’Twas the last meeting before Christmas, and throughout the Civic Center,

Most creatures were pleasant, praising Jane’s move to enter

A different segment of the public sector, a position with CMAP that’s  key

To regional City planning – none unpleasant but Grinch Rizki.

But more on Alderperson Grover later, because this was the last meeting

Before 2016 descends, making much to-do and usually much bleating

Among the Council and the public, as last gasp of the season

Yet this year was different, and the agenda quite light, but for no real reason.

No meeting can escape it, none near or none far, none early or none late,

A great water expenditure. It happens every two weeks, it seems just our fate

To spend great deals of money rehabilitating a water and sewer system

Much of which turns out was constructed in the late Wilson administration

One hundred plus years ago. Yet under our roads and parks and streets old pipes still glisten

With water and refuse and dirt and what not, old they are and in need of replacement, but often contingent

On state money – just a loan – from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

This week, it’s the Mulford Street Extension, a cool $625,000 give or take a penny.

Passed without discussion or dissent, as is the norm, for how could there be any?

Another holiday treat that no matter how hard we try none seem able to escape

Is our old enemy the rat, led by the legendary Nutcracker Rat King all decked out in a cape

Or perhaps not, perhaps instead a more general variety plagues our streets and neighborhoods

As reports keep growing and growing, so the City turns to outsourcing and more fake foods

Filled with poison to eliminate or really just control the naked-tailed rodent population.

Calls are up three-fold from 2013, when 390 called. Now 1180 have called

To report rat invasion, meaning more must be done. The City hired exterminator Rose

To aid City efforts, which can’t solve the problem alone, for an additional $23,000 or so.

“Is it enough?” asked Alderman Miller, who reps a ninth ward full of constituents quite galled.

If not, we’ll just spend more, said City CFO Lyons. “There’s no limitation on the budget for this.”

Neighbors, contractors, the City, must work together to control rats, working with all the residents

For it’s a partnership, and education is key because leaving out garbage or birdfeed

It seems attracts hungry creatures, giving them what they need.

A zoning change appearing before the Planning and Development Committee

One no one saw coming, most particularly not Alderman Rainey

Who protested quite eloquently against the proposed changes

Which would allow truck rental in Commercial zoned ranges.

No code provision now covers automobile rental – it’s all just retail.

A new code section would address this. Not fair or not right, limit trucks to industrial

Said Ald. Rainey with help from Wynne of the third, and so the matter is held

While staff addresses concerns, and a new ordinance will meld

Addressing concerns. Meanwhile, any truck rental is currently allowed

In all retail zoned districts as there’s no specific provision for such uses carved out.

Then Santa came calling, or at least some spritely City Development version

As renamed Storefront Modernization dollars flowed toward four different facades.

The City helps businesses make their space more inviting by contribution

Of dollars to spruce up locations based on research that nods

To consumer tendencies to spend more in nice places where they feel less repulsion.

So $10,000 here, another $50,000 there, to Dance Studio and brewery and two other places.

But not, as Ald. Rainey misstated on consent agenda reading, $2 million for spaces

Like Sketchbook, though she noted, “I really like them,” and their product.

No, not millions, just thousands, and two of them only, for Sketchbook’s new storefront.

A third-quarter financial report next graced the Council’s agenda

And all seems quite rosy through the end of Septemba.

Despite earlier cries from many sources indicating the sky might be falling

Because of state woes or whatever, it seems that we’re all right, no need to address budget stalling.

Of course the 4th quarter could change that, we could see dollars careen

Well off prediction through December but hey, that’s a problem for 2016.

And one who will not have to address such possible concerns,

One Alderperson Grover, who leaves short of full term

After seven plus years representing ward seven

Rode off into the night, high praise from colleagues behind her

Shouting “Happy Holidays to all, and to all a good night!”

And to her husband in the crowd, with a sly little wink,

She grinned and said, “Now we get a date night!”