’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!”