Forum: Thanks for supporting home rule
December 7, 2012 9:22PM
Updated: January 10, 2013 6:38AM
I want to take this opportunity to thank the residents of Homer Glen for their overwhelming support of the village’s Nov. 6 referendum question on home rule. Nearly 75 percent of those voting in the referendum supported keeping the village’s home-rule authority — a huge mandate from the residents of Homer Glen.
While the village administration could not, by law, take an official position on the issue, I supported retaining home rule. I know that Homer Glen residents have traditionally understood, as exemplified by this recent vote, the importance of local control. Home-rule status allows the village to continue to control its destiny.
Your village officials remain committed to transparent, fiscally conservative governance. I know the residents of our wonderful community understand and appreciate this ongoing commitment, and I can guarantee you that your faith in such governance is 100 percent appropriately placed.
Thank you again for your outstanding support of the home-rule retention referendum. It’s truly appreciated. We are all fortunate to live in the beautiful community of Homer Glen.
Mayor, Homer Glen
Is this water plan worth it?
A year ago, the city of Chicago announced that its water rates would increase by 90 percent by January 2015. In response, seven south suburbs formed the South Suburban Joint Area Water Agency to try to find a lower-cost source of Lake Michigan water and avoid Chicago’s burdensome increases.
Alsip, Blue Island, Calumet Park, Harvey, Markham, Midlothian and Robbins are the members of the agency. Residents in eight other towns that purchase water through these towns also will be dramatically impacted by the higher Chicago water rates.
The South Suburban Joint Area Water Agency has allocated $5.6 million for an engineering study on building a water filtration plant and a pipeline from Whiting, Ind., to meet the water needs of the 15 communities. The project would be financed by revenue bonds to be paid off over 20 to 40 years.
Several questions arise regarding this project, not the least of which is how much will it cost? And will that long-term cost be offset by the savings in lower water rates?
Opponents of the project from Blue Island express fear and mistrust of an unelected, quasi-governmental agency that appears to disregard the need for public transparency. Supporters believe something must be done to free the towns from being held hostage by the city of Chicago.
Blue Island voters will have a chance in April to vote on whether the city should continue to participate in the water agency. City leaders plan a series of public meetings so residents can educate themselves and make an informed decision on the April referendum.
The South Suburban Joint Area Water Agency must be commended for its effort, but the devil is often in the details. This project will have a dramatic impact on the quality of life in Blue Island and 14 other communities for at least 40 years.