Key’s Take: Chicago Heights City Council Meeting – 07/21/2021 (Chicago Heights, IL) – Mayor David A. Gonzalez, all 7 Aldermen, and the public assembled to review the 2021-2022 budget in a public hearing at the Bloom Township Center. Now that Covid restrictions have been lifted, it’s time to get back to normal – normal in the sense of handshakes and smiles in a packed room to discuss business. Operating a city that comprises 7 wards is not an easy task.
There are approximately 30,000 residents to take care of, which requires a budget to match. Police, Fire, Water and Sewer are the top areas of focus for the City of Chicago Heights. As there are over 8,000 businesses and approximately 9,000 households within the city. Therefore, it is necessary to allocate funds to these departments in order to operate smoothly. State and Federal funds were utilized during the last fiscal year in order to offset some of these costs.
Budgeted items also included improvements within the Mayor’s Office. Renovation is underway and includes new council chambers, phone system and security cameras. Meetings will eventually be recorded and broadcast via a local cable channel. In order to do so, Taylor Media has been brought in to assist with the various media services. Soon, the public will be able to receive information without having to logon to the website. You will be able to watch proceedings from the comfort of your own home.
While analyzing the budget, there is less of a need for filling vacant city official positions unless necessary. The City Council found it absolutely necessary to appoint a new City Treasurer, Loretta Adams. Mrs. Adams was appointed and sworn on Wednesday evening. Her history with managing the budgets for Chicago Heights School District made her a top candidate along with her other accolades. Managing a complex budget of over $99 million dollars is impressive and major task.
Operational needs go much deeper than most of the residents may believe. The Chicago Heights City Council must stay informed about the operational needs of each department that fall under its umbrella. It is important to analyze needs of the City and how it can continue to operate at a profit and not a loss. If there is a loss, the residents feel the effects, whether it is higher property/sales taxes and/or utility costs. When a city can operate with a surplus, the residents will not feel burdened. A balanced budget is one way for the City of Chicago Heights to continue to achieve their slated goals for the upcoming year.
Each ward within the City has unique needs. For instance one ward may have a need for street paving and sewer work. Another ward may have a need for greater community involvement. All wards appeared to need the same thing which is greater percentage of residents that have received Covid vaccinations. 7th Ward Alderman Kelli Merrick mentioned a back to school vaccination event partnering with Jewel Osco that may prove to be an outstanding collaboration for kids 12 and over. It is important that students are priority for this upcoming school year.
Key’s Take: Chicago Heights City Council Meeting – 07/21/2021