Looking for Input

As we dive into 2016, I’d love to hear what you think the City of Effingham needs to be working on this year.

We’re developing the Fiscal Year 2017 Budget so this is a great time to help us create our targets and objectives.

What do you want to see done in Effingham?  

Now and in the long term?

 

All the best,

Mayor Bloemker

Comments

I would like to know why we don't have a city endorsed recycling program? We have plenty of money for art work and memorials. Why are we relying on churches and local businesses to pick up the cities slack? It's 2016 and Effingham is way behind on common sense programs. I have brought this up before and was ignored by city officials. I also have a problem with the littering epidemic in town. You walk downtown and there is trash and cigarette butts everywhere. This town is slipping and nobody seems to care. I think businesses should be held accountable. You drive by Walmart and their trash is blowing around like tumbleweed. What happened to community service? Stop giving people easy jobs for their service and use them to clean up this town! I also like what's happening in other cities park districts. Effingham could use a park with outdoor exercise equipment for its senior citizens. There is a fantastic example in Harrisburg il. Dog parks are another thing we could use in this town. Promote the local community garden and local business!

You are absolutely correct about the recycling program, Jason. Your suggestions and comments, as well as those of many others, have not fallen on deaf ears. We have been researching and working with various firms to develop a turn-key service that will pick up trash, recyclables, and yard waste for nominal monthly fee over the current average. These services get a little tricky and the challenges are layered, I am told. We will be ecstatic if we can deploy such a program in 2016… and that is our goal. Thanks for the other good ideas and observations. I’m with you on putting a focus on dealing with litter. Especially cigarette butts, the littering with which became illegal in Illinois in 2014 with up to a $1500 fine.That’s a pet peeve of mine, as well.

The lines between government and private sector have been blurred, moved and erased over the succession of controlling bodies. Please go back and read the enumerated powers. The Sports Center was voted down on more than one occasion yet we have, in perpetuity, a multi-million dollar facility that will need constant upkeep and new employees that will be tax payer supplied. Same holds true for the new police officers that were not only needed yesterday but four individuals with lifelong benefits brought to you by the old golden geese, the tax payers. The new library, which rivals most Chicago suburban libraries. The old courthouse, which will forever be an anchor around the ankles of the tax payers. It seems that the spoiled lot of Effingham has the loudest voices and the hands on government controls. Now, do I like nice things? Yes, of course. The EPC note is being floated by the private citizen. Soon the TREC trail will be given to the Parks Department and the upkeep and concrete replacement and tree trimming will all fall on, you guessed it, our shoulders. Unit 40 has had drops in enrollment since I left there 26 years ago yet Mark and the boys get there huge increase every year. You ever wonder why more people are leaving Illinois than moving into the state? It starts at the local level. Everything starts locally. Most private sector workers have gone years without pay raises. Would it be possible to stop all government pensions and do something radical like offer a 401K match that vests over a 5 year period? Think of the monies that are coming into the city coffers as the citizens money, return what you can and only use what is necessary. That's what government's role was intended from the beginning. Choosing which business owner should get money to refurbish their building was not. I truly like Effingham and have traveled extensively over my 21 year career throughout the Midwest and Midsouth. This city is very well kept comaribly speaking and has a future vision which is laudable. If given the opportunity, I would take a sharp pencil to the budget including Unit 40's. Respectfully.

Jeff, your concerns about increased taxes, what they do pay for, and what they should pay for are valid. As you know, I do not come from the “spoiled lot.” I have three kids still in school and I feel the pain as much as anyone when my real estate tax bill arrives. I do come from the business sector. Particularly, the marketing side. And I believe in my heart that in order to bring opportunities to Effingham… in order to make Effingham stand out from the crowd of other Central Illinois towns clamoring for attention and resources… we have to invest in her. Effingham is like a thoroughbred race horse: she has to be fed the right things and consistently trained by the best. As a city, Effingham has to show good. And that takes money and attention and expertise. Effingham does show good and she’s getting a lot of attention. We know that because we hear it from outsiders. And that didn’t happen by accident. It’s not like we’re pouring money into a loser; trying to save a sinking ship. Effingham is a winner and we must invest in her at every turn and opportunity. In the future, we hope to be able to research and deploy other methods for funding this kind of investment in our winner other than raising taxes.

Mayor - I do appreciate that winning attitude but have a mistrust of government. Perhaps you can overcome this, I believe pervasive, feeling among conservative constituents. Not a capital C but a general libertarian strain that runs deep, South of I80. The government does not make money but confiscates it from the private sector. It is our job to see to it that the money is used wisely and constitutionally. While working in St. Louis in my previous position, I learned of private incubator start-up organizations. These investors are basically like gamblers, taking great people with great ideas and nurturing their beginnings with cash infusions until they are able to fly on their own and there are these types of incubators in every major city. Question - do these new fledgling CEOs know that Effingham exists? Our interstate access along with 35,000 county residents means that your "shining city on the hill" should be in consideration for a long-term home for these businesses. Could you tap into these networks at little costs. In conjunction with Travel and Tourism and the Chamber, the Mayoral office is poised to promote Effingham like no other city Downstate. Eventually, luring more for tax based purposes. You have to admit that Illinois is costly and is losing residents. What are we doing differently to make Effingham less government heavy and more free-market? In the end, people's happiness is tied to self-actualization, not favoritism or hand-outs. Respectfully.

Although I live in Florida, my heart is still in The Ham. When I am home I see a lot of homes in disrepair around the old high school-Edgar Street and around there. Sometimes people need some help and some paint. Why not have a renovation project to help people get their houses in shape? If it's a community effort, there is no need for embarrassment-it's Effinghammer helping Effinghammer, and everyone benefits.

“I like it, Rodney. I think you’re on to something. I’ll try to reach out to the community service sectors: students, clubs, churches, Probation Dept. Thanks for the idea!”

The comments "Constitutionality" added is spot-on. I would have to also offer up additional thoughts. Adding jobs to the community has to be on the list. Anything the City can do to bring job opportunities will help all of us out. If it's service-level jobs, or manufacturing, it's all important. My other idea is residential development. A lot of folks chose to move to and around Lake Sara vs. living in the City. Some of the reasons are probably to avoid some of the taxation, but, in reality, where can a person actually build a nicer residence in the City? There isn't anywhere. Wouldn't it be nice to create a zone that eventually would rid us of uglier properties that exist, like along 5th street, or Kagay, or so many other places that are around the City? Maybe the City could offer up some sort of an offer to those landlords that allowed us to tear down the bad houses and offer incentives to create nicer, safer places for the less fortunate to live in?

“You are correct in that we are limited in terms of building options for new homes. Two solutions in this category are annexation of the city limits… and redevelopment of the older neighborhoods. The former is a tough and long process, but sooner or later necessary. We may be at that point. The latter is already happening. We’re seeing quite a bit of higher density residential activity taking the place of older homes in disrepair. Hopefully the city staff, plan commission, zoning board of appeals, and city council will be able to see ways to encourage and accommodate more of this type of development as well as that of new single family developments. It is on the radar.”

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