulations.

The rest of the comments were about the Collins Street Neighborhood block party.  Residents were disappointed that it was cancelled.  The group followed the same format as the annual prison fundraiser yet was cancelled by the city one week before it was supposed to occur.  The neighborhood is very diverse and the block party could have helped a lot of people in the area.

Alicia Morales also stood in opposition to the cancellation, referring The Quality of Life (QOL) task force started in 2007 for Districts 4 and 5. “We’re trying to build trust.  14 years later we are still having this conversation.”  There were several other speakers who also made it clear that the cancellation hurt the minority communities in District 4 and 5.

Mayor O’Dekirk ended the meeting with several comments, acknowledging the speakers and telling those present about the many upcoming events.

The biggest issue addressed at the meeting was clearly the cancellation of the block party.  Watch the video for an interview with two community leaders.

Joliet City Council Meeting: 08/17/2021

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Monica Gordon for Cook County Commissioner

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